First outsourcing project pitfalls

PitfallsIn today’s world every business looks for ways to save money, while increasing productivity. A good outsourcing strategy can help you achieve just that.

Before you begin though, it is important to remember that just because you’re outsourcing your work it doesn’t mean that you can cut corners.  You still need to do your homework, maintain constant communication, and treat the vendor as an employee (which they are).  These are a few of the mistakes that people make when they first begin outsourcing their projects.

While doing your homework, you are going to want to begin small and really ensure that the person you are choosing for the job is someone that you can trust to complete the job correctly and on time.  Be picky and remember that each of the vendors you are looking at have competition.  Shop around and choose the vendor that you think will be most compatible with your approach and style.  Make sure that if there is a Project Manager involved, that it is someone trustworthy and capable.  They will be responsible for maintaining contact and ensuring that your vendors do not begin to slip.  Tight Project Management control will keep everything flowing smoothly. Prior planning is important, but there is more than just doing your homework when you are choosing a vendor.

Communication is always critical for business.  Status calls and messages are normal, whether daily or otherwise.  It is critical that both parties feel comfortable with communicating each of their needs and resolving any issues that may arise on either side.  Keep your conversations professional though, it will do no good to badger them or beat them down. State your needs and requirements and understand that the vendor will not know your internal procedures. There may also be scheduling conflicts due to hours of operation.  Keep feedback positive and constructive to ensure that progress is made, idle talk and harsh feelings will only delay the progress and increase costs.  Be sure to respond early as well, the last thing you want is a product delivered late because of poor communication on your part.

The last category is treating the vendor as a key employee.  This is one aspect that is absolutely critical to maintaining a successful relationship while outsourcing.  The vendor you choose will be critical to your success even though the vendor and their employees are not officially part of your organization.  Be careful when using outsourcing as a method to cut costs, with few exceptions, you will get what you pay for.  Their work will be a direct reflection on your company and so it is critical that they are treated as one of the team.  Don’t cut corners, outsourcing has enough risk, don’t add to it, and look for weak points.  Reduce any risks of failure that you can ahead of time and as they are spotted.

Finally, if you do encounter problems, cut your ties early.  It is better to reduce the costs and waste early on and find a new vendor.  Similar to personal relationships, businesses don’t change.  Save your resources for a vendor that can most effectively manage them.

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