Mention the word “outsourcing” and some people immediately curl up into a defensive posture. Doesn’t that mean laying off half the workforce and sending all your core activities to manufacturing sweat shops in Vietnam and telephone call centres in New Delhi?
There is a cynical proverb, apocryphally credited to the media, which is “never let the truth get in the way of a good story,” of which the above is a perfect example. Strategic outsourcing is not only beneficial to an organisation’s productivity and financial performance, it is also a great way of promoting and engaging with other local businesses and bringing benefit to the broader economy and employment landscape as a whole.
Better, Faster, Cheaper.
The 21st century business environment is more crowded and competitive than anything we have ever seen before, and businesses in every industry have to strive to find ways to stay ahead of the competition. This has traditionally come down to the project management triangle of speed, cost and quality, and deciding which parameters to focus on.
This remains as true today as it ever was, it is just that the tools and mechanisms for doing it have changed and evolved. Outsourcing is a tool that ticks all the boxes. Whatever your business, you have certain areas of skill and expertise that you depend on for a competitive edge. You also have a number of functions and processes that have nothing to do with these core skills.
The trick is to stick to what you do best and outsource those areas that are outside your core skills. Whether it is IT, payroll or facilities management – if you are not an expert, outsource it to someone who is. They will do it better and faster, because it is their area of expertise. Nine times out of ten they will also do it cheaper, through economies of scale and superior efficiency.
At the same time, you will have time freed up to focus on honing and developing your core revenue generating skills and capabilities, without the distraction of dealing with an in-house IT team, catering department and so on.
Choosing your partners.
The digital age has made it easier than ever to find the right people for the right job. There are specialist resources such as probrand.co.uk that take all the risk and guesswork out of finding the right partners by providing a transparent online marketplace that brings buyers and suppliers together.
You will probably come up with a shortlist of potential partners, and you need to have a clear vision of what you are looking to achieve in order to make the right final decision. Have specific goals in mind about what are you looking to outsource and why.
Good communication is key, so do not overlook the personal side. Choose someone you feel you can work with and who is a good fit for your business culture.
Finally, take care and time over the contract and make sure both parties are 100 percent happy before it is signed, to ensure a smooth relationship that will bring long term benefits to everyone.