Outsourcing can be an effective solution to completing projects if you’re in need of a specific area of expertise. Whether companies are looking to scale up quickly, find specific expertise or cut operational costs, outsourcing is often the answer. The global market was worth $88.9 billion last year, according to Statista. However, outsourcing isn’t always plain sailing, and many companies fail to realize the expected benefits. Boost your chances of success with some thoughtful planning and helpful tips.
Here are 10 tips to be successful when outsourcing for your company:
- Define the project accurately.
In order to find an outsourcing partner and establish a fruitful relationship, you need a detailed plan. You should make sure that the purpose and scope of your project is clear. Set a schedule with goals, deadlines and expected deliverables. When you’re ready to outsource, clear requirements will lead to more accurate vendor quotes.
- Compare multiple vendors.
You should always invite quotes from multiple vendors to establish a short list that has candidates fulfilling your top requirements. Make sure to include at least one potential partner from your home country for ease of communication and scheduling. They may not be as expensive as you think, and the lack of language barriers, cultural barriers or timing restraints means they can hit the ground running successfully.
- Check their track record.
It’s a good idea to treat the process of engaging an outsourced company in the same way you would hire a full-time employee. Look at their track records and request information for similar work they have completed previously. By doing this background check, this ensures that the company will have the experience you need. Don’t take their word for it either; follow up with past partners and check references properly. Have a list of questions ready to ask past partners to ensure you stay on track when searching for the qualities you need from a company.
- Avoid selecting on price alone.
Cost is always an important consideration, but it’s rarely a good idea to choose a partner to outsource based on price alone. Your project deserves a high level of professionalism, so spend the time to locate a partner with the ideal skill set. This will provide more value in the long-term, and can be worth the added cost. Treat quotes as a starting point for negotiation and try to secure a deal that suits both parties.
- Spell everything out in the contract.
Make sure that your contract covers all the details, especially if ownership or copyright could potentially be an issue. Make it clear exactly what is expected of the vendor during each phase of the project. Also, ensure they deliver all original files at the end of the project in case you need to make future changes.
- Make sure you have SLAs.
It’s important to establish service-level agreements as a kind of insurance policy against late delivery or other problems that may arise. Always establish SLAs prior to the beginning of the contract to have the ability to terminate or withhold money if agreed deadlines are not met. To avoid such issues, make sure to outline your terms during the beginning phases.
- Treat them as internal staff.
The best outsourcing partnerships are all about authentic collaboration. Avoid thinking of the outsourced team as separate from your staff. Treat them as though they are internal with your company and communication and collaboration will have natural and less forced.
- Open communication lines.
Make sure that your internal and external employees can talk to each other directly. Encourage real-time communications via instant messenger, phone and video conferencing. Host staff meetings at intervals throughout the project where communication can flow.
- Visit them and have them visit you.
At the start of the project, and ideally at regular intervals throughout, someone from your team should visit the outsourced team and spend a few days working with them. It’s also a good idea to have a lead from the outsourced team visit your offices as well. Try to rotate the people who visit so that everyone can get a sense of what each team is working on. This helps build relationships and establishes a more concise workflow.
- Invite input.
Your outsourcing partner was chosen, in part, because of their expertise, so make sure that you take advantage of this. Invite them to make suggestions on how the project or your processes can be improved throughout each phase. The end result will be a much stronger one.
Outsourcing is an effective way to scale up, but if not handled properly it can be costly and ineffective. These tips can help to build rewarding partnerships when the time comes to look into outsourcing.