Blendshore® — A Dynamic and Flexible Outsourcing Strategy

A different approach has now emerged — combining appropriate outsourcing locations with applied workflow technology. At RR Donnelley, we call it Blendshore.


The concept of ‘multi-shoring’ is well known within the world of business process outsourcing. However, while using the best onshore, nearshore or offshore resources at any given time has advantages, the model fails to provide the responsiveness and flexibility demanded by organisations in an increasingly competitive marketplace.

The Blendshore solution delivers control and flexibility to the way work is processed, where it is sent, how the various locations and platforms interact, and how changes are managed during the lifecycle of each project. It allows businesses to tap into a range of benefits on a truly global scale.

The benefits of Blendshore

Topping the list of benefits for any outsourcing model is the way in which it allows companies to concentrate on their core activities; to focus on what they do best. However, a Blendshore strategy goes further and makes it possible to simplify workflows, speed up time to market and reduce capital investment. For example, when it comes to customer communications, integrated management technologies make it easier for different project teams to collaborate and share critical content, resulting in streamlined processes, reduced cycle times and improved quality.

Furthermore, sophisticated digital asset tools make it possible for businesses to manage content, images and colour quality at every step of the communication process in an online, integrated environment — from anywhere in the world, and without the need for additional hardware or software.

The potential for efficiencies and cost savings can be unlocked even further when the latest digital technology is used to combine content management with other offerings, such as marketing operations management, marketing execution, and customer management.

‘Chasing the sun’

Another important benefit from the Blendshore model comes from the integration of global IT systems and the availability of a global network of outsourced operations, which make it possible to extend a typical working day. By scheduling work across time zones a client’s operational requirements can be met, most notably in terms of responsiveness and productivity.
Important considerations

When considering the integration of multiple outsourcing platforms, cost will always play a key role in decision-making. However, process complexity, quality, responsiveness, risk, and governance also need to be taken into account.

Organisations should carefully evaluate outsource providers to ensure they use the latest technology to bring together a combination of onshore, nearshore and offshore services.
In the end, it may be desirable to keep certain elements of a process onshore — such as risk-critical services or localised skills — and use nearshore and offshore resources for more general office functions like correspondence processing, finance, legal and research, or artworking amends.

Maximise benefits — analyse the business process

  • Break down the overall cost of managing the process into individual elements to identify where businesses can achieve cost efficiencies by the optimal deployment of technology and location
  • Identify the degree of customer intimacy required at every touchpoint — then map it to most appropriate location
  • Understand the specific skills required to undertake the work, including process management and language requirements
  • Assess the degree of responsiveness required — from real-time ‘chase the sun’ customer engagement to batch responses

A word of caution

A Blendshore approach needs to practical and realistic. For example, splitting a simple business process into numerous different steps that need to be executed in different parts of the world, using different skills, languages and project teams, is unlikely to make financial or operational sense.

The future of Blendshore

The case for adopting a Blendshore outsourcing strategy is compelling. As a flexible model, it can be used to deliver a highly customised, competitive, client-driven and cost-effective global solution. It can provide effective access to a variety of resources — onshore, nearshore and offshore — and be supported by best-in-class technologies to provide robust multi-country, multi-processing capabilities.

Because the latest technology offers even more sophisticated workflow functionality, it is now possible to make changes to work patterns very easily, and to deliver work to a number of operations across the world at a push of a button. For added flexibility, these systems and procedures can be modified at any time — even within a shift, if necessary — in line with specific volumes or targets that the business wants to achieve.

Key recommendations

When deciding which outsourcing approach will deliver the right results, here are some recommendations.

  • Be clear about your priorities — a balance will almost always be required (for example; between responsiveness and cost or between quality and risk)
  • Define the optimal outcome and realign/transform processes and technology to achieve it — don’t try to re-engineer processes or implement technology without a clearly defined goal
  • Select an outsourcing partner with the requisite leading-edge technology and a flexible operating platform (onshore, nearshore and offshore) — technology on its own is not the solution

The key to success is to have the ability to dynamically blend the management of end-to-end integrated processes that have been designed to meet each customer’s requirements and expectations.