Should the 6th Top Reason to Strategically Outsource be reason #1? What would Einstein say? He knew time is of the essence!
The 6th most popular reason for outsourcing an aspect of the manufacturing process is to Accelerate the Time to implementation. When an opportunity to improve an aspect of your manufacturing process presents itself, time is of the essence. That step change improvement compounds its impact on the facility as the benefit builds over time. An “out-of-the-box best practices solution” quickly implemented, vs the time required for a trial and error incremental improvement can have a dramatic short and even more dramatic long term impact on a facility. Companies looking to maximize profit and stay ahead of their competition, see outsourcing as a strategic way to quickly implement positive change.
I don’t think that anyone would argue that we are in a race, a race to stay ahead of our competition in a world where the only constant is change. In fact the rate of change has dramatically increased as well. In this 4 minute explainer video, Peter Diamandis talks about the 6 exponential technologies that are dramatically changing how the world works and its impact on our future. Check it out.
It illustrates how our drive to improve and get better needs to be a relentless pursuit, as new technologies, new competitors and new approaches will continue to disrupt the old way of doing things.
Manufacturers have to be World Class at so many different aspects of their Total Business Process, its impossible to be leading the way in every category. In fact what makes World Class Companies world class, is being able to objectively recognize the aspects of their business where there is a gap, a limiting process, that is hurting overall productivity. And then making the judgment of whether that task needs to be tweaked or completely re-built using internal resources, or whether in the interest of speed, focus and/or expertise, that function should be outsourced to a specialist. Its those judgments and their impact, that is widening the gap between companies leading their category vs trailing it.
It’s interesting to see the current debate that exists between what’s required to nurture a culture of innovation within a manufacturing environment vs a Lean-6-sigma culture that encourages sustainable, incremental improvement/waste minimization over time. The truth is there should be no debate at all, every company needs a healthy dose of both. Existing processes need to keep getting better, more robust with less waste, however with technology changing exponentially, the most efficient process can get obsoleted overnight by an innovative competitor. Therefore the relentless pursuit of innovation needs to exist as well. Its a tough balancing act that requires shrewd leadership.
To me, strategic outsourcing offers an opportunity, a chance to bring innovative, step change improvement into a facility, while supporting the data driven decision making necessary to keep improving the process and reducing waste over time. An essential piece of every CEO’s plan, strategic outsourcing is a chance to maximize profits while dramatically increasing the odds of being able to keep up with the changing landscape.
Recognizing those opportunities however can be the toughest part of any leaders job, and its why we designed our World Class Performance Audit, a process we use to assess current state to determine if there are opportunities to deliver a step change improvement over current state. I am always amazed at the diversity we see in any plant we visit, where core aspects can be beautifully managed, while other processes that lie outside of there focus are quietly stealing resources and negatively impacting productivity and the bottom line.