David Bell, co-founder of Lean Staffing Solutions (LSS) and CEO of Lean Tech IO, believes American companies can benefit from nearshore staffing in Colombia.
Bell and Adam Bilzerian, director and investor of LSS and Lean Tech, recently sat down with Craig Fuller to discuss Colombian outsourcing as part of the FreightWaves.TV show, "Fuller Speed Ahead."
South Florida-based LSS offers cost-saving and scalability programs for companies in the transportation and logistics industries, primarily freight forwarders, 3PLs and carriers. One of their notable services is providing American businesses with the means of opening satellite campuses in Colombia, a process known as nearshore outsourcing.
LSS has experienced tremendous growth since its inception in 2012, including growth of 1,113% over the last three years and revenues of over $5.16 million in 2018. In recognition of its success, LSS was ranked 409th on the 2019 Inc. 5000 list of the most successful companies in America.
Bell pointed to a pattern of difficulty U.S. transportation companies face in attracting and maintaining new talent for their entry-level positions. "Traditionally in transportation, you come in at the entry level and you grow. But now, companies are trying to hire 20 or 30 people at a time in entry-level positions and they're not staying. They have crazy turnover," he said.
Entry-level work that may be undesirable to Americans is seen as an opportunity by those in Colombia. "We've taken an area of the world where you can get really talented and educated people that are hungry to work and don't have a lot of options and we've told companies in the U.S.: If you're struggling with turnover, hiring, and filling in these lower-level positions, open an office in Colombia," said Bell.
LSS differs from most outsourcing companies in that it encourages its clients to promote their workforce culture in the Colombian offices. Companies have control over workplace decor and uniforms, and can even showcase their logo. "We engage our clients to go to Colombia, train there, and instill their culture," said Bell.
Employees go through training sessions to learn English and U.S. business culture before learning multiple processes of supply chain management. This ensures that the quality of their work matches the expectations of American markets.
The question is: Does Colombian outsourcing work? Bell maintained that it does. He claimed that this practice can save the transportation and logistics industries six-figures annually in employee expenses.
"We're saving 30-35% realistically off of employee cost, so essentially every 10 employees are $200,000 a year in savings," explained Bell. He added that with a retention rate of 97%, the ever-growing company surpassed 1,000 employees this year.
Headquartered in Coral Springs, Florida, LSS has Colombian offices in Cartagena, Barranquilla, Bogotá and Medellin.
Some may fear doing business in Colombia because of its violent history. The country is infamously known for the rampant crime and drug cartels that plagued its communities throughout the 1980s and 1990s.
But Bell maintained that the Colombia of the 21st century is safe and full of progress. "I've been going down there for eight to nine years now and I never, not one time, felt completely unsafe," he affirmed.
Hear more from LSS and the rest of our universal sponsors at FreightWaves Live Chicago, Nov. 12-13.
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