Skiffington, H., Akoorie, M. E. M., Sinha, P., & Jones, G. (2013). Production outsourcing offshore in the New Zealand printing, publishing and packaging industries. Strategic Outsourcing: An International Journal, 6(2), 116-137.
Permanent Research Commons link: http://hdl.handle.net/10289/8380
Purpose – The study aims to investigate the production offshore outsourcing practices of SMEs in the New Zealand printing, publishing and packaging industries. It identifies the techniques SMEs use to organise and manage their offshore outsourcing activities. The authors then develop a managerial framework to assist SMEs in their future offshore outsourcing ambitions. Design/methodology/approach – The study takes a qualitative approach; obtaining data from a sample of 22 New Zealand SMEs in the printing, publishing and packaging industries that are actively offshore outsourcing production tasks. Data was gathered in the form of semi-structured interviews with SME managers who have carried out offshore outsourcing. Findings – To mitigate offshore outsourcing costs, SMEs use the internet to locate suppliers and use short-term reliable contracts that are managed remotely or by intermediaries. Customer involvement was highly important during the entire offshore outsourcing process. Most SMEs developed long-term business relationships with reliable suppliers. These findings are integrated into the SME framework, which identifies ways SMEs can overcome resource constraints and minimise risks when offshore outsourcing. Research limitations/implications – This study is confined to a single country and reports on findings for several related industries, i.e. the printing, publishing and packaging industries in New Zealand. This limits its applicability to research in other settings and other industries. However, it identifies an area of research (offshore outsourcing activities in SMEs) that could be extended to other industries and countries by future research. Practical implications – The SME framework presents an easily understood approach that has been verified by SME managers who have successfully offshore outsourced production tasks. The research proves that SMEs can offshore outsource within the constraints of limited physical and managerial resources. Social implications – The study showed that the decision-making process to outsource is supported by the transaction costs approach. Firms have to balance out total cost considerations in making their decision to offshore (including contingency costs) to ensure that the savings from outsourcing are greater than the transaction costs. The resource-based view of the firm is also used to suggest that offshore outsourcing means that firms may be able to improve their own competences by providing (through their suppliers) access to more sophisticated and higher-quality processes. Originality/value – The research contributes to the growing area of SME offshore outsourcing research, providing detailed empirical evidence of SME offshore outsourcing activities occurring in New Zealand.
- Management Papers