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April 20, 2007 / Toby Dayton

Star Tribune Outsources Ad Design To India (Finally!)

The Minneapolis Star Tribune announced recently that it will be outsourcing 25 ad design jobs to India in an effort to reduce some costs. While the move has generated the customary attacks from unions and local media (“This is the Minneapolis Star Tribune. Do you want it to be the New Delhi Star Tribune?” quoted a business rep from Union Local 1-M in the City Pages article), it makes perfect sense and is long overdue. I have a lot of issues with the Star Tribune and daily newspapers in general, but sending certain aspects of their operations workflow overseas is not one of them. Outsourcing and offshoring are simply a part of business in America today. One can celebrate or bemoan the fact, but the reality is that companies that are not critically examining every facet of their business to find cheaper, better ways of delivering products and services into the marketplace will be less competitive and risk becoming obsolete. Without question, companies can and too often do go too far, losing sight of the necessary and important balance between all stakeholder groups they serve, including not just shareholders, but customers, employees, and the community as a whole.

In this case, however, the decision to reduce ad design costs while possibly even improving customer service (ads that come in late in the day get designed that night with the time difference and can be sitting on the customer’s desk the next morning for proofing and/or approval) is not only reasonable, but mandatory. We have been outsourcing appropriate parts of our workflow all over the globe for years, and I find it hard to believe that larger publishers like the Star Tribune haven’t been doing the same. I just wish they’d reinvest those savings into adding more writers, columnists, and web developers in order to strengthen their core business and improve their key value proposition. We’ll see.

[tags]Minneapolis Star Tribune, Outsourcing, Offshoring, City Pages, Decline of Dailies, Death of Newspapers, Publishing, Media, Advertising, Ad Design[/tags]