Strategic Outsourcing How & When To Apply

Only a few businesses can function independently. Instead, companies should form strategic business partnerships with contractors and suppliers. The core reason for these strategic partnerships is cost savings; however, such strategic outsourcing allows a business to function effectively and efficiently. 

Strategic outsourcing and the volume of companies that outsource                             The functional areas where companies outsource.


Although a business can benefit from outsourcing, knowing when and how to do so can be difficult for some. Some might not understand what outsourcing entails.

Briefly, there are two types of outsourcing. First, all daily operations are outsourced, and second, strategic outsourcing is used.

Outsourcing is not limited to large firms such as Apple, but smaller businesses can also benefit from this strategic business process. For instance, smaller businesses would outsource their printing needs to a printing company. 

What Is Strategic Outsourcing? 

Strategic outsourcing means getting help from outside experts to do essential tasks for your business. These tasks might be things like customer service or making products. When you use strategic outsourcing, you pick tasks that are important for your business to do well. Then, you find the best experts to help with those tasks. It’s like having exceptional teammates who are good at specific jobs. Moreover, a strategic partnership is formed, and Apple is an example of strategic outsourcing. 

Apple designs its products but outsources the supply and assembly operations chain to Taiwan-based Foxconn (Hon Hai Precision Industry Co., LTD). Foxconn has manufacturing sites around the world. However, 60% of all iPhones are manufactured at their Suzhou manufacturing site.

How Does Strategic Outsourcing Differ from Other Forms of Outsourcing? 

Strategic outsourcing differs from other kinds because it focuses on critical parts of your business. With strategic outsourcing, you’re not just getting help with any old task. You’re choosing tasks that are super important for your business to succeed. Also, you work closely with the outsourcing partner to ensure they understand your goals and needs well. This way, they can do the job exactly how you want it. Strategic outsourcing is all about picking the right tasks and finding the best people to help you do them.


Offshoring is part of outsourcing. The difference is that work or tasks are contracted to people living overseas. Virtual assistants are people located abroad who work remotely from their home office. A virtual assistant is a consultant and not a company employee.

Strategy outsourcing and outsourcing types

Time to Think About Outsourcing 

All projects, including business process tasks not completed by onsite staff but given to third parties, are a form of outsourcing. The business manager should include strategic outsourcing in the business plans. This article examines factors around the best time to initiate the outsourcing process.

What to Outsource?

The key is to identify repetitive tasks and consider which tasks are critical rather than not. A business might produce a special kitchen cleaner but lack a good distribution network. The competition has its in-house delivery service. A strategic benefit is outsourcing the part of the business that is letting the company down. This will prove more efficient. The products will also be delivered on time, as with your competitor. However, not only will this benefit the products. Commodity tasks are ideally suited for outsourcing. For example, outsourcing services such as a call center can help the company leverage the economics of scale. The benefit would be that customer service could be enhanced.

When is the Best Time to Outsource? 

Calculate cost vs time. The goal of outsourcing is to reduce costs while increasing productivity. You must have a solid standard operating procedure (SOP) in place. Within the boundaries of an SOP, consider that they can be outsourced to increase productivity and flexibility. Then, think about which are long-term projects and which are short-term projects. Virtual assistants can be used for short-term projects to add skills needed to complete a project. By contrast, hiring a virtual assistant for long-term projects might be less needed. The needs of the onsite team working on long-term projects must also be considered. Mini-projects may also need to be completed during the long-term project. Additional resources are required. This is where a virtual assistant can be helpful.

Outsourcing can be helpful for one-time projects, such as designing a new website or producing graphic design work. However, the business might not have the skills, and hiring a full-time employee may not be an option. The company can remain agile while onboarding the needed skills.

Take Steps to Outsource

The benefits of outsourcing are well known. You will see when you are ready to outsource. At this stage, you should use outsourcing as a strategic tool. The best tip is to outsource one task at a time. This can be a service task or an area of your business needing urgent help. It would help if you made it work before outsourcing the following business tasks and processes to a service provider.

You must also consider the language or skills required for your business. Then, approach your outsourcing service, which will source great talent based on those needs. If native English speakers are essential, you will not source candidates from Brazil. Kenya would not be a good option for programs. Candidates from the Balkans would be a better choice. Correctly applied, outsourcing enables the business to streamline its operations. Also, with outsourcing, the industry can strategically use resources and time to grow the business more rapidly. Think of outsourcing strategically to an outsourcing partner and gain the benefits of successful outsourcing. 

virtual assistant is part of strategic outsourcing

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the benefits of strategic outsourcing?

It's a win-win scenario in many ways. By outsourcing non-core functions, you can expect lower costs: eliminate the need to recruit, train, and manage dedicated staff for those tasks. You gain access to specialized skills and expertise unavailable in-house, leading to enhanced quality and efficiency. It allows you to refocus your energy and resources on core competencies, driving innovation and growth. Additionally, outsourcing offers flexibility to adapt to changing market demands without significant investments and enables faster scaling by leveraging the provider's existing infrastructure and capabilities.

What are the potential risks of strategic outsourcing?

While advantageous, outsourcing also comes with potential downsides. You might lose control over some operations, requiring trust and effective communication with the vendor. Quality issues can arise if you choose the wrong partner or fail to define clear standards. Communication challenges and cultural differences can hinder collaboration, especially when outsourcing internationally. Security concerns regarding sensitive data require stringent measures. Overdependence on the vendor can become a risk if they underperform or your contract terms are weak.

How do I know if strategic outsourcing is right for my business?

It's a strategic decision requiring careful evaluation. Consider your core competencies: what are the activities essential for your unique value proposition? Analyze your budget: can you afford the initial investment and ongoing costs of outsourcing? Think about your scalability needs: are you looking for short-term support or a long-term partnership for future growth? Finally, assess the complexity of the task: is it clearly defined, measurable, and manageable by an external party?

What are the most commonly outsourced functions?

Many business functions can be effectively outsourced, depending on your specific needs. Popular choices include IT services, network management, software development, and cybersecurity. Outsourced specialists can efficiently handle customer service tasks like online chat support and call centers. Accounting and payroll functions can be streamlined through outsourcing, offering expertise and cost savings. Human resources tasks like recruitment, onboarding, and benefits administration can benefit from external expertise. Marketing and creative services such as content creation, social media management, and graphic design are commonly outsourced for specialized skills and cost-effectiveness. Logistics and supply chain management can be optimized through partnerships with experienced providers.

How do I identify what to outsource?

Start by analyzing your value chain: map out all activities involved in delivering your product or service. Identify areas with lower strategic importance, repetitive tasks, or functions requiring specialized skills unavailable in-house. Evaluate each potential candidate for outsourcing based on benefits: potential cost savings, efficiency gains, and quality improvements. Don't forget to consider the risks: possible loss of control, quality concerns, and communication challenges.

What are the different types of outsourcing models?

The best model depends on your needs and preferences. Onshore outsourcing keeps the provider within your country but may not offer significant cost savings. Nearshore outsourcing partners with a provider in a neighboring country, often offering similar time zones and cultural similarities. Offshore outsourcing leverages providers in distant locations, often offering substantial cost reductions but requiring careful management of communication and cultural differences. Co-sourcing involves collaboration with a vendor where both parties share resources and responsibilities. Captive offshoring involves setting up your own dedicated team in another country, offering more control but higher investment.

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