Procurement’s View of Outsourcing (Part 1)

This is the first of a series around the topic of “outsourcing”. I’m coming from a procurement and procurement professional’s perspective of course, but I should stress that we are not looking purely at the outsourcing of procurement services. This is intended to be relevant for all outsourcing activities.

I put “outsourcing” in quotes in that that first mention because the definition of outsourcing has caused problems over the years and indeed even real experts struggle to tie it down at times.

For instance, if the organisation has never actually carried out a service internally, can we talk about outsourcing? Early in my career, I ran the contracting exercise and then the delivery phase as my company “outsourced” the manufacture of chocolate Easter Eggs. We talked about outsourcing the production – but in fact, we had never made those products in our own factory. So arguably, we were buying contract manufacturing services; yet it felt like outsourcing and we talked about it in that manner.

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