Outsourcing is here to stay. There are various reasons why businesses may choose to outsource. Some outsource with an eye on maintaining their competitiveness through cost-effective operations. Some other businesses outsource operations that might be too convoluted for their staff to handle.

If you want to outsource your business operations like others, it is not difficult to hire a third party service provider either domestically or internationally to take care of your business needs. However, remember that you would be handing over your operations, along with confidential information and exclusive business practice records, which could impact your clients, competitors and other stakeholders. Therefore, it is imperative that your business processes are handled efficiently when they are outsourced.

How Can You Improve The Effectiveness Of Your Outsourcing Arrangements?
• Making A List:
It is critical that you make a list of the operations that you would be outsourcing. It could be invoicing, payroll, digital marketing, tech support, or customer service or all of them. This would give you clarity as to which operations you would still need to handle and this would also help in more effective resource allocation.

• Consider Relevant Providers:
Look at all the relevant proficient service providers in the market who handle the operations that you want to outsource. Check their track records: the list of successful clients they have serviced, the list of successful projects they have executed and the time taken to complete the project.

• Compare and Choose:
Go through the proposal of the service provider in great detail. Apart from comparing the associated costs, read all terms and conditions and look at the kinds of services offered before choosing a service provider. Conducting a comparative analysis would help you in coming to a better decision on your outsourcing partner.

• Go for a Trial Run:
A trial run is an effective way of evaluating the ability of the outsourcing company to handle and deliver the work expected from them. So before settling down on a particular outsourcing vendor, ensure that you get a trial run done. In the trial run, the provider will recruit employees, set up the technology, negotiate vendor contracts and decide on shift timings. At the end of the trial period, you will evaluate whether the deadlines and targets have been met. The trial run would showcase any potential problems. If such problems are uncovered, you can analyze them and ask the provider whether improvements can be made. If the outsourcing company is unable to provide suitable solutions and fails to fulfill your expectations, you can choose another one.

• Set up a Monitoring Team:
You need to create a team to liaise with and monitor the outsourcing company. This team would answer queries, check reports submitted, follow up on missed targets and deadlines, and deal with any other issues as regards the outsourced processes. It would be best to include the senior members of your company in this team as they would know how the operations need to be handled and what are the desired targets.

• Plan for Changes In Advance:
For effective outsourcing, it is imperative that the transitions involved in this process, involving transfer of responsibilities between the business and the outsourcing partner, are made quickly. Check how many employees from the service provider’s side are going to come for training. If it is an international outsourcing company, then you may have to arrange the visas quite in advance. Alternatively, training can be set up through technology tools such as video tutorials or virtual sessions. You will have to arrange for your own employees to train the outsourcing team as well. Any intra-organization change management will have to be implemented at this stage.

• Proper Documentation:
Make sure that every part of the service level agreement is documented and that nothing is left undocumented. The paperwork should be as comprehensive as possible and should clearly delineate accountability and responsibility. Outsourcing can sometimes lead to legal conflicts owing to carelessness in this regard; hence, your business should take appropriate steps to optimize the process.

• Transfer Accountability:
Make sure that the outsourcing service provider takes complete responsibility and accountability for the project after a certain period of time. Your staff should be relieved from monitoring duties and the handing over needs to be smooth as possible.

• Track the Performance Reviews:
Periodic reviews of the service provider and the services rendered are crucial. In case there is a shortfall, you must ensure that it is rectified by the service provider as soon as possible. Establish Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) and metrics to facilitate assessment.

• Regular Communication:
Conduct regular conference calls with the service provider where all issues are raised, clarifications and explanations are given, and information passed on from one to another. This will minimize interruptions and resolve conflicts even before they arise.

In summary, outsourcing your business processes to a competent and experienced outsourcing service provider can streamline the manner in which a process is implemented, boost internal productivity, provide cost savings and enhance your competitiveness. However, this would require amongst many things, adequate foresight, planning, attention to detail and regular reviews. Doing all this can help ensure that the whole outsourcing process is satisfactory for you and profitable for your business.

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