Outsourcing to a Russian prison – what could possibly go wrong?

21 April 2011
A quick reminder this morning of the dangers of buying on price… Liz Love is the managing director of Z-CARD, a company that makes, among other things, pocket maps that you can unfold into a large map. When she was starting her business, she wanted the products to be made by hand but supplier quotes were “astronomical” so she came up with an alternative. This substitute was outsourcing production to a Russian prison. “We couldn’t think of anyone who would be cheaper,” she told the Daily Telegraph. Unfortunately, there is a reason most companies are not abandoning traditional vendors and outsourcing to those detained at President Putin’s pleasure. “When [the first products] came back we discovered there were 40 ways to finish them incorrectly that we’d never thought of. It was a total disaster. The covers were skewed, and it was a tacky product you didn’t want to touch,” said Love. But she was positive about the lesson learned, with the article going as far as saying “the procurement catastrophe was the best thing that ever happened to the business”, because it taught her not to go for the cheapest option (and that she didn’t want them handmade anyway).
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