When people think of outsourcing, they don’t usually think of the manufacturing sector. They think that it’s something that the more affluent, creative types in the big cities do. They associate it more with office work than they do with manufacturing and labour.
Of course, for many people who are in the manufacturing industry, they’ll be familiar with the practice, if only by name. When labourers think of outsourcing, they think of something quite different. They see the people who are in charge robbing them of jobs by sending those tasks overseas in order to get it done cheaper. Indeed, outsourcing seems to have a fairly bad reputation in this industry. Many are convinced that you just don’t get the same quality as you would on home turf. Think about all the schtick that China gets for the low-quality products we see in this country, for example!
But it wouldn’t be fair or accurate to tar all manufacturing outsourcing with the same brush. In fact, there are many tasks that can be outsourced locally, to similar companies within the same country. You may only think that multimillion-pound companies do outsourcing. But that would also be inaccurate. Outsourcing can be perfect for small businesses. Especially startups who have just entered the world of manufacturing.
So why do people do it? Well, there are three main factors to consider. Those are cost, quality, and flexibility. These are three things that worry most industries. But imagine the pressure to match the national standards of these things when you’re starting up in manufacturing!
Cost is probably the most pressing factor. The fact is that a lot of outsourcing is done because companies simply don’t have the right amount of hands. Sure, you could argue that they should just employ more people. There are plenty of labourers out there who are looking for work. But this isn’t always a realistic option for a startup. The fact is that it’s not cheap to recruit more people; in fact, it’s incredibly expensive. Outsourcing means being able to get the work done without spending too much in recruitment.
Quality is the thing that startups wish they could concentrate more on! But that’s sometimes seen as a luxury reserved for companies who have already made millions. For a startup, it can seem impossible to attain the quality their product needs in order to stand out from the crowd. This is where outsourcing comes in handy again. You can outsource some of the work to engineering companies in the same country. Companies that have been around for a long time and place a premium on quality. Newnham Engineering is an example of a company who can help out others.
And then there’s flexibility. To some, flexibility might seem like nothing more than a buzzword. But it’s incredibly important when you’re a startup, especially in this industry. Think about it: developing a manufacturing company to the size and strength of the famous powerhouses? It takes a lot of resources. If they were doing all the manufacturing and engineering themselves, it might take too long. By allocating work to other companies, they can spend some time focussing on strengthening their own company.