Within the logistics and supply chain industries, the key to providing your client with an end to end valuable offering is providing the core value yourself and outsourcing the rest. Finding the right outsource partner is critical to success. Here are seven things you need to consider when choosing a new outsource partner.
1. Culture and values
Choosing the right partner goes beyond capabilities. You have to consider the corporate culture as well. In addition to being able to do the work, the ideal partner should be able do it seamlessly by fitting with your team and with your client’s needs.
When evaluating a new outsourcing partner, it is important to look at their mission or value statements. How do these hold up to your own company’s mission and value statements? Are they well aligned? If they are, move on and explore the company further. If not, walk away. Mission and value statements speak to the core culture of the company, so if you can’t find common ground here, it is unlikely you will be able to build a positive working relationship.
2. Standards and metrics
What standards of quality and delivery does the potential partner employ? Here it is important to look at their metrics and processes. How do these compare with the ones within your company? If they are similar, it is not only likely your systems will be able to work well together, but also likely that the two companies have a similar approach to standards of quality and delivery.
Next, take a look at where the potential partner has made investments. Has the company spent in similar areas to your company? Similar investments show business culture or strategy alignment. If the investments are different, find out why.
4. Financial stability
What is the financial health of the potential partner? You don’t want to enter into a partnership only to find out in a few months that the company is not financial stable. Entering into a partnership with a company that does not have its financial house in order is a costly mistake. Take the time to do your due diligence.
5. Where will you stand?
What will your relationship be? That is, will you be a small fish in a big pond or a big fish in a small pond? When times are good this doesn’t matter, but when there is a customer satisfaction issue, it can mean the difference between client retention or client attrition. It is essential to know where you stand inside your partner’s organizational priorities. If you are comfortable with where you will stand, that’s great. If not, find another partner.
6. Long-term strategy
It is also important to look at the long-term strategy of your company and your potential partner’s company. Does the service they will be providing on your behalf align with their continuing plans? And with your ongoing plans? Continuity and service development is important to your company and to your customers. The potential partner needs to be able to provide the specified service for the foreseeable future and also needs to be able to grow with your company’s strategic needs.
Finally, look to social media. What are others saying about your potential partner in an unfiltered environment? Are people pleased with the service the company provides? Are there any red flags with respect to the company or the service they provide? Social media can help call attention to potential issues.
Also talk with others within the industry – especially people who have worked with the potential partner before. What was their experience? Again, look for red flags.
By following these steps, you’ll be able to better evaluate potential partners and identify partners that are a good fit from both a business and cultural perspective.