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Fortune 500 Reap Early Cost Benefits From Offshoring Initiatives

Duke/Archstone Consulting Study Reveals New Plans for More Offshoring Initiatives

December 09, 2004

STAMFORD, CT – December 10, 2004 – FORTUNE 500 companies have realized better than expected cost savings and are planning to expand their offshoring activities, according to a new Duke University/Archstone Consulting study that examined the results and offshoring initiatives of 90 large companies with average revenues of $21 billion.

The results, which were presented today at the 2004 National Forum on Trade Policy in Durham, N.C., found that 72% of offshore implementations met or exceeded their expected savings, with 31% achieving their service level goals within the first five months. The results also indicated that more than 55% of the companies surveyed had cost savings expectations greater than 30% per year.

The study also revealed that offshore implementations are planned to grow by more than 50% over the next 18 to 36 months citing significant cost benefits as the No. 1 driver (93%) followed by demand for improved service levels (56 %).

“Offshoring of ’white collar’ jobs has become a viable strategy for U.S. companies needing to increase their global competitiveness,” said Scott Furlong, a principal with Archstone Consulting. “And while companies are acutely aware and concerned about the risks of offshoring, they are making strategic decisions about the right models and the right countries in which to pursue their offshoring strategies.”

“We believe this is the first study that actually compiled data on strategies, plans and operating experiences with offshoring at the company level instead of relying on anecdotal information,” said Arie Y. Lewin, director of Duke’s Center for International Business Education and Research (CIBER). “What is also important about this work is that we will continue to survey a growing panel of companies every six months and track trends over the years.”

The study is the first in a series of bi-annual surveys designed to gain insight into strategic drivers, offshore operating models and financial results of FORTUNE 500 companies. Survey participants recognized offshoring as a force that will continually gain momentum as companies continue to globalize their operations.

Other key survey findings:

  • Higher Value Services Moving Offshore – While IT is the function most often offshored (66%), high value services like finance and accounting (60%) engineering services (44%) and research (32%) are more often offshored than transaction-process services like human resources and procurement (24%).

  • Companies are Moving Beyond India – While India is still the leader (80%) of offshore operations, only 52% of expansion plans with a specified location are being targeted for India. Other countries that are growing in importance include: China, other Asian countries, the Philippines, Latin America and Canada/Mexico.

  • Companies View Service Levels as Both a Driver and a Risk of Offshoring –While the quality of service is ranked as the No. 1 risk of offshoring, companies are moving offshore to improve their service levels.

  • Offshoring Delivers Faster Results than Average Domestic Improvement Efforts – In fact, 75% of participants reported reaching targeted service levels within 12 months.

  • Political Backlash had little-to-no impact – Less than 5% postponed offshoring plans due to political backlash. In fact, 72% said it had no impact on their decision to offshore.

About the Study
Archstone Consulting and Duke’s Center for International Business, Education and Research (CIBER) teamed up earlier this year to develop and launch an innovative study aimed at developing firm level data (as opposed to national trade statistics and anecdotal evidence) and company-specific insights surrounding the practice of offshoring. The study surveyed Fortune 500 companies in sectors including financial services, automotive, airline, consumer products, pharmaceutical, energy, retail, hospitality and high tech. The study will also be expanded to include European companies early in 2005 to provide further insights and correlations between U.S. and European experiences.

About Archstone Consulting
Archstone Consulting is an independent strategy and operations management consultancy. Archstone Consulting specializes in operational transformations and growth platforms in the consumer packaged goods and retail, life sciences, manufacturing, and services sectors. Archstone Consulting offers unbiased advice, efficient execution and measurable results. Headquartered in Stamford, Connecticut, the company has offices in New York, Chicago and San Francisco. For additional information, please visit the company’s web site at www.archstoneconsulting.com.

About Duke CIBER
The Duke University Center for International Business Education and Research (CIBER) was established in 1992 by the Fuqua School of Business and has been directed by Professor Arie Y. Lewin since 1995.
There are 30 CIBERs located throughout the United States and funded by the U.S. Department of Education under Title VI through a competitive bid process. Duke CIBER collaborates with other CIBERs to carry out projects and engages in outreach activities with other centers and departments at Duke University, as well as other colleges and universities, businesses, and communities to enhance the international development the Fuqua School of Business.