THE RIGHT TIME to outsource all comes down to concentrating on your company's key strengths. Outsourcing allows you to cut operational costs by outsourcing certain tasks that simply bulk up your operating budget unnecessarily by making poor choices regarding where you purchase necessary goods or services. In short, if you could get something cheaper someplace else, why wouldn’t you? If car dealership A sells a car for a fraction of the price of car dealership B, which car dealership would you go to? Now imagine if you owned a business and needed to buy a hundred cars for your corporate fleet? Imagine the possibilities.
Many people aren't too crazy about outsourcing, mainly because it has the implication of giving up control. Managers want to control their own fate, as opposed to letting someone else pull the strings from far away. Bear in mind that outsourcing is not an end in itself; many people make it a last resort, when in actuality, it can be a very useful strategy toward optimal performance—a means, as opposed to an adjustment to a means.
In many ways, there is no textbook specific right time, by any measure. Although there are mitigating factors that may lead up to it, it still remains a strategic decision that serves the specific purpose of accentuating company objectives and long term goals. It's not about giving up control—it runs more along the lines of delegating responsibility to industry specialists, and giving your personnel a chance to concentrate on key competencies or expansion. Outsourcing should not, by any means, be a rush decision as in business, rush decisions usually result in eventual failure. There are certain question you ought to ask yourself before you consider outsourcing part, or all, or your operations:
- Can you outsource without completely losing control?
- Is the provider capable, and is there room for expansion?
- Which provider best suits your product?
- If the provider performance is not up to par, will it leave you exposed and vulnerable?
The communal answer to our title question regarding the best time to outsource is when you have your priorities set. If you can get your company to concentrate your resources on critical, core functions of operation and outsource the not-so crucial ones, then you have the mandate to outsource. If you want to beat deadlines and operate on a more efficient spectrum, then you outsource! It's not a matter of time, it's a matter of strategy. Knowing what makes your company tick, and concentrating on that aspect, will help you maintain a tight objective schedule and keep your company at optimum operating levels.
Think of the operating costs involved in technology and manpower investment, then think about saving these costs through outsourcing. Should you pay someone here $25 per hour to push a button, or should you pay someone someplace else $7 per hour to push the button? If it seems wrong to pay someone less, what if $7 to them can buy the equivalent of $30 where they live?
The fact is, as long as you can maintain control and the potential value exists, it's always time to outsource. Its benefits far outweigh any possible downside. With that said, outsourcing provides a sure way to gain a competitive edge over your competitors, and allows you to run on a higher efficient operation here at home.