SoleSource Developed Its Unique Outsourcing Concept
|In the beginning there
|In 1995, Texas Instruments was in the
middle of the largest semiconductor development project in its history. Development was
almost complete for TIs version of the Pentium chip, code-named Amazon.
Amazon required a lot of documentation. Because of TIs aggressive
development schedule, the engineering resources required to source the data books and the
application notes wouldnt be available until one quarter before the first drafts
were required. TIs internal publication team was completely buried, unable to
respond to the volume and cycle time requirements. TI writers lacked the expertise
necessary to create an advanced microprocessor data book.
TI decided to try an out-of-the-box solution. Amazon would use a
small internal group of writers to manage the efforts of a much larger group of Silicon
Valley tech writers with lots of Intel experience.
This experiment was hugely successful. The books were delivered in
record time. The quality of the work was exceptional thanks to the input of the expert
writing staff. These experts added value to the project thanks to their in-depth knowledge
of the microprocessor market.
Many at TI thought organizing a project of this complexity on an
outsource basis would be impossible but they were wrong. The small internal staff
responded to the day to day needs of the project, managing the quality of the source
information going to the outsource team in California and the quality of their finished
Many thought that it would be too expensive but they were also
wrong. The costs were actually less than having a large internal staff because the
outsource writers only charged for actual hours on the job. There were no charges for
|Amazon ends but an even bigger project
|Just as the first Amazon chips began to
appear out of the fabs, TI changed its strategy and decided to focus on Digital Signal
Processors (DSPs), microprocessors specializing in real-time applications. Amazon was
cancelled as a result.
TI also decided to aggressively develop
its low-touch, mass-market business. Extensive research into the needs of the
semiconductor mass-market customer revealed that the markets number one need was for
well-documented applications materials. In 1997, TI mounted a major offensive to add 320
new application reports.
As with Amazon, TIs internal publications group lacked the
capacity or the expertise to develop 320 application documents in less than a single year.
So once again they turned to outsource on an even bigger scale than they had done with
TI searched nationwide for an outsource communications company with
the capacity and talent to do the job. More than thirty companies were considered. During
this process, two of the internal writers from the Amazon project, Mike Smith and John
Seixas, came forward with a unique proposal that had significant advantages over all of
the other traditional technical communications companies.
|The SoleSource Concept
|Smith and Seixas were veteran technical
writers who had worked for many high technology companies in Dallas-Fort Worth. Between
the two of them, they knew dozens of top-notch technical communications professionals
working in the market. By operating in a low overhead manner, they could pay top rates to
attract the best writers, illustrators, and editors to work on the TI application
They bid each application report on a fixed-price
basis and required no payment until TI accepted the work. Doing a great number of high
quality applications documents in a very short time was TIs goal. The incentive of
no payment until acceptance seemed like the perfect carrot to ensure fast, high-quality
TI had been unsuccessful in finding the right kind of talent to
develop the applications materials and the Smith-Seixas proposal had no cost associated
with trying it out. And since Smith and Seixas already had a good relationship with TI, TI
agreed to their proposal. Smith and Seixas formed SoleSource and with a handshake embarked
on the most aggressive communications outsourcing project in TIs history.
What happened? In 1997 TI published not 320 documents but rather
436. With the business continuing strong into 1998, SoleSource now turns it attention on
developing similar relationships with companies such as yours.
The SoleSource concept is unique, simple, and effective and can be
summarized as follows:
||Maintain a low overhead operation by having very few direct
employees and turning to independent contractors to do the work.
||Leverage the low overhead savings so that we can afford to
pay our independent contractors top dollar. The best talent for the job is thus available
at at minimum notice.
||Challenge the independent contractors to do their best
work in the shortest time by paying only on completion and acceptance by you, the customer
||Using the finest talent ensures excellent results with
|Its that simple, and the
unique value to you is that you get instant yet outstanding technical communications
production capacity with a single phone call.