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Offshoring: How Do You Cope with Time Zone Burnout?

Posted By Jeff Moad, December 11, 2013 at 3:36 PM, in Category: The Adaptive Organization

By now, many of the downsides associated with offshoring are painfully well-known to manufacturing executives: High transportation costs, long lead times, quality and intellectual property protection concerns and, increasingly, rising labor costs.

But one very real negative that doesn’t get as much attention—although it should--is what might be called “time zone burnout.” Manufacturing executives who must oversee offshore production contractors in Asia while also caring for customers in the U.S. and other parts of the world inevitably find themselves compelled to participate in late night and early morning conference calls. As work days get longer thanks to late-night conference calls to Asia followed by early-morning calls to Europe, fatigue can set in.

This can be particularly hard on executives with young families who find that conference calls at all hours and travel leave precious little time for family and other responsibilities.

Some are questioning how long the pace can be sustained. One executive recently told me that his small manufacturing company finally puts its foot down and declared it would only schedule conference calls with China from 8 am to 5 pm local time.

How do you cope with or avoid “time zone burnout?” Should this be factored into offshoring decisions.

Written by Jeff Moad

Jeff Moad is Research Director and Executive Editor with the Manufacturing Leadership Community. He also directs the Manufacturing Leadership Awards Program. Follow our LinkedIn Groups: Manufacturing Leadership Council and Manufacturing Leadership Summit


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