The UK has a productivity problem. We’re lagging well behind our European neighbours and have been for decades. One of the reasons? Advocates of the tired theory of taking the ‘path of least resistance,’ discourage businesses from trying anything new when a tried way of doing something is available.
2018 is not the first time our industry has come under fire. It’s had a colourful history from tales of cost-cutting to ethical arguments around driving labour arbitrage. Outsourcing has often been misunderstood and the whole industry blamed when things go wrong. But with the recent, spectacular collapse of Carillion we are seeing a renewed attack from certain corners in relation to the “failure of outsourcing.” A grand, sweeping statement, but is there any truth in it?
In a recent 4C poll* of 227 UK retail procurement executives, 89% responded that they either had no plan in place or were unaware that their company had a plan in place. What should you consider now so that you’re prepared for the March 2019 Brexit deadline?
Mark Pollack (MP): Jamie, tell our readers about yourself and your role within the organization.
Jamie Ogilvie-Smals (JOS): GEP is the largest provider of unified procurement solutions in the world, combining strategic consulting, managed procurement services and cloud-based procurement software. We have a rapidly-expanding, blue-chip client base of Fortune 500 and Global 2000 companies in Europe, Asia and the Americas.
What has been the single most significant development to impact your profession or area of business during your career, and why?
In the past, compliance risk was a top-of-mind issue among select industries: regulators appeared to have banking and financial services, along with energy and extractives, under a constant microscope. But as supply chains expanded across oceans and continents, and countries legislated regulations to address bribery and corruption, terrorist financing and human trafficking, compliance risk grew for all types of organisations. Now the pressure is on you.
In its campaign against the UK's continued membership of the European Union, 'Vote Leave' claimed that EU procurement rules, which govern the purchase of goods and services by public sector bodies, cost UK taxpayers £1.6bn a year. It also claimed that 1.9 million days a year are lost to red tape delays.
Is it likely or possible that the UK can save this money and time cost by changing the public procurement rules after Brexit?
As Brexit slowly begins to become a reality, there are worrying signs that British businesses are cancelling vital data protection reforms - in the mistaken hope that rules will change once the UK has left Europe.
The 'gig economy’ is a term that is hard to avoid nowadays. But what is it exactly and what does it mean for the outsourcing professional?
There always seems to be plenty of commentary around what’s driving innovation and growth in both large enterprises and startups. By comparison, the mid-market seems slightly neglected; this seems an oversight given the crucial role it plays in the UK economy. Although this market segment represents just 1% of UK firms, medium-sized businesses are increasing revenues by an average of 6.7% each year and the mid-market is expected to boost the economy by 18% over the next five years.
Recently I attended the Brexit & Global Expansion Summit in London, an event that brought together politicians, businesses and investors for discussions on the investment implications of Britain’s tectonic decision to leave the EU.
One of the sectors we discussed in depth was offshoring and outsourcing. No one has a crystal ball, but what is clear is that Brexit has challenged so many fundamental economic assumptions about the value proposition for a British business operating a customer service centre in the UK.
Open data – that is, publically available data that is free for all to use – is set to have a monumental impact on societies in the next five years. Whether it’s information regarding public transport, city policy or city infrastructures, open data enables public sector bodies, businesses and citizens to make more informed decisions about the things that really matter in their society.
I visited Cape Town and Durban recently as a guest of BPESA (Business Process Enabling South Africa) and attended the South Africa BPM Summit 2016. The summit featured local business leaders, industry influencers, and politicians eager to create jobs in South Africa by riding the wave of business process outsourcing (BPO).
Experts agree it’s too soon to say what the mid-term effects of Brexit are going to be on the UK and European economy. Despite early signs of business and consumer confidence shrugging off doubts, we can surely all agree that we’re about to go into a period of major, structural change for the UK and the rest of Europe - which suggests the best response strategy business leaders can have is maximum flexibility.
One of the key arguments that really defined the Brexit referendum in the UK was migration. British voters supported an exit from the European Union largely because they wanted more control over their borders. Those arguing for Brexit say that they are not trying to end migration entirely, just they want to ensure that the people who enter the UK have the right skills. Nobody should be able to enter just because they were also born in Europe.