Strategy lies at the heart of every lean and efficient businesses. Whether you are managing a startup on a shoestring budget, or trying to improve the bottom line of a large enterprise by reducing the overheads, strategic outsourcing often offers the answers. A decade ago, outsourcing was driven by demands from large companies, but today even small- and medium-sized businesses are outsourcing non-critical tasks to boost profits and increase organizational efficiency.
While any kind of outsourcing will help you reduce costs, if you want to get the most out of it, you need to have a proper plan and strategy. The following points will give you an idea of what you need keep in mind while trying to make outsourcing work for your business.
1. Outsource the Right Tasks
Commonly, repetitive and time-consuming tasks are best choices for outsourcing. But, if you choose a reputed outsourcing company, you can also outsource some mission-critical tasks. The first step is to identify the tasks that are ripe for outsourcing, and the second step is to find the right offshore partner for your tasks. Some of the commonly outsourced tasks include:
- Date entry, data verification and validation
- Medical transcription
- Market research
- Most BPO and some KPO tasks
- Software programming development
- Manufacturing (of some kinds)
- SEO and Digital Marketing
- Healthcare services
- Financial services
- Human resources tasks
- Web and graphic design
- Personal Assistance tasks
- Writing and documentation tasks
While these are some of the most commonly outsourced jobs, you can practically outsource any job as long as you can find a reliable person to take care of it.
2. Outsource When the Time is Ripe
There is no point in outsourcing when your employees already have enough time to take care of all the needs. But, when a new project comes up, or when your team needs to look after a larger number of tasks, it is good to start outsourcing repetitive and time-intensive tasks. This will help you keep your core team lean. For individuals and very small businesses, outsourcing non-critical business tasks from the start can also prove very beneficial. You must decide for yourself when the time is ripe.
3. Focus on Building a Team and Define Processes
The biggest challenge is to find the right contractor and build a dependable team. Keep the following points in mind for getting the right people:
- Hire qualified and experienced people for the job
- Interview the candidates on your own
- Choose people who you can talk to without translation
- Ensure a time overlap and insist on facilities for easy communicating
- Select a company with proven track record of success
Even if you have the right team, it doesn’t mean that things will go smoothly. Not only do you need to face the barriers of time and place, but you are also dealing with people with a different work culture. So, evolve and stick to a mutually acceptable work process for improved efficiency.
4. Analyze Progress and be Ready to Implement Changes
Insist on getting detailed work reports – even if the employees end up spending 20-30 minutes in reporting, it is worth it. With solid data in your hand, it becomes easy to analyze progress and define the benefits of the process.
Data regarding milestones, projections and cost will help identify the roadblock to higher performance and facilitate the creation of a sharper and leaner process. If you have picked a team that is amenable to changes, you will have a lot of flexibility in task allocation as well as in staffing. Exercise your rights and implement the needed changes to get the optimum benefits from your outsourcing drive.
5. Take it to the Next Level
As mentioned earlier, outsourcing doesn’t need to be limited for repetitive, low-skilled jobs. Sure, the first jobs that you need to outsource are data entry or web research, but when you can also find accountants, software engineers and product architects who are capable of providing high quality work at low rates, it would be a shame to not take advantage of their skills. So, start out with outsourcing simpler tasks, but try and send out more and more work that doesn’t require face-to-face collaboration.
Outsourcing can help you save a lot of money, but only if it is well planned. You can always send out simple and repetitive tasks like data verification, data entry or coding, but by finding the right contractor, it is possible for get complex and mission-critical tasks taken care of in India or other offshore countries. By building a strong offshore partnership with the contractor or by building your own offshore team, you can build a lean and efficient business.