What Weapons do you use to fight the Outsourcing Battle?
By: Tammy Golden, Director of the Printing and Media Services, Department of General Services for the State of Tennessee
Recently there has been some discussion in the community forum about outsourcing threats and how to combat them. It’s a topic that we all have to deal with, whether it comes from facility management companies or from some internal management initiative. So how do you fight these threats?
First of all, you can’t wait for the battle to start before you build your arsenal. That might be too late. You should keep a stockpile of information that is always available and that you can compile on very short notice.
Price Studies – The first thing managers will want to know is whether or not you’re saving money for your organization. You should be able to cite how much you’re saving and have the data to back it up.
Customer Satisfaction Surveys – You should be surveying your customers and making sure they are very satisfied with your service, turnaround and price.
Benchmarking – You should also compare yourself to others in the industry. You can do that using information from organizations like IPMA. Look for white papers, state of the industry surveys, best practices, and other information that you can compare yourself against.
Company Loyalty – One advantage every in-plant has over the commercial market is that their number one priority is their parent organization. Have some documentation on how that benefits the organization. Know what your average turnaround time is, but also give some specific examples of critical rush jobs that you have pulled off. If you have customer comments, include them.
Overhead Expenses – If your in-plant contributes to the overhead of the organization through paying rent or other administrative costs, make sure you include that in your documentation. Those are real dollars that are being funneled back into the organization’s operational costs.
Awards – If you have any industry awards, you should put them in your arsenal. This shows that you can compete on a regional or national level.
Make a list of the other benefits to your organization such as convenience and security.
You should gather this information on an ongoing basis so that it is always current. Price studies and customer surveys should be done annually in most cases. Gathering this information on an ongoing basis also helps you spot problem areas early and gives you time to improve them.
If you gather this information and keep it on hand, you’ll be much more confident when you get that dreaded phone call. You’ll be able to articulate how you bring value to the organization and you’ll have the data to back it up. Also, I would recommend reaching out to your fellow IPMA members. You can get some great advice from others who have been through it as well as moral support.