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Outsourcing Success – The Stay-Back-Team’s Role

Outsourcing Success – The Stay-Back-Team’s Role

Successful outsourcing doesn’t just mean selecting the right service provider; you also need an effective stay back team in place. The stay back team is the cornerstone of any outsourcing initiative and is an important link between your corporation’s business and the service provider, not only from the onset of the RFP process and ensuing re-organization when the contract is awarded, but also for ongoing management of the services.

The stay back team should be established as early in the process as you can, so the team can be involved from the beginning, giving them the knowledge they need to manage the service provider when they are selected.

This is an important consideration, since an outsourcing initiative includes many steps from the decision to the selection and transition of the successful service provider. For the most part, these steps are sequential, and unless your stay back team has been involved in each step along the way, you will lose the continuity and knowledge necessary to effectively manage the contract and the relationship.

Even so, managing the outsourcing relationship requires flexibility, since not everything can or will be reflected in the contract. The relationships between the service provider and Stay-Back-Team has to be flexible enough to enable changes as the contract progresses.

Role of the stay back team

The role of the stay back team can vary depending on the overall goals of your corporation and the exact nature of the outsourcing initiative, but the core role related to the outsourcing initiative will remain the same – managing and administering the contractual relationship between your corporation and your service provider.

Generally speaking, in any large outsourcing initiative the stay back team performs the following important functions:

  • Asset Management / Strategic Planning.
  • Contract management / administration (including Performance Measurement).
  • Coordinating the linkages between the service provider and the corporation.
  • Other Facility Management functions retained in-house.

When you hire a professional organization to manage your facility functions, it is important to let the service provider do its job. The stay back team should then concentrate on "long term" activities like Asset Management and Strategic Planning, in addition to monitoring the service providers’ performance.

Even if you outsource Asset Management/Strategic Planning activities to the service provider, a member of the stay back team needs to both oversee the activity and interface with the corporation due to the interrelationships between the facilities and the core business.

These new roles may be a fundamental shift for the stay back team members. A typical challenge faced by the stay back team is that the team often used to be the doers, and now they have to change their mindset. This includes ‘letting go’ of the details of how the service is delivered and focussing more on the strategic issues and outcomes that add value to the corporation.

In fulfilling this role, the interaction with the service provider becomes critical, since the service provider in an outsourcing initiative provides a much broader scope of services than with sub-contracting or out-tasking, and includes a larger management component to the service. There must be trust between the service provider and Stay Back Team, since a positive relationship is an important element of a successful outsourcing initiative. The stay back team has an important interface role for the Service provider by:

  • Translating the corporate objectives and goals for the Service provider
  • Aligning the contractual relationship and objectives for the service provider with those of the corporation’s objectives.
  • Defining expectations and priorities
  • Establish short/long term objectives

While the term ‘Partner’ is embraced by some and avoided by others in their Outsourcing initiatives, the fact remains that your service provider will likely be much closer to the internal ‘customer’ than you are, and has a major influence on the success of your corporation’s core business. Partnership (in the non-legal sense) is critical to ensure that the service provider is successful, which will ultimately make your outsourcing initiative successful. The most successful organizations take this approach in managing their outsourcing contract. The best way is to work as a team, searching together for solutions that will fulfill both parties' needs.

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