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Horror in the Trenches! Part Two

Posted on August 08, 2006

By James Montague

Stephanie knows that she has to have her information ready and concise before she even approaches Finance about looking at outsourcing options for her company.  In her own mind she is still struggling with the “how do I decide what to do” issue.  Stephanie first looks at what her needs are, both short term and long term.  “Is this problem a short term issue”, “are things already being done that will make this problem go away”, “are there external resources that can help”? 

It’s obvious that Stephanie has short term problems, large amounts of work to get done and not enough hands to do it.  Even if the new client contracts continue long term there still exists an immediate need for Stephanie to service her clients.  Budgets are tight because the revenue from new contracts are not being collected yet so asking for permanent staff will be a tough sell.  Her situation seems to fit a temporary outsourcing solution.  In this time of departmental growth and change Stephanie needs to stay focused on managing her resources.  Even though she does “roll up her sleeves” it certainly isn’t the most efficient use of her time for the organization.

To be fair, the alternative is to hire permanent staff which would be a fixed cost to her company.  And as we all know it takes time to find the right people and even longer to get them trained.  Stephanie has an immediate problem and hiring may take 4 months or longer to get any relief!  Temporary staffing is a variable cost, which means Stephanie can us the resource as long as she needs and then the expense is gone.  She can also use temporary staff to handle onsite logistics so it keeps her managers in the office where they can be more efficient.  This is true even if her broader goal is to bring on more staff; the immediate needs of the clients are fulfilled with adding temporary staff.   

Tomorrow we will look at the more specific decision of “what to keep and what can be outsourced”.


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As this case study clearly shows, there are times when outsourcing may be the only viable solution. However, I feel that this is something that should be entered into judiciously so that an informed decision can truly be made.

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