Selecting your Outsourced Service Provider

 

There is an old adage; “No one ever got fired for hiring IBM”. (I have heard this logic extended to contracting the Big 4 Accounting firms.)  There is logic in expecting desirable outcomes when engaging big international conglomerates to fulfill your service needs. The large organizations have multiple and varied resources that can readily fulfill the outsourced service needs of nearly any customer.

 

But, at what cost? At what service level? Larger organizations require a hefty pricing structure that will cover their considerable overhead and significant salaries. When you hire “the Big Guys”, who is the person who will finally deliver your contracted service solutions? Will it be a trusted sage, or a recent college graduate who is still wet behind the ears?

 

If I am a small to mid-size organization; a service provider with comparable size, business values, pricing / delivery structure is often the most appropriate selection.  

 

When selecting and Outsourced Service Provider, a conscientious search should be deployed. The goal is to identify an experienced service provider with accomplishments that can be verified, while confirming that the provided service will realize the desired value for the fee. In other words, you need to confirm that the service provider can deliver what they promise and can deliver the desired “Bang for the Buck”.

 

But how do you identify potential service providers, so that they can be properly vetted? The Yellow Pages or public media may seem like a good place to start your search. However, the organizations who advertise heavily tend to have the need to replace the customers who they could not retain. The most effective way to identify potential service providers is by questioning trusted members of your network. Utilizing your network to identify potential service providers through endorsements, allows you to move along their learning curve. You get the opportunity to take advantage of their search process. Learn where they stubbed their toe during the journey. Understand what in the evaluation and vetting process worked, while learning what they would have done differently.

 

However strong the endorsement, there remains the need to fully consider multiple potential service providers. Once the list a considered service providers are pared down to “The Final List”, a thorough evaluation of each candidate providers’ credentials, prior customer experiences, price / service structure and applicable insurance coverage.

 

After the search and thorough vetting is complete, there needs to be a meeting with the selected service provider and there needs to be an understanding of the Service Delivery Time Line. After the contract has been signed, monitoring the expected timing of service delivery milestones will be the only way to manage the completion of the provided service.  

Ernie Russom is the Executive Director of the Executive Search and Staffing Firm The Westview Associates. The Westview Associates fulfills Accounting, Finance and Administrative Support staffing needs within the Greater Philadelphia Area. Ernie can be contacted at erussom@thewestviewassociates.com

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