Shake the notion that you’re too small to go international; your next business move might very well be in Latin America or across the Pacific. In fact, a growing number of transportation companies are literally going the extra mile to address their labor needs — thousands of miles.
Amid a constrained labor market, U.S. logistics providers are filling their back office and staffing needs via outsourcing, nearshore and offshore, with Lean Solutions Group.
Following a decade of success in Colombia, the Florida-based provider of staffing, back-office logistics, sales and marketing solutions is replicating its business model to new offices in Guatemala City and its offshore location in Manila, Philippines.
“While there remains a severe worker shortage in the United States, particularly STEM talent, we’re rapidly expanding our workforce with highly skilled, English-proficient talent at all levels, including business analysts and IT developers,” said Robert Cadena, Lean Solutions Group’s CEO and co-founder. “Our clients can’t afford to lose time — we spin up teams and begin executing right away.”
Nearshoring, a popular business model, involves transferring various aspects of a company’s services to satellite offices to another geographic location that is relatively close to the company’s area, oftentimes in the same time zone. Offshoring is transferring work to geographies farther away in different time zones, which can enable a company to achieve 24-hour productivity and support.
Lean Solutions Group’s employees work directly for their clients, thus clients are essentially able to have satellite offices that mirror their operations and culture. If desired, a client can provide specific uniforms and even furnish workplaces to their liking.
Lean Solutions Group selected Guatemala for a myriad of reasons, but primarily because of its similarity to the Colombian market, where the company has grown tremendously of late. Cadena explains that Guatemala’s educated workforce, strong work ethic culture and geographic advantages factored into expansion plans.
Similar to Colombia, Guatemala boasts a large, talented workforce that is largely bilingual and eager to work with American companies. In addition, its central location just inland of the Gulf of Mexico allows nearshoring employees to work alongside their American counterparts on a similar schedule.
Conversely, the Philippines as an offshore location was chosen because of its flexible time zone. Cadena said that as one of the world’s top outsourcing locations, the Philippines opens doors for U.S. logistics providers to staff third-shift positions without skipping a beat, allowing Lean Solutions Group to provide business process outsourcing and IT development around the clock.
“Our strategic growth plan is directly tied to providing our clients the services they need when they need them, which includes 24-hour support in customer service and critical business functions,” he said.
Manila will become Lean Solutions Group’s seventh satellite office to date. Working with over 500 U.S.-based companies and counting, Lean hopes that its recent expansion will push it over the 10,000-employee mark this year; its headcount currently stands at 8,000.
Cadena said his long-term goal is to amass 30,000 employees, hinting that Mexico would be the next likely candidate, with Peru and perhaps even Europe in later plans.
Plans are just plans without architects, though. Lean Solutions Group is charting its future with additional guidance from its new chief financial officer, Joaquin Oliveras. Oliveras served previously as senior vice president and CFO of PepsiCo Mexico Foods as well as PepsiCo Latin American Beverages and PepsiCo Central and South American foods.
“Joaquin’s significant background as a financial leader and expertise in global markets make him an exceptional asset to Lean Solutions Group,” Cadena said. “Experts who can leverage [Lean’s] effective human resource outsourcing, sales approach and operational plan help our company expand into new, dynamic markets. Joaquin is a valuable addition to the team, and I’m pleased to welcome him to our organization.”
Lean Solutions Group’s 97% retention rate of its employees reflects that the company offers an ideal work environment for employees and clients receive consistency from long-term support teams. Cadena, who remains highly focused on protecting and enhancing Lean Solutions Group’s culture, is confident that this trend will continue.
The biggest draw so far has been its speed of service and no-strings-attached approach. It takes just three to five weeks to get a satellite office up and running. What’s more, outsourcing with Lean Solutions Group isn’t contractual but operates on month-to-month agreements. This allows companies to implement trials and then evaluate as a long-term solution.
“We want our U.S. customers to focus on their businesses and leave the back office, hiring, recruiting and training to us,” Cadena said. “That’s tedious work that takes a lot of time, effort and money; just leave it to us so you can focus on growing your business.”
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