Project Design: The Benefits of Outsourcing

The outsourcing industry is an increasingly important driver of the UK economy. According to the Business Services Association (BSA), almost 10 per cent of the UK’s workforce is employed in outsourcing.

However, it was once the case that outsourcing often divided opinions as the very concept of sub-contracting certain tasks could be considered controversial; perhaps it was regarded by some as a weakness by its very nature, which highlighted a deficit of a certain resource or skill-set that in turn suggested a company could not be entirely self-sufficient.

Thankfully, this outdated way of thinking has largely changed as the BSA‘s statistics illustrate – and with the provision being so widely used to the advantage of many small businesses with great results, white label service providers and contractors are thriving. However, there are still a minority who cannot accept the value of its advantages. This is no different in our industry.

As a whole, business operating within technology sector need to react quickly. We more often than not communicate digitally and as such, are expected to respond to our clients and provide their services at an unforgiving rate of speed, which can be challenging for the best of us.

We are required to provide specialist services at the drop of a hat, highlighting the need to retain a dedicated resource and trusted skill-set, yet this is often comprised of experts who operate solely within specific niche sectors.

The need for businesses to become more agile and cost-effective within a fiercely competitive global market-place has never been more important. Being able to recognise the value that outsourcing provides means that  dedicated specialists become available exactly as and when you need them and only when it suits you!

Across many industries including AV, outsourcing has become the norm. It is a major factor that enables a vital level of flexibility, not least of importance to start-ups but also small and medium-sized companies who cannot afford the overheads of a large team. Outsourcing offers the ability to carefully select professionals yet expand and contract exactly as needed.

Additionally, the process opens up exceptional opportunities for the AV smaller businesses, it allows them to compete with the AV larger companies and often enables them to win contracts that would normally be considered out of reach. The explanation is simply down to the fact they can outsource; by practicing this they can streamline costs into the areas that require certain standards of service and in turn get the client the price they require.
Across many industries including AV, outsourcing has become the norm.
In evaluation the process has many pros. It allows companies to run more efficiently and focus on core skills, providing better quality of service and, most importantly, in good time. 

One example where outsourcing would be an immediate benefit? A start-up headed by a three-man team: a sales person, a programmer and an installer. In such a small team, it would be guaranteed that at least one of these guys are going to have to multitask in order for the job to run smoothly.

At this stage, outsourcing would massively benefit this company since their small scale and limited revenue cannot justify the salary of, for example, a systems designer – yet can quite easily outsource a proportion of the contracted job to a skilled company. This eases pressure from the core team and allows them time to do their job sufficiently, ultimately producing better quality of work. The outsourced design would be constructed by a specialised team both efficiently and in a timely manner to meet the deadline - in turn this also frees up management time to oversee and direct the project, whilst prospecting for the next paying job.

The outsourcing process enables a company to cherry pick the perfect person for the right job, ensuring they have the correct and most relevant industry credentials, and provides a specialised team without having to invest time and money training staff. Well placed skills-matched resource will increase the quality of the job and the speed in which it delivers whilst reducing unnecessary overheads in the process.

‘If you deprive yourself of outsourcing and your competitors do not, you’re putting yourself out of business.’  – Lee Kuan Yew        

Kelly Ashforth is partner in designflow, a London-based AV project management and systems design firm. Awarded in interior design, AutoCAD and 3DsMAX throughout her college and university career, Ashforth gained her CCPD (CEDIA Certified Professional Designer) in 2008 when she joined a successful AV installation firm—becoming a systems designer and one of only two women in Europe with this accreditation at the time. Since then she has freelanced for numerous AV installation companies designing and project managing.

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