Increasingly, companies are buying in from outside certain services and functions that would previously have been fulfilled by an internal department or employees. Companies no longer just outsource support functions, but also outsource critical areas of production or design. It lets companies focus on those activities where they have real competitive edge, and is increasingly being seen as an attractive alternative to downsizing or cost-cutting.
Durcan and Oates provide a wide-ranging expert overview of outsourcing, aimed at managers and decision-makers who want to understand fully all the issues involved. How do companies define core and non-core activities? How do you find the best provider of an outsourced function? What are the pitfalls to avoid? How do you monitor the service provider? What is the impact on issues such as corporate security and confidentiality? The authors also consider how outsourcing is redefining the nature of corporations: if companies have minimal physical existence, but exist as a network of relationships and contracts, when should we speak of the 'virtual organisation'?