See how international outsourcing works
International outsourcing is a recurring theme for those who deal with international cargo in their daily lives. Despite this, there are many doubts on the subject: after all, how does it work? What are its main features and advantages?
To answer these and other relevant questions, we interviewed Ramires Siqueira Rabelo, who acts as Supply Chain manager at Sunew Filmes Fotovoltaicos S.A. – a company whose goal is to revolutionize the way we generate and consume energy – and has 18 years of experience in the area. Enjoy the content!
What does international outsourcing consist of?
Before making this definition precise, it is necessary to understand the differences between outsourcing and the concept of outsourcing. “To make a company grow continuously and permanently”, explains the expert, “it is necessary to pay attention to innovations in terms of technologies, processes and work methodologies – outsourcing has been increasingly used by organizations to achieve these goals” .
When a company lacks services, people or materials that are not available internally, it is possible to hire an organization to supply such demand. This procedure is called outsourcing, since it uses another company to provide services and provide resources, to carry out activities of a secondary nature. Some examples of outsourcing are cleaning services, property security, equipment maintenance, local transport, etc.
Outsourcing, in turn, is specific, as it is directly linked to the provision of services inherent to the central activity of the contractor. The focus is on generating results in relation to the main objectives of the company.
Because of this, it has a strategic bias, causing an impact on quality, competitiveness and results obtained. It can be exemplified by IT systems and services, financial management, sales and purchasing operations, complex supply chain operations and the like.
Still in this context, it is important to mention two concepts: nearshore and offshore. The services contracted in the nearshore category are located in companies from nearby countries, with similar time zones, languages and cultures. In contrast, the offshore market is linked to contracting services from distant nations – it can be more economical when it comes from developing countries, reducing costs.
“As a result, international outsourcing is associated with these two categories, mainly in services focused on technological solution strategies”, points out Ramires. Among its biggest advantages, it is worth highlighting these points:
- savings in financial resources;
- access to the latest technology;
- integration of management systems;
- data security;
- international economic growth.
How to hire an international outsourcing effectively?
“In order to find good international outsourcing services, the ideal is for the contractor to carry out a robust process of identification, evaluation and approval of its suppliers in order to define which of them will participate in the competition”, recommends Ramires. In the expert’s view, this is one of the main challenges when it comes to hiring companies from other countries.
Once the list of companies that will be quoted for the supply of products / services has been defined, Ramires advises the application of the Strategic Sourcing methodology, which is composed of a structure of good practices in this regard. Check out each of the steps below.
1. Organize the parameters
The first stage can be summarized in organization and planning. This is where the basic purchase parameters are defined, such as the team involved and the cost center responsible for the acquisition.
2. Analyze the categories
The purpose of this step is to analyze the category of services that your company is considering hiring. At this point, the operational process is fully mapped – technical specifications, indicators, prices and so on are raised. Opportunities are assessed and the first meetings are held.
3. Assess the market
After analyzing the categories, it is essential to look at the supplier market with research on the market players and what they can offer for the demand in question. Some factors to consider are:
- alignment between profiles;
- cost structures;
- suppliers’ technologies and practices;
- expenses that a service or equipment can generate in the medium and long term.
4. Develop a supply strategy
With the data obtained in the other stages, benchmarking is performed and the strategic purchasing matrix elaborated. It is essential to take care to avoid mistakes and ensure that purchasing analysts make the best possible use of the information available.
5. Quote products or services
This is the time to make a quote. Much of the process in this step involves requesting proposals, also called RFP (Request for Proposal) – it works like a complex budget and covers several different scenarios.
In the sixth step, the purchasing sector begins to negotiate. Attempts to reach agreement must be formalized and, at the end of the process, all suppliers are evaluated and communicated.
7. Sign agreements
The last part is the time to implement agreements. It is the most bureaucratic and important step in the whole process, when documents and contracts are generated and filed, symbolizing the end of the purchasing process.
What is the future of international outsourcing?
“In recent years, international outsourcing has grown: growth rates vary between 12% and 26% per year since 2014. Proof of this is that, the ISO Technical Committee has developed an international standard for these services, ISO 37500 / 2014, bringing standardization of activities to contractors and providers,” says Ramires. With the strength of globalization, the tendency is for it to increase exponentially year by year, keeping this development up.
“Since 2015, there has been a change in the market and Brazilian companies have been qualifying, investing in innovation and in the training of their professionals. As a result, Brazil has ceased to be a country that only consumes services and has also become a provider / seller market,” highlights Ramires. In the scenario of maritime agency – shipping agency -, for example, this is notorious, since large players, such as Wilson Sons Agência, have attracted the attention of foreign companies.
Finally, international outsourcing can be an important tool in different sectors. Consider hiring in this model to expand your business and achieve the desired goals.
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