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Entrepreneurship / Business

Outsourcing

In my previous post, I mentioned that it will be interesting to see what happens next…

                                                                                   … and here we come.

A trade fair at a wonderful location coming, excellent marketing and selling opportunity. The only thing missing was the finished products. They were a week late from the manufacturer, but on their way, already dispatched.

They arrived two days before the trade fair and manufactured in a manner that does not reach the standards we want to provide to our customers. We discussed what to do and decided stick with what CUFF’D stands for. The troubling results of this decision were that we have nothing to sell and we will have to inform everyone on the waiting list, that waiting will be longer. The spirit in the team was very low, especially before complaining at the manufacturer. We were afraid they won’t acknowledge their failure. It was tough thinking about the worst case scenarios that included lawyers.

Fortunately, our manufacturer was very helpful, Hanna excelled once again in presenting our case in a very diplomatic way. Our complaints were acknowledged, we were able to take some samples to show the new colours at the fair and all of CUFF’Ds will be repaired (actually they will be manufactured again) to optimal standards acceptable by our company and customers. The situation was resolved by the best possible way and we were happy that the manufacturer treated our small company with the same respect as their other customers. The fact that our customers have to wait a bit more to “get cuff’d” is not a positive, on the other hand, selling a product with inferior quality would not satisfy their expectations and hopefully they will forgive us when they receive their top quality CUFF’Ds.

This situation made me think about control of the processes within business. It might not be feasible to do everything by yourself in the company and usually you want to outsource some activities to people, who can do them better or who can do them while you cannot. Outsourcing can help your business, but at the same time you give up part of your activities and should be aware that things might go wrong and you might not know till it is too late. You just loose control of the processes. So… get ready.

In case anything goes wrong, written and signed contracts and agreement help while resolving any mess and looking for how to avoid similar problems in future. In Czech Republic, we have a saying “order makes friends” and I completely agree with it. If you set up transparent, clear relationship and communication patterns with your partners, it will form a good framework to deal with all the challenges that might come in future. (Ah, does that refer to teamwork again? 🙂 )

It is not possible to avoid all possible problems in future. Anticipating what can get wrong and making pre-cautions minimizes the likelihood of materializing of the problems and it also facilitates the dealing with the problem that happened. Investing a little bit more time in the first stages of setting up the relationship with the partners makes the future cooperation much easier in future and I believe it is worth the effort. Also a resolved problem can contribute to positively to the relationship. Thinking about situation in our company, I know exactly how much effort Hanna put in preparing for the outsourcing creating documents and production procedures to be followed in order to avoid any mishaps. There wasn’t anything more we could do, at least anything I could think of. Sometimes bad things happen, not everything can be controlled. The important thing is how you will resolve the situation, learn from it. Just don’t give up!

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Discussion

One thought on “Outsourcing

  1. Yeah that really is a thing to consider: Outsourcing vs. Buying the machines and doing them yourself- or hiring people to do them. The second is only feasible if you have a large enough quantity to ensure regular manufacturing for a long time. Quality control is a serious issue for any company.

    Posted by Maha | March 31, 2012, 13:08

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