Outsourced vendor VS. outsourced partner

Outsourcing has become commonplace in businesses. If you do not have the capacity or resource in-house, then you are likely to look outside of your business for a solution. Whether that is to help you with your finances, your recruitment, you may need consultancy to help change management or operational changes or you’re looking to grow and need help with business development – which is where we help!

The term outsourcing is often used for any external business that you choose to engage with. But there is a very big difference between an outsourced vendor and an outsourced partner.

An outsourced vendor provides a service for an agreed fee. For that fee it is agreed what will be delivered and the vendor will ensure that it is delivered within the agreed timescale, to the agreed spec, for the agreed price. Whereas on the other hand, an outsourced partner will provide a service for an agreed fee, but this will go beyond simple briefing, fulfilment and delivery.

An outsourced partner works with you and has an interest in the company as a whole. A partner is interested in your business goals, objectives, the reasons behind why you are outsourcing and what can really be done to help you fulfil your requirements. You may approach a partner with a requirement and an idea of ‘how you feel it should be fulfilled’. However, a partner is likely to be the expert in what is required (hence why you are approaching them) and by partnering with them they will share their expertise and intelligence to guide your thinking. The right partner will not be motivated by the money they can make from your partnership, instead they will be focused on what they can do to help you grow your business as one team together.

It is very easy to work with an outsourced vendor on a one-off project to fulfil a requirement. However, a partnership is likely to be much more long term. Business culture, values and outlook become more important when establishing a long-term partnership. Working as one team with a like-minded partner will make the whole experience smoother and much more effective.

So, when you are next considering outsourcing a project or business requirement, stop and think. Are you looking for an outsourced partner to deliver more? Sourcing this partner could potentially make a far more positive impact to your business that you may expect.

Opinion piece by Shaun Weston, Account Director, Air Marketing Group. 

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