In 1990, two business academics, C.K. Prahalad and Gary Hamel, teamed to write one of the Harvard Business Review's most influential articles on the nature of the modern firm and, by extension, outsourcing. They introduced the concept of core competence, which they called the “most powerful way to prevail” in global commerce.
Amid the pandemic, it’s fair to say the outsourced service operating model, particularly in customer service, has experienced forced change. While cost has always been the key driver in services outsourcing, Covid-19 has caused a monumental shift from cost being the critical point, to risk management and quality as the metrics and measures that now matter most. Call centers have had a particularly tough time of things; the actions that many of them have taken have been admirable, but it’s becoming clearer that long-term change has accelerated to the short term.
Cloud-based platforms and globalization have pushed supply chains to new limits and capabilities, creating many new business opportunities for those who can manage the growing complexity.
Outsourcing is becoming a common way companies handle these changes and needs, but it can be confusing, especially when new industry terms crop up with little explanation. So, we're looking at three common logistics outsourcing models to explain what they are and what they can do for your business: the 3PL, 4PL and 5PL.
Outsourcing can improve efficiency while increasing the capacity and resources available to your in-house staff. The choice to outsource core business processes, though, deserves careful consideration. A strategic approach to outsourcing can help your company:
- Eliminate chokepoints
- Fill skill gaps
- Improve process efficiency
- Save money
However, it’s not always obvious which responsibilities you can hand off without disrupting your business operations.