Books that help a business consultant promote consulting can be suspect. After all, the consultants’ first piece of advice is that you need to hire them. That caveat aside, you will find this a well-conceived view of the practical mechanics of setting up a good outsourcing program. The text can be redundant, telling you many times over that you need to agree on measures to define a project’s success. However, even though authors James Essinger and Charles L. Gay don’t dodge all the pitfalls, they do hand you the common-sense fundamentals you need to safely navigate the trendy world of outsourcing. Overall, getAbstract recommends this as a useful volume that will help any executive who is thinking of setting up an outsourcing program or wondering how to do it better next time.
Do What You Do Best
If you’ve ever flown British Airways, you might be interested to learn that the crew, cabin staff and even the aircraft itself are all outsourced. The company focuses on its one key area of expertise: customer relations. British Airways is not the only corporation that takes maximum advantage of outsourcing opportunities. The Harvard Business Review identified outsourcing as one of the most important management practices of the last 75 years. More than 90% of U.S. companies outsource at least one function - unfortunately, many of them don’t know what they’re doing.
The main forms of outsourcing include:
- Contracting activities to outside organizations - Companies often contract out low-level ancillary services that do not involve strategic thought, such as cleaning and maintenance.
- Service outsourcing - When you outsource your company’s service elements, you must carefully select the party who will represent you. Your goal is to tap into the service provider’s expertise, so that your company can concentrate its resources on doing what it does best.
- Insourcing - When you have a small business unit that can...
James Essinger has written more than 25 business books and many popular science articles. His most recent work is Jacquard’s Web. Charles L. Gay is managing director of Shreveport Management Consultancy, which specializes in implementing outsourcing initiatives.