Outsourcing to DIY

  January 13, 2011

Outsourcing is seen as a way to cut costs, but it's not necessarily such a binary situation. With the economy continuing to lag, squeezing more bang out of your operations buck might point to rethinking outsourcing contracts and the resources available through in-house staff.

As much as any employee hates to hear it, the name of the game in a down economy is getting the most out of what - and who - you have. This means carefully examining all outsourcing contracts to see if they can be scaled back and the work completed by in-house staff on overtime. Some normally outsourced tasks that could be brought back in include painting and cleaning.

Hourly staff appreciates the opportunity to earn more as well, but this strategy is only a short-term solution. If overtime almost becomes mandatory to keep up with all the work that needs to be done, the benefit of flexibility and savings goes away. And staff may start to balk at the long hours.

Be Your Own GC One example of leveraging staff for work that is usually contracted out is doing construction projects in house. Obviously not the big stuff, but if you're going to renovate a floor, for example, and your construction budget is suddenly cut, using your own staff, along with established relationships with other trade workers, is a possibility. Basically, you become your own general contractor.

While the idea of taking on a construction project at the same time they’re expected to be doing their regular jobs may initially cause some dissension in the ranks, it could be a strategy to help keep jobs in the long run. That's because at the end of the day, it could save the company lots of money. And the more you use your own team, and illustrate their skills and value, the better chance they will be around at the end of the financial crisis. A big downside, however, is that the project will probably take a bit longer than the traditional method.


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