Just as a person never forgets how to ride a bicycle, companies have tasks that they must set aside for a while then they’ll need to resume without falling over. These cycles for stored tasks can be driven by seasonal markets or by regulatory or financial calendars. In any case they are predictable ahead of time and will require more effort than just a little overtime. What are the best methods for a company to store away their process muscle memory and take It up again the next season? One method is to displace other work. The usual company workforce sets aside other projects and clears their calendars for the task at hand. Displacement requires no hiring or contracting effort and ensures that the personnel assigned to the seasonal task have proven trustworthy and usually will have completed the same tasks last season. A pure displacement strategy is limited to the scale of the total workforce available to take away from other long-term or off-season work. If the task is larger than the available hands, or requires skills the main workforce do not possess, then other strategies must be pursued. Another common method is to hire seasonal workers. Facilities are either left idle off-season or are repurposed for the season and last season’s workers are invited back to do the same job as before. Seasonal workers have the advantage of not requiring pay or benefits off-season, but they suffer from much higher attrition than full year employees and therefore their average skill levels will be lower. Management attention is required to hire, train and manage each replacement worker. If time, money, management and space aren’t available then other methods must be used. Some tasks can be easily outsourced to external firms that specialize in tasks common to other companies worldwide or throughout an industry. Legal or accounting services for example require intensive training, but these same skills can be applied for the needs of any other company in the same general field. Many companies that compete in other areas find themselves using the same firms to file their taxes. These specialized skills are outside of their own main course of business, so it makes economic sense to rely on the expertise of outside firms with limited involvement of management to provide the information needed for a tax filing or accountancy. Outsourcing seasonal work that is both specific to the company’s individual line of business and is to be conducted offsite requires a little more care. By definition this isn’t a process that anyone else is doing exactly the same way so there are no outside experts that can just be tasked to take care of the job. Splitting up the task and assigning parts to individual freelancers could require far too much management time to justify the exercise. The remaining alternative is to contract with an outsourcing firm to offload some of the project management overhead. Contracting for a new outsourcing firm every season might at first seem like the best way to get the best value each time, but hidden costs can quickly outweigh any paper savings. Every project has hidden assumptions lurking behind the text of the agreement. Sequencing, coordination and quality assurance are often discovered in the process of doing the task. Having a new team trained to, or worse yet a process automated to, faulty assumptions can prove very costly. This can result in schedule slippage or impact your own reputation. What then are the factors to look for in a business process outsourcing partner for intensive tasks that are seasonal or otherwise intermittent?
- Decades of reliable operations.
- Stable management and workforce.
- Commitment to process quality.
- Proven experience of applying piece-wise client notes to build process knowledge base.
- Flexible coordination to best apply client attention without distraction.
- Strong compliance focus.
- Excellent data controls to prevent breaches.
Telegenisys has been a reliable partner for American businesses for over two decades. Please call or write today for help managing your offsite business processes. On request we can store the complete knowledge base so that next season our same group of supervisors can refresh agent training to ensure that your process is run your way with minimal load on your management resources.