I’ve answered many calls recently from localization managers complaining that their budgets are being cut, asking for advice. If you are suffering from the same symptom, here are a few pointers to consider.
Don’t panic! In a recession, it is normal to cut budgets in an effort to reduce costs. Evaluate the amount that you are asked to cut and compare it against other budget reductions within your company. If you are asked to make relatively bigger sacrifices than others, don’t be afraid to argue for fairer and more equitable cuts.
Know the priorities. Do you know what geographical areas your company depends on for making the sought after revenues? Do you know what international markets can potentially help your company better navigate this recession? Can you show how they can contribute to reduce risk and increase diversification? Connect with your international colleagues and arm yourself with the facts, then defend your turf!
Be creative and know your options. There are known ways to reduce localization costs. It is not prudent to take drastic measures or force your vendors into deep concessions. Look for ways to eliminate fat and reduce costs without seriously impacting your long term prospects with your suppliers or your ability to deliver on future requirements once the bull chases the bear away. For instance, while some of our clients are scaling back their recurring localization projects, cutting new languages or postponing the localization of new products, others are investigating more efficient processes and technologies.
Jump off the sinking ship. If your localization vendor is in possible trouble, don’t be caught unprepared. Your management still expects you to do your job and deliver your localized product on time and within the quality parameters that your users demand. Keep an eye on the stability of your vendor and if you hear of layoffs coupled with financial difficulties, start looking at other vendors and be ready to switch horses even in mid-race. The severe economic turmoil that we are experiencing will claim vulnerable companies in most sectors, including the localization industry.
Don’t lose focus of the big picture. Budgets are not cast in stone. They can be “fine-tuned”. Keep in mind that in a recession, management seeks to cut costs, not revenue. If the delay or lack of a localized product can negatively impact your company’s bottom line, you have the fiduciary responsibility to alert your management and fight for what you need to get your job done!
Use idle time effectively. Meanwhile, take the opportunity to strengthen your processes, your technology, your team and your suppliers. When the bull returns, and the bull will return, it will do so furiously and when we least expect it!