Regulated industries, including but certainly not limited to, Pharmaceuticals, Medical Devices, Biotechnology, and Consumer Products, have a virtual obstacle course of hoops to jump through in efforts to bring their products to market. Companies that have a global footprint continue the hoop jumping in efforts to get the product onto international “shelves.” It is for those additional steps that companies sending product overseas should outsource.
Document Legalization: a process during which documents are navigated through an assembly line of notarizations, certifications, and authentications so that these documents can be used in foreign countries to transact business. It is a “hurry up and wait” game as the documents are passed around government agencies in hopes of getting their stamps of approval. Notaries, Clerks of Court, Chambers of Commerce, Secretaries of State, U.S. Department of State, and Embassies…Oh my!
It is a necessary evil, a niche administrative task that can be confusing and tedious, and it should be outsourced. Here is why:
- Time is Money!: The faster a company can get product to market, the faster that product can be consumed, and therefore, the sooner more product will be ordered. On average, clients tell me, the wait time to receive documents back from the U.S. Department of State is 2-3 weeks when mailed in. When outsourced to the appropriate service provider, this wait time is reduced to about 4 business days. This expedited process can result in millions of dollars worth of product sold and delivered faster.
- Time better spent: The arduous task of document legalization is often times delegated to regulatory, quality assurance, or legal professionals in a company. Any time spent researching document requirements for various countries, tracking the progress of the documents, preparing shipping labels to multiple locations, or cutting checks to government agencies, is time better spent on the core business of the company and the primary responsibilities of its respective departments.
- Maintain a level of accountability: When sending documents to large government agencies, there is almost no way to track the progress of your documents. Deferring to a provider that walks through the doors of those government agencies daily allows for swift updates on the status of your documents. Additionally, any service provider worth its salt will have its own internal processes for document tracking, enabling you as the client to call or email to get information immediately.
- Stay Up-To-Date: Hand delivering documents to various government entities not only saves a significant amount of time, but it also allows service providers to stay current on policy changes within the agencies and embassies. This information can then be passed on to you and the company for future reference.
I know what you’re thinking, “what about the cost?”
It is true, there is a cost involved in outsourcing document legalization. Any expedited service is going to have a price. I liken it to a hospital visit. You can drive to the hospital yourself and sit in a crowded waiting room for hours, or you can call an ambulance to transport you directly to the emergency room, but you will be billed for the ambulance fee.
In addition, the labor cost you can save by allowing employees to focus on primary operational tasks that they were hired to do as opposed to the peripheral task of document legalization coupled with potential revenue growth because of the expedited turnaround time of documents, far outweigh comparatively minimal cost of a provider’s service fee.
Finally, it is not uncommon for companies that do outsource their document legalization to either defer the cost onto their clients that are ordering the product or write the cost off as a business expense for tax purposes, or a combination of the two.
Whether you’re a small consumer products company, eager to expand your global presence, or fortune 500 pharmaceutical company, looking to maintain your competitive advantage in the industry, outsourcing your document legalization needs is one way to cost effectively achieve your goals. By delegating this function to a reputable service provider, companies can do what they do best: research, innovate, develop and commercialize their products, leaving the extra hoop jumping to those of us who love obstacle courses.