Guide

Outsourcing

Choose an outsourcing partner

Outsourcing is about creating a successful partnership.

Choosing a company to outsource to is very different from choosing an ordinary supplier. You're embarking on a long-term relationship, so take time to look in detail at potential service providers.

Search the outsourcing supplier directory.

Track record of the outsourcing partner

Ask yourself:

  • Does the provider have a track record of service commitment?
  • Has it been recognised within its own industry?
  • Does it track customer satisfaction levels?
  • Is the business expanding?
  • How good are the service level agreements it offers?

See service level agreements.

Outsourcing relationship management

Relationship management is critical to your business. How will your relationship be managed and how good - and available - is your relationship manager?

If you choose to outsource to a company outside the UK, remember that distance and time zone differences will make control more difficult. Language barriers and different business cultures can also present problems and you will need to allow for exchange rate fluctuations in your costings. 

Download an outsourcing relationship management guide (PDF, 292K)

Outsourcing partner customer references

Find out:

  • who the provider's existing customers are
  • how satisfied their customers are
  • what the provider's strengths are
  • how they deal with problems

To answer these queries, try to speak to several existing customers with an industry profile similar to yours.

See the outsource partner at work

Visit each potential service provider. Look at the working environment and ask about staff retention and turnover. Check their IT systems and equipment, management processes and quality assurance procedures.

Financial stability of the outsource partner

Check that your potential provider is financially stable. If it is a limited company, get copies of its recent accounts, ask for banker's references and consider getting a report from a credit checking agency.

Ask your potential service provider if they plan to subcontract any of your work and apply the same checks to any subcontractors.