Outsourcing in the New Year
With the New Year upon us, many companies are now looking at their business processes in order to assess what they can change in 2012. With companies continuing to struggle amidst a challenging economic climate, many are likely to dramatically change how their company operates this year, with outsourcing likely to become the preserve of many businesses attempting to rationalize their cost base.
Last year was a record year for companies operating in the outsourcing sector, with a huge number of businesses looking into the concept in an attempt to cut fixed costs and become more flexible. With the ability to drastically reduce fixed overheads whilst maintaining business operations without interruption and providing access to skilled staff, outsourcing has been a lifesaver for many in 2011, which is why the new year is likely to bring a further uplift in demand for outsourcing services; not only in the UK, but overseas too.
In a recent survey conducted by dictate2us, a dictation and transcription service, it was found that 62 percent of companies plan to outsource administrative jobs this year to cut the costs of overheads.
“Many of the administrative tasks typically undertaken by secretaries are necessary but incredibly time consuming,” Chief Executive of dictate2us, Daryl Leigh said. “For that reason, it’s important that business owners look objectively at their organization to question whether outmoded methods of operation are still relevant.”
It is thought that the increased interest companies have in relation to outsourcing is due to the many small business that continue to struggle to find employees with the necessary skills. Research carried out by the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) found that 27 percent of startup companies struggle to find qualified and skilled staff.
Outsourcing was also a hot topic in the news last year, and this trend appears to continuing in 2012. In one article in particular, published in the Daily Mail, John Neilson, Managing Director of NHS Shared Business Services, has urged the NHS to outsource more of its call centers to India, to further cut costs; a predicted saving of £20 billion by 2014.
With articles such as these featuring in various different publications on a daily basis, it is no wonder that more companies are wanting to know what is to be gained through outsourcing, with there being more of a demand for outsourcing companies than there has ever been before.
One outsourcing website in particular that has reaped the benefits of the increase in outsourcing is OutsourceMyProject. With over £1 million worth of projects posted onto the site in 2011, the business is looking forward to what 2012 brings.
“Over the course of last year we witnessed a drastic increase in the number of small and SME companies looking to outsource their business functions to professional and freelance experts,” Loren Holland, Managing Director of OutsourceMyProject said. “Smaller businesses are now waking up to outsourcing, which historically has been viewed as the preserve of only large organizations. The principal benefits of outsourcing are twofold; cutting down fixed cost overheads and accessing skilled services which may not be available in-house.”
Edited by Kevin Scarpati
Pandora and IBM digitise jewellery supply chain
Pandora has overhauled its global supply chain in partnership with IBM amid an ecommerce sales boom for its hand-finished jewellery.
The company found international success offering customisable charm bracelets and other personalised jewellery though its chain of bricks and mortar retail destinations. But in 2020, as the COVID-19 outbreak forced physical stores to close, Pandora strengthened its omnichannel operations and doubled online sales.
A focus on customer experience included deploying IBM’s Sterling Order Management, increasing supply chain resiliency and safeguarding against disruption across the global value chain.
Pandora leverages IBM Sterling Order Management as the backbone it its omnichannel fulfilment, with Salesforce Commerce Cloud powering its ecommerce. Greater automation across its channels has boosted the jeweller’s sustainability credentials, IBM said, streamlining processes for more efficient delivery. It has also given in-store staff and virtual customer service representatives superior end-to-end visibility to better meet consumer needs.
Jim Cruickshank, VP of Digital Development & Retail Technology, Pandora, said the digital transformation journey has brought “digital and store technology closer together and closer to the customer”, highlighting how important the customer journey remains, even during unprecedented disruption.
"Our mission is about creating a personal experience and we've instituted massive platform changes with IBM Sterling and Salesforce to enable new digital-first capabilities that are much more individualised, localised and connected across channels and markets,” he added.
Pandora’s pivot to digital
The pandemic forced the doors closed at most of Pandora’s 2,700 retail locations. To remain competitive, it pivoted to online retail. Virtual queuing for stores and virtual product trials via augmented reality (AR) technology went someway to emulating the in-store experience and retail theatre that is the brand’s hallmark. Meanwhile digital investments in supply chain efficiency was central to delivering on consumer demand.
“Consumer behaviour has significantly shifted and will continue to evolve with businesses needing to quickly adapt to new preferences and needs,” said Kareem Yusuf, General Manager, AI Applications and Blockchain, IBM. “To address this shift, leading retailers like Pandora rely on innovation to increase their business agility by enabling and scaling sustainable supply chain operations using AI and cloud.”
Yusuf said Pandora’s success was indicative of how to remain competitive by “finding new ways to create differentiated customer experiences that protect their enterprises from disruptions to help mitigate risk and accelerate growth”.