If you are like me at the very mention of the word outsourcing, the first thought that pops into your head is companies diluting or cutting their workforce. Or maybe it is of public bodies handing over control to private enterprises. Outsourcing for many reasons is a bitter word depending on where you are in business. For many, it conjures up negative images of a leadership team making cost-based decisions which could mean redundancies, relocation, or it could mean higher productivity and improved efficiencies.
Is outsourcing a luxury?
For many years outsourcing has been practised by companies as a form of contracting to domestic and foreign quarters. When part or all of a business move to another country, we call it offshoring. Outsourcing has many benefits, but also many challenges and like any form of contracting needs to be managed appropriately. So understandably very few people think of outsourcing as a luxury.
But I do. In the context described above, you would be right to disregard outsourcing as a luxury. But on a personal level, I would argue that it is. Why well perhaps the best way to explain is to illustrate with an example.
The other day while returning from walking our dog, I stopped to talk to my neighbour who was on his driveway with his head under his car bonnet. Inevitably the conversation moved on to cars and car repairs. He explained how he was looking forward to finishing in the next half hour. He had spent an undisclosed amount of time during his afternoon swapping his now-defunct car alternator for a new one. By contrast, I explained that earlier that day, I had taken my car to the garage and had to return without it while it was under investigation and hopefully repair.
My neighbour gave a lengthy account of how he had discovered the problem with his alternator on a cold weekday morning. He was pleased because of his aircraft servicing background and history with fixing cars that he was able to save money and do the repairs himself. Which I thought was great until he said the downside of doing this is that it had cost him his time that afternoon.
The moment he said this, I immediately thought of the contrast between us, while I lack the expertise and perhaps, more importantly, the motivation to do car repairs myself. I remember thinking that we are entirely at the other end of the spectrum when it comes to matters like this.
You see, my money had afforded me the time to do something else. Now, this is not meant to be a brag or reflection of our different circumstances but rather an observation of the choices we make. There is no right or wrong, but it strikes me as a conundrum, assuming you have the capability and motivation which do you choose.
Do you spend your money or your time?
As I say there is no right or wrong and I guess it is a question best solved by understanding what do you value the most and are most comfortable with. For me it is my time, I realise that with more time I can do more of the things I love and enjoy and perhaps be more productive. In return, the time I save enables me to make more money to be able to afford decisions like this. On the other hand, if you are skilled and have the time, you can save money and take pride in doing something yourself. That real money you saved could be put to good use to buy the things you love.
So you see it is a problem, what do you value the most. Do you have the luxury to make a choice or is that choice made for you through lack of skill, motivation or money?
If given a choice, what would you choose?