Updated: Mar 3, 2022
Does Outsourcing Your Work Make Sense?
Can You Spare Your Staff For The Job?
If you are a member of management, a business owner, or a seasoned employee, you probably know your facility better than most. You may even be the person who decides who does what, where they do it, and when they do it. So ask yourself, if you task your maintenance workers with a long, potentially multiple day repair, what happens if something else breaks in the facility? Would you expect maintenance to carry on working on the major repair? Or would you have them break off to fix the new problem?
If you have them break off, then another question to ask yourself is how important or pressing is the job you had them break away from doing? If it is something integral to your operations, can it stand to be down any longer than what was planned? Perhaps the dilemma occurs because both tasks are integral to the operation being productive, though one is more immediate. If you find that you have to keep moving your maintenance crew to put out fires as they come up, that can be indicative of some significant overarching maintenance problems to deal with. Perhaps outsourcing your work, at least some of it, makes sense in that case.
Does Your Staff Have Sufficient Knowledge And Skill?
While your company’s culture may be heavily do-it-yourself, you need to ask yourself if you really know what you’re doing. Regulations and law aside, if you don’t have sufficient knowledge and skill in performing the work, you could cost the company big, as well as putting others at risk needlessly. A good example of this is performing electrical work. Sure, there may be situations allowed by your state that let you perform some internal electrical work. But, if you don’t know what you’re doing, you could cause serious injury in the form of burns, falls, or even death. Additionally, you could destroy a substantial amount of equipment due to improper wiring and installation methods.
On the other hand, the job to be done might be right up the alley of your staff. If that turns out to be the case, there can be substantial cost savings by having that do-it-yourself mentality. Sometimes, the very things that made it advantageous to do business in the area you set up shop can make it difficult to get contracted help anyway. So, having a staff that can handle day to day issues can be an excellent business strategy.
Are You Prepared To Comply?
We just talked a little about whether you have the practical know-how to do the work. But, just because you know how to do it, doesn’t mean you are prepared to do all that the law may require of you. For certain types of work, the state may require being licensed even if only doing the work at your site and not for the public. Some work requires specialized tools and equipment, such as self contained breathing apparatus type respirators or confined space non-entry rescue retrieval systems.
Depending on the specifics, outsourcing the work can be a cost effective way to go in such situations. If after evaluating the frequency that you would need such specialized work, and comparing it to the cost to get your people compliant as well as proficient in it, it can make far more sense to get a contractor that does it all for you.
Can You Handle The Liability?
There’s risk with everything these days it seems. That said, there may be things that you are both allowed to do under existing regulations and know how to do at least moderately well. But just because that may be the case, you still have to consider whether you should do the work yourself. Think of it this way. Do you have sufficient knowledge, resources, connections to deal with any potential fallout coming from work you did that failed in a significant way?
If the answer is either no, or you aren’t sure, then outsourcing your work can be a beneficial course of action. A company that specializes in say industrial hygiene sampling can perform needed testing, providing you reliable data as well as potentially sharing in some of the liability of the work. The same can be said in performing certain kinds of construction activities. Sure, you might know how to pour concrete, but are you confident in your abilities to pour it and set a tall heavy object on it?
As is often the case, you know your job better than most. There can be a lot of moving parts, and even more things to consider. A good place to start is setting yourself up to be able to do most of the frequent things yourself. That can include simple machine maintenance and repair, housekeeping, and use of operations related equipment.
Things that are much bigger in scope, less frequent, or where your knowledge is significantly lacking usually calls for outsourcing your work. You will probably be more prepared for what you have to face on any given day. Things that you don’t face often likely means you aren’t particularly prepared. If it’s so infrequent, does it really make sense to work towards doing it in house?
There’s nothing wrong with realizing that there are things your business is able to to well and things that it needs assistance with. Is that really any different from how people are? Do you currently do everything from growing all of your own food, fixing your own car, building and repairing your home, making furniture… see where I’m going with that? If you are doing all of those things, and more, do you have time for your business? Make sure you have a good strategy for choosing when outsourcing your work makes sense.