Perhaps no industry has such lopsided supply and demand for labor as transportation and logistics. Not only is new talent harder to come by but the ever-growing need to move more freight faster is making it nearly impossible to keep pace. Now more than ever it’s becoming evident that today’s unusual labor market calls for unconventional staffing solutions.
How unconventional? Try business process outsourcing (BPO) with a South American twist.
Many U.S. logistics providers are turning to Lean Solutions Group for their staffing needs and to see what nearshoring is all about. What truly distinguishes Lean from other staffing providers is the extent to which it goes to find talent.
With a highly Westernized and bilingual population, and just a short three-hour flight from Miami, Colombia has become a hot market for U.S.-based logistics companies. Those interested in setting up shop in South America are turning to Lean, the leader in nearshoring solutions.
Its newest solution, Lean BPO, provides a more hands-on BPO experience, offering back-office and customer support services tailored to the needs of each client. As a provider of staffing, back-office logistics, sales, tech and marketing solutions, Lean has helped more than 350 U.S.-based companies set up shop in Colombia in the past nine years.
The word is out on this unconventional business approach.
Because COVID-19 has disrupted conventional work settings, Trey Griggs, chief of staff and brand ambassador at Lean Solutions Group, said that companies are more open to reimagining their conventional office structures, which is why he considers the Lean nearshoring model to be a great opportunity for freight brokerages struggling to gain traction stateside.
“Typically if you’re going to add a hundred employees, you’ve got to find a new office space to accommodate that,” Griggs said. “With Lean, now they can add 100 employees without having to move; they can maintain the same office space that they had with 40 employees now at 200 because 160 of them are down in Colombia with us.”
Griggs detailed the exhaustive process that companies go through trying to grow their teams. It goes without saying that it can take weeks to fill crucial positions — he said six to 12 weeks is average. It takes an extended amount of time for managers to create job postings, sift through a high volume of resumes and schedule interviews in the hopes of finding a few diamonds in the rough.
“All of that takes time, but what happens if they don’t show?” Griggs said. “We’re hearing that a lot of candidates aren’t showing up; they’re dropping out halfway through the process because they got a better offer somewhere else.
“Whereas when clients work with Lean, because we’ve done a lot of vetting on the front end before the candidates ever get to our clients, they usually only interview one time before they’re good to go. There’s a lot of advantages to working with Lean from a time and cost perspective but also from an expertise perspective.”
What’s more, Lean BPO taps into expertise from a variety of fields to support its clients — fields that traditional BPOs don’t typically consider.
“We’re using BPO to handle challenging, more elite positions, as well as customer service-oriented needs,” Griggs said. “In fact, we joke that our BPO stands for ‘business professionals organization’ because we’re hiring lawyers and clinical psychologists, psychiatrists and engineers — not your typical staffing positions — alongside personnel with excellent soft skills.”
Lean BPO is one of Lean Solutions’ fastest-growing divisions with over 300 experts and counting. It’s the latest addition to its staffing, back-office logistics, sales and marketing services: Lean Staffing, Lean Tech, Lean Sales and Lean Marketing.
Combined, the company has seen tremendous growth this past year, adding around 300 to 500 employees a month. “We went from 1,500 employees a little over a year ago to now over 6,000 employees,” Griggs said, anticipating Lean will staff around 10,000 employees in 2022.
Lean plans to broaden its presence in Colombia and plans to enter Guatemala to make sure it’s leveraging an even greater talent pool for its clients.
Setting up shop in these South American countries isn’t random, as Griggs explains that Columbia has a largely untapped Western workforce. In fact, its bilingual population is highly educated and is eager to work with American companies. This is why the nearshoring model has worked so well for many U.S. brokerages.
Griggs spoke earlier with FreightWaves on just how easy Colombian nearshoring is to implement. Unlike outsourcing, nearshoring operations are fully controlled by the company stateside, meaning a company’s employees in Colombia adhere to the company’s customs and values.
In just three to five weeks, a U.S.-based brokerage can set up shop in South America with a personalized office space housing a team dedicated to its brand.
When expansion is necessary but seems beyond your control, why not leave the task to the professionals? “At Lean, we take the headache out of hiring and growing your team,” Griggs added.