Customer Retention

The Difference Between Outsourcing and Offshoring

12 April 2024

Outsourcing and Offshoring, specifically their benefits and drawbacks for businesses and nations, has been a major business buzzword for years.

Offshoring and outsourcing are similar in many respects, but there are several key differences that must be taken into account. Offshoring and outsourcing frequently take place concurrently and are used interchangeably. However, as they are two distinct concepts with separate meanings and purposes, so this shouldn’t be the case. One of the most frequently misunderstood parts of the global supply chain is the distinction between “offshoring” and “outsourcing. Offshoring is when work is completed in a different nation, typically to take advantage of cost savings, as opposed to outsourcing, which is when an organisation contracts out work to a third party. Work can be outsourced but not offshored, for instance by contracting a law firm from outside to evaluate contracts rather than keeping a legal team on staff internally. It is also feasible to offshore work without outsourcing it; for instance, setting up an American customer service centre in India. Employing a vendor to do the task offshore is known as offshore outsourcing. This approach is typically done to reduce costs and to make use of the vendor’s knowledge, economies of scale, and big and scalable labour pool.

You will discover the main distinguishing factors between outsourcing and offshoring, and their pro’s and con’s in this article.



One of the main reasons why firms choose to outsource is the simple reality that particular goods and services are frequently provided at cheaper costs while retaining the same level of quality as if the work were done domestically.
Even in situations where the quality of the good or service is not the same, it will still be more affordable.

Outsourcing and Offshoring Specialisation:

When businesses outsource highly specialised business processes or goods to another vendor, they can get better outcomes.
For instance, in the manufacturing industry, each plant doesn’t have to specialise in producing every component of its products; instead, they can outsource the task and obtain a component of higher quality than they could probably produce themselves.
Any company that uses suppliers for manufacturing process inputs is, in essence, deciding to outsource a portion of their manufacturing process.


The benefit of outsourcing for many businesses is that they only have to pay for what they actually require.
The price can be changed from a “Fixed Cost” to a “Direct Cost,” where you only pay for each unit as and when you use it. With a fixed cost, you must pay for it regardless of the necessity.
Building the capacity to manufacture that component in-house wouldn’t make sense if a company simply requires a modest quantity of a particular input for their production process.
With outsourcing, you can choose to only pay for what you actually need.
Risks and criticisms: The risks associated with outsourcing include conflicting client and vendor interests, greater reliance on third parties, and a lack of internal expertise in key (but not always core) business operations



Being able to produce things or have services offered in a significantly less expensive country is frequently the main motivator for offshore.
The cost savings to a corporation can be substantial, whether it is having vehicle parts manufactured in Thailand, administration done out in South Africa or Eastern Europe, or IT services offered from India.

Taxes and Tariffs :

Tax and tariff relief is provided under several national regulatory systems.
For instance, several nations frequently permit businesses to import items at inexpensive prices, allowing them to make significant savings.

Outsourcing and Offshoring Control:

Not wanting to give up control of a portion of their production (or internal business services) to a third party is one of the main reasons a firm would opt to offshore (as opposed to outsource).
Some production inputs are extremely delicate or time-sensitive, therefore it could be terrible for the company outsourcing if a supplier didn’t produce exactly as planned.
In certain circumstances, a business may decide to outsource while ultimately maintaining total control and accountability.

Risks and criticisms:

  • Offshoring is sometimes blamed for moving work abroad.
  • Geopolitical danger
  • Linguistic barriers
  • Poor communication and other risks are also present.

Offshoring and outsourcing are two distinct components of a company’s business operations, despite looking very similar. They both provide different values to an organisation while serving their own distinct goals. For great reasons to outsource to South Africa check out What makes SA one of the Top BPO destinations worldwide?