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5 Skills that Businesses are Better Off Outsourcing

Outsourcing in the UK can trace its origins back to the days of Margaret Thatcher, who came to power on a wave of public discontent regarding the behaviour of public sector labour unions in the late 70s. Over the years outsourcing changed from a mostly public sector phenomenon to a largely private sector one and has spent time as both a favourite whipping boy of Labour and a shining light of the Tories. But regardless of its role in the political life of the country, there is no doubt that it’s had a profound effect on UK businesses, allowing them to become and stay competitive in an increasingly global marketplace.

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What to Outsource

Outsourcing isn’t as simple as taking a look around the factory floor and declaring “Production is moving to country X”. Outsourcing often has complex and unforeseen repercussions. Before a process is sent beyond the horizon to secure financial gain there needs to be solid reasons and plenty of research to support the notion that doing so will have the desired effect on the company’s bottom line.

With that in mind, here are 5 skills that have been shown time and again to be prime candidates for outsourcing:

  • Creative – Creative services are being increasingly outsourced as UK companies realise the deep well of extremely talented individuals graduating with design degrees both overseas and here within the United Kingdom. Whether it’s logo design, print advertising, web design or a hundred other related tasks, outsourcing document and print management for example will typically save you a bundle with no loss in quality.
  • Customer Service and Support – In spite of blowback from a vociferous community of bloggers and Internet commenters, customer support continues to be routinely outsourced because it makes financial sense to do so. Are there sometimes problems regarding the quality of English and the level of training in offshore call centres? Certainly. But not enough to conclude that outsourcing this service is a bad idea.
  • Data Entry – Data entry is an ideal candidate for outsourcing. Examples of data entry tasks typically outsourced include payroll data, scanned data, data from customer response forms and written orders or any other form of repetitive, mundane information whose collection is vital but difficult to automate. The only exceptions might be when credit card or other sensitive customer data is involved.
  • Accounting – Accounting is another example of an important task that is well-suited to outsourcing. Whilst that statement may surprise some, the fact is that many offshore accountants have been thoroughly trained in Western accounting methods and practices and are ideal candidates to handle the company’s more mundane bookkeeping tasks. The lone caveat being that the firm doing the work needs to be thoroughly vetted for ability and reputation.
  • Legal – Really? Yes. Many legal services are outstanding candidates for outsourcing, such as the drafting and analysis of routine legal documents as well as litigation support. While you’re not going to find someone offshore to act as your barrister before the High Court, there are nonetheless countless routine legal tasks they can help you with. Small businesses in particular find outsourcing their rote legal tasks an invaluable money saving proposition.

5 Benefits of Properly Planned Outsourcing

Outsourcing can be a boon to your business if handled properly. Here are 5 benefits you can reasonably expect to enjoy:

  • Lower Labour Costs – This is the primary reason for outsourcing and if you’re not enjoying this benefit, it’s time to bring the work back home.
  • Enhanced Company Focus – By outsourcing mundane, repetitive tasks companies free themselves to concentrate on refining and growing their core business.
  • Enhanced Efficiency – Having routine tasks taken care of by a third party allows you to get more from your core group of highly trained, imaginative professionals.
  • A More Level Playing Field – Smaller companies often find resources being disproportionately consumed by routine tasks. By outsourcing those tasks they free up capital for R&D, marketing or other processes that allow them to compete more effectively with the big boys.
  • Reduced Risks – All aspects of business operations and management come with inherent risks. By outsourcing certain processes much of the associated risk is transferred to the company you hire.

The fruits of a well-considered outsourcing scheme are varied and plentiful. But whilst it is true that outsourcing can potentially save you substantial amounts of money the success of your outsourcing efforts will be largely dependent on careful planning. The bottom line is that a company should not outsource simply because they can, but rather because it makes practical and economic sense.

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