By Ken Ingram
Cost reduction is no longer the sole reason for any business to outsource because outsourcing in itself has changed. In the past, companies had all the talent, skills and abilities needed to reach the businesses goals and objective. However in today’s constantly changing environment, our capacity to maintain those skills has become scarce. Organizations are under pressure to evolve at a much faster rate than in previous years and this may be the most compelling reason to outsource due to survival and business performance.
When I became a black belt in Six Sigma, many of the employees in the company looked at the new methodology as a strategy not for the purpose of becoming more efficient and competitive, but as a strategy to eliminate jobs. Those of us who saw it as a methodology to improve cost, customer satisfaction and to become more competitive were able to increase both our value and the value of the organization. By getting involved in the process we became a catalyst and were recognized as change agents. Forget the myth that people have an inherent resistance to change. What people are resistant to is being changed. Change can be energizing when communicated in an effective manner so we became agents of change.
If a business is not constantly making adjustments and corrections in all areas of the business, it becomes complacent. Complacency leads to extinction even for businesses that have been around for decades. One area often overlooked is the workforce and unless a consistent effort and investment is made, even people will depreciate. It is imperative to constantly challenge the status quo or risk becoming a part of history.
When you have great people, cross-training can be a solution to the changing business dynamics in lieu of outsourcing. You may already have the right people in your organization but they might lack the knowledge and know-how to become the absolute best that they can be. They may resist change and you may resist change because of the investment. In Quebec, the government offers subsidies of up to 50% to keep your business and its people running at optimum. In the book Management Challenges for the 21st Century Peter Drucker describes how the old paradigms will need to be replaced by new ones. In the book ‘Good to Great’, Jim Collins talks about why some organizations make the leap and others do not. What is important with all of these concepts and ideas, is that you put them into practice, because the future is not what it used to be and more than any year in the past, your leadership, teamwork, sales and business development skills will be put to the test. In summary in today’s competitive landscape There are now several things that your organizations may want to achieve and cost reduction is just one of them, but it may not be the most important goal anymore. You may be looking for ways to bridge the gap by providing additional capacity and skills that are in scarce supply to reach the businesses goals and objective.
Ken Ingram, MQA, President TAC Montreal