Finding the right outsourcing partner can be a confusing task for any executive. There are many suppliers out there in the market and many will be offering, what seem to be, similar services. There is also an endless line of expert consultants waiting to help advise you. But do you really need to spend all that cash on consulting hours when the steps to finding a great partner can be clearly summarised?
In my mind, there are five key steps you need to take when considering which partner to work with:
- Request for information
- Site visits and further exploration
- Request for proposal
- Contract award
That sounds simple, just five steps. So let’s look at each step in turn:
1. Request for information
This is your initial statement of the project. You create an outline of what is required from a partner and you invite any suitable supplier organisation to submit a bid saying that they are interested in the project.
2. Site Visits
Select the most impressive bids and visit the sites to see how the companies work with their employees and existing projects. It should also be possible to speak to reference clients at this point. If the supplier cannot suggest a satisfied client who would be willing to speak then that should ring an immediate alarm bell. At this point it is important to learn more about employee engagement. This is critical for any supplier involved in delivering customer service as it is impossible to deliver a great customer experience without an engaged team. Look out for industry awards and other measures that show how the supplier stands out from the crowd: the IAOP Global Outsourcing awards for example.
3. Request for proposal
You should shortlist 3 to 4 companies after visiting them and speaking with their team and the reference clients; ask these companies for their RFP. This is a more detailed proposal that should detail cost, staffing, and metrics—everything required to create an ongoing service contract.
The final comparison between the most impressive companies, based on a set of criteria that reflects what you want to achieve from the contract, therefore if flexibility and access to expertise outweighs cost you can rate this as more valuable when making your final comparison.
5. Contract award
The final choice and the start of the transition to your new supplier.
Selecting a partner can be a long and detailed process, but advice from industry analysts, such as Frost & Sullivan, HfS Research, or Ryan Strategic Advisory can also help. These organisations travel the world examining supplier organisations in detail and creating impartial research that helps executives make decisions on who to partner with.
If you have any questions about how to start out on a supplier selection process please feel free to leave a comment here or get in touch directly via my LinkedIn.