The pace of change has never been so fast, with all businesses, markets and sectors being challenged by where to invest to grow, skills shortages, new entrants and margin erosion. The need to partner and have a flexible cost, skills and asset base has never been greater, however if you believed the headlines about ‘Outsourcing’ you might take the view, is this model outdated and time for a change…
With so many clear benefits of Outsourcing should the debate not be about how to make Outsourcing a success and why Outsourcers are in the main seen as Suppliers rather than Partners….
Is the term Outsourcing in itself the issue? Should in future the objective be ‘Smart Sourcing’ where Clients identify partners that bring investment in assets that deliver value and agility in a world where the pace of change demands the need to compete with new entrants and start ups that are disrupting their markets.
Thebenefits of Outsourcing are clear if done well:
Business Focus: Businesses can focus on their core service offering and outsource tasks that require Insight, assets, channels and talent that are not core to their business
Efficiency: Leveraging an existing infrastructure of an Outsource business will deliver efficiency and best practice, therefore taking Clients through the experience curve much faster
Flexibility: Clients can flex Talent, Data and IT resources without the internal cost and process constraints
Speed: The pace of change is relentless, Outsourcing with a partner that has invested in Technology and Talent systems that designed to deliver at pace and integrate with current processes gives Clients a competitive advantage
Talent Pipeline: Outsourcing with a partner that designs Talent systems that align with Clients competencies and values delivers a constant pipeline of future Talent
Insight: Data and Intelligence can deliver a key competitive advantage, Outsourcing to a partner that invests in how to use data to maximise ROI will ensure that resources are deployed to maximise return
Expertise that keeps Clients ahead: By Outsourcing a task that is core to an Outsourcer that is committed to investing in their asset base will ensure that the Service offering will remain future proofed and allow Clients to focus their investment on growing the Core business
Test and Learn: To grow there is always a need to invest in opportunities that are not delivering revenue currently, Outsourcing allows the flexibility to ‘Test and Learn’ without the distraction of current teams delivering in the core markets
So if the argument to ‘Smart Source’ is clear, how do you make this your competitive advantage? The truth is as ever with every partnership both parties have to play their part and work hard at the relationship, however the sentiment has to move from Supplier to Partner!
So, how do you make 1+1=3:
The Buyer’s Role:
Commitment from the Top: Being really clear about why and what you are partnering for is essential and led from the top, this involves being part of the selection process and committing to a ‘Top to Top’ relationship
Clear aims and objectives: It is important that both client and partner jointly develop clear Joint business plan that details the vision, results and behaviours are expected from the partnership
Confidence in the Partner: There needs to be confidence that the client organisation could not provide a better service ‘in house’ either due to cost, skills or assets that the partner brings. That confidence allows the Client to value and respect the partnership and what it delivers
Comparative treatment: The organisation must treat partners people with the same respect and camaraderie as internal employees. Partnering does not make ‘Loaves and Fishes’ achievable, therefore agree the targets and stretch goals together
Commit to the Partnership: Commit to reviewing the ‘Joint Business Plan’ of the partnership monthly and quarterly to ensure there is alignment on results and future plans. Share your plans and objectives as part of these reviews to ensure the partner is delivering to the business agenda
The Partners Role:
‘Do what you say you are going to do’: Trust is key in any Partnership, therefore delivering on agreed objectives is key in creating and maintaining that trust. As part of this the overall sentiment always has to be around acting in the best interests of the Client organisation even if that has short term financial impact for the Partner organisation. Create ‘True Stories’ as case studies of how great results and value are created by delivering on the Joint Business plan
Consistency & Quality of People: People relationships at the Client and Partner organisations is an important factor, however in particular the consistency and quality of the team you deploy will have a large bearing on the outputs and relationship
Proactivity: Having a clear agenda and process for ensuring that the partnership creates a competitive advantage for the Client organisation is key, the pace of change will only increase, therefore committing resources to driving innovation is key
Client Focus: Create a Client focus culture where is it the priority of the whole organisation to deliver on the Client objectives and have a knowledge, understanding and passion for their market that matches the Client organisation
Invest: The Partner must be an expert in their Service offering, however more importantly have clear plans to invest in the future to keep them as the expert and a partner that creates a competitive advantage for Clients
Connection to the top: A ‘Top to Top’ relationship allows for communication of overall business strategy and early escalation of any issues to allow for a speedy resolution. Ensuring that both parties commit to this demonstrates that that the partnership is seen as a competitive advantage to the Client
Contract flexibility: The pace of change demands that the contract allows for agility in the type of service and resources being deployed, therefore the contract needs to provide for this and not disadvantage one partner over the other
Cultural Fit: Ensuring that both partners see the world the same way in terms of business values, talent management, business ethics, investment and overall commitment to the partnership is key to both the success and overall sentiment of the relationship
Seeing clear value in any Outsourced engagement is key in ensuring that the relationship can be seen as a partnership rather than a Client/Supplier arrangement. Given the recent examples of poor Outsourcing is now the time to re-examine your current relationships and ensure you gaining the value and competitive advantage that is required in this fast paced business world.
CPM are experts in Outsourced Sales across sectors such as B2B, B2C, Automotive, FMCG, Utilities and On Trade. ROI for our Clients is core to our DNA, therefore our continued investment in Insight and data intelligence is key to deploying Sales resources to where the greatest return will be delivered. CPM are Omni-channel experts with the ability to blend F2F, Contact Centre and Digital to deliver a seamless Sales experience.