Outsourcing can enable businesses to unlock many different benefits, but it is up to you to take advantage of them. That is why we have put together this thorough guide.
Why outsourcing makes a lot of sense
There are a lot of benefits that are associated with outsourcing. Outsourcing can help you to unlock greater efficiency, both from a productivity and cost perspective. You will be able to achieve more within the workplace because you will be able to enlist experts to work on certain areas of your business, especially those that can be difficult to do in-house. For instance, if you were developing a digital product, it’d be better to work with a company like Pixelfield rather than trying to do everything yourself. This keeps your quality levels high while making sure that you can also focus on other core elements of your company, i.e. areas that drive your bottom line.
Aside from this, outsourcing can be more cost-efficient, which is something that a lot of people do not actually realise. If you compare the costs over a long period of time, such as a year, you will get a good reflection of which approach is going to be the most affordable for you. Hiring an employee or a team of employees can be very expensive, especially as you will find yourself paying for a worker even during periods of low demand. This is something you do not need to fret about when it comes to outsourcing.
What are some of the different strategies you can use when outsourcing?
Outsourcing is something more and more business owners are making the most of today. This is a practice whereby you employ the services of another company to take care of a specific operation at your business.
Outsourcing saves businesses money and time. It is not beneficial for all tasks but it can be for many, especially those whereby you have a lack of expertise at your company.
If you are going to look for a company to outsource some work to, you need to go in with a plan. With that being said, read on to discover more about the different types of outsourcing relationships you can have.
So, let’s take a look at five different options…
Handing over full responsibility
This is simple: you look for a firm to take complete control of a specific task and you pay them for it. It is a full, all-inclusive offering, designed to take the entire weight off your shoulders. This is something you can experience via the likes of Click4Assistance live chat software provider, who can handle all of your live chat customer service requirements for you.
Supplier revenue based on your own performance
This approach is rather unique but straightforward. It means that you and the firm you hire share the benefits as well as the risk. You are going to be paying them based on the benefits they provide. This mean an important point is negotiating what is expected from the offset. This can be difficult, as both parties want some protection.
A lot of companies today have also decided to outsource some of their business tasks to companies that are based in other countries. The main reason for this tends to be because they can lock in cheaper rates. However, this is not always the case. It could be for better labour. Either way, communication is critical here.
Selective outsourcing in a flexible or module manner
With this strategy, the task in question or the part of your business you want to outsource will not be fully outsourced. You will keep some elements in-house, and you will then outsource anything from around 20 to 60 per cent of your budget, let’s say your marketing budget for example. This is a flexible solution, meaning you can play towards your team’s capabilities.
Using numerous suppliers for an activity
Finally, this strategy involves working with at least two suppliers, rather than aligning with one. This reduces risks and it also helps to increase quality too. Equally, though, it can create more frustration and difficulty managing relationships. You need to think carefully about the person at your business who is going to be managing all of this.
Hopefully, you now have a better understanding of the different options that are available to you. There is no right or wrong approach – it is all about figuring out what is right for your business. If you do decide to go down the offshore route, careful management of the relationship is important.
How can you manage offshore projects effectively?
Nowadays, business is becoming increasingly global. Companies want to tap into the best talent, which is why they will often outsource or hire someone based overseas. While this presents many benefits, it can be challenging to manage someone located far away, which is why this is now a critical part of project management training. Read on to discover the challenges facing project managers with remote team members, and how to overcome them.
- Time differences – One of the main problems facing a business’ remote workers is the time difference. If the time difference is no greater than seven hours, you should be able to find a point in the working day whereby your hours overlap, allowing you to schedule a meeting, even if it is the start of your working day and the end of theirs. If your working days do not overlap, this can be a lot more challenging. Establish a system whereby you both give each other daily updates, via email or the project management software you use, for example. You should then try and have a weekly audio or video call. Don’t expect the remote workers to be inconvenienced all of the time, you are going to need to be flexible and adapt to them as best as you can. The likelihood is that they will return the favour.
- Feeling out of the loop – It can be very easy for remote teams and workers to feel like they are not part of the team. They may feel a bit lost and like they don’t really know what they are doing, which can essentially cause them to ‘hide’, i.e. they will avoid your messages, delay responses, and come up with frequent excuses. The key is to communicate regularly and make time for small talk too so that the workers feel comfortable. You also need to be clear regarding objectives and implement deadlines for all work to be submitted by.
- Cultural differences – The way we work in the UK is very different from other areas of the world, be it China, the Philippines, or elsewhere. You need to respect cultural differences at all times, from differences in regards to how many days a person has off work, to how long their lunch break is, to how much workers chat to one and other. All of these seemingly small things make a huge difference. In the UK, most people get four weeks off work per year. How would you like it if you were told you could only have one week off because that’s what your project manager in another country is allowed?
- Tracking productivity – Finally, tracking productivity can be difficult when you cannot physically see how your employees are performing. This is why it is extremely important to have guidelines for all remote workers and to implement deadlines. You should also have tools in place to track what your remote employees are doing, as well as systems so that you know your business’s metrics. Also, it’s useful to use work allocation in order to get the most productivity out of your employees, whether that’s law firm work allocation or another type of company. You should also make sure everyone uses the same software and tech, whether it is to write code, update their tasks, or to file reports about the project they are working on.
All in all, outsourcing can offer a lot of different benefits, but you need to go about it in the best possible manner. We hope that the information provided above can be of a great help.
It is important that you take the time to determine what elements of your business you should outsource so that you make the best possible moves forward for your company. The last thing you want to do is end up outsourcing an area that is better handled in-house.
Generally speaking, you should look to outsource parts of your company that do not make up the core of your activities. For example, if you run a cyber security business, you may want to outsource your accounting requirements. You typically would not look to outsource activities relating to data security. However, a fashion business or a recruitment firm would benefit from outsourcing cyber security. Therefore, it all really depends on the type of business you have and the gaps that you are looking to fill when determining whether or not outsourcing is going to be right for you.
You then need to make sure that you choose the right partner for all of your outsourcing needs. Make sure that they work in a manner you are happy with and ensure that they have plenty of experience and a good track record in the industry as well.