“The way we do business” is a phrase that has become increasingly prevalent over the past decade, often referring to how tasks or jobs are prioritised and the methods employed to complete them.
Occasionally, however, changes in the environment can influence this process and indeed can act as a catalyst for change. In recent years there has been a growing movement toward flexible workforces that are responsive to the changing environment. Now as we get to grips with the COVID-19 pandemic and attempt to plan for the aftermath, the need for an agile workforce and indeed the broader benefits of outsourcing are more apparent than ever.
While the economic crash of 2009 has led many employers and businesses to make prudent planning decisions to safeguard their operations, the pandemic is unprecedented and understandably the direct and indirect knock on impacts have blindsided many businesses. There are naturally very real day-to-day impacts, but in the broadest sense employers now must juggle the responsibility of looking after their staff, while endeavouring to safeguard the future of their business.
Outsourcing is now a very real option to improve efficiencies and control costs. Through our work, we have found that outsourcing can facilitate a number of in-company challenges. It allows management focus on the core business and reduce the time and costs associated with the onboarding of staff, facilitating their training and development needs, managing leave requirements and avoiding the need to retain sufficient resources to cover potential absences. These costs need to be carefully considered in today’s competitive environment, where businesses need to be capable of weathering any economic downturn while also maintaining continuity of service. Outsourcing certain functions ensures businesses can achieve both objectives and decision-makers can ramp up or scale down requirements to suit their business needs. Outsourcing specialists can hit the ground running, allowing critical individuals within a company spend more time on the core business activities and ultimately become more profitable.
When it comes to outsourcing and utilising external expertise and capacity, businesses can avail of a wide range of functions and skills, probably more than most would realise. Outsourcing can provide the right staff across everything from finance, legal, logistics, marketing, sales, and facilities management, to name but a few. We have found that businesses can increase their capacity rapidly to meet immediate or unexpected demands and adjust their scale in a prudent manner.
One of the benefits of outsourcing is the fast turnaround, whereby resources with specialist expertise and the required skills are available immediately without significant investment in training, development, and onboarding. There are also significant cost reduction and time saving benefits to outsourcing whereby expensive administration associated with internal resources is replaced by an agreed fixed amount for the outsource provider.
Outsourcing offers companies the opportunity to access a broader talent pool which in many cases will enable them to avail of added-value expertise that might not otherwise have been an option. Added to this, while outsourced team members will become an integrated part of a business, they can also bring a fresh perspective and potentially new ideas that will serve as a catalyst for change.
Finally, one very important benefit of outsourcing, particularly within the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, is the continuity afforded by outsourcing. Outsourcing always provides businesses with continuity cover to ensure that the work will always be completed in accordance with the timelines agreed. We find that it is a particularly important aspect for the businesses with whom we work.
With advances in technology, changing business practices, emerging industries, and the general evolution of the global economy, all of which has very real impacts, we are seeing an-increasing demand for outsourcing. Users of these services will range from large corporates, multi-national companies, financial institutions, SME’s, and public bodies. In a time of uncertainty, there is the potential for opportunity by thinking strategically in a manner that will make businesses more agile and sustainable going forward.
This article first appeared in the Business Post on the 24th May 2020.