As discussed in last week’s post
, economic difficulties and technological advances have combined to make outsourcing more of a compelling and intriguing option for companies than ever before. By allowing companies to maximize limited financial resources, the outsourcing model may be exactly what your company needs.
In Robert Ryan’s recent position paper on the topic, he repeatedly refers to a need to make companies agile, which better allows for course corrections in times of rapid change, like now. When it comes to agility, size will always be a factor, no matter if it is comparing the way a sports car whips around corners in comparison to the much larger minivan or in seeing how small companies can make changes much more simply than larger ones. In fact, the workforce itself is becoming more agile, with the average Baby Boomer expected to work for only two to three companies throughout his or her career, while members of generations X and millennium will likely average 15-18 tenures at different companies.
When capacity shrinks, a company may no longer have the size of the workforce necessary to handle all tasks and strategies. With a smaller capacity, organizations begin to struggle with completing the functions they completed prior to the downsizing, much less be able to actually keep up with technological advances and changes in the industry. Once a company reaches a point where it can no longer keep pace with its competitors, then it is no longer agile.
Also, as the number of employees of many businesses has dwindled down to a core staff as a result of the economic downswing, many people are now doing multiple jobs, and with more people changing jobs at different companies than ever before, it makes sense that workers are no longer perfectly suited and trained for every aspect of their positions. Rather than allow quality and service to deteriorate in the wake of this situation, it makes more and more sense for companies to carefully examine the capacity of their workforce in terms of not only numbers but also capabilities, which we will discuss in more depth next week.
As Ryan states, “Too expensive to hire and train, most organizations acquire expertise episodically for strategic initiatives. This includes increasing capability and capacity over a short, definable period of business or technical transition.” How have you seen capacity make a difference when a company is considering outsourcing? How do you determine which functions your team can handle in-house and which can be outsourced? How do you determine when a company should take on added capacity to achieve a goal?