In March of this year, former President Bill Clinton acknowledged to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee that the practice of importing cheap rice had a significant negative impact on the Haitian economy. That made me think, are businesses in danger of creating their own corporate Haiti through outsourcing? Outsourcing is used in almost every area of business from Human Resources to Virtual Assistants and this dependence can create the inability to function independently for some companies. So how do you ensure that your company will still be self sufficient in the face of outsourcing?
1. Make sure your outsourced areas contribute to the institutional knowledge of your company– If you are outsourcing, make sure that some of that specialized knowledge is coming back to your company. If information only flows one way, any change to the relationship can significantly impact your business.
2. Determine if outsourcing creates the best value for your customers– many businesses use outsourcing as the most efficient way to cut costs, but does it increase the value to your customers? If you choose to outsource, chose a firm that will help train your staff and provide support.
3. Know why you need to outsource-Many companies outsource because they don’t have the time or manpower to complete necessary tasks, but do you really need someone else to do your work? Could you achieve the same results by automating some areas of your business? Before you send the work outside ask yourself why you need to. Ask yourself a few of these questions:
a. What are your goals for outsourcing?
b. How will the outsourcing affect your customers?
c. What will your company have to give up to outsource?
4. When you do outsource, keep an eye on quality control-Outsourcing requires you to relinquish some control, so you have to be diligent. Ensure that the outsourcing company will adhere to your quality standards and provide you with adequate oversight capability. Don’t allow outsourcing to affect the quality of your customer care.
Outsourcing is a natural part of business life and can bring significant time, cost and resource savings. Companies should view outsourcing as an additional resource that compliments and supports the business, rather than rely upon outsourcing to operate their business.
For more information on the affect of Haitian imports see
Katz, J. (March 20,2010). Earthquake Highlights Policy Failure: With Cheap food imports, Haiti can’t feed itself. The Herald Sun. http:// http://www.heraldsun.com/view/full_story/6789006/article-Earthquake-highlights-policy-failure–With-cheap-food-imports–Haiti-can-t-feed-itself?instance=homesixthleft