top of page

Impact of outsourcing on a business

Business Studies Notes and

Related Essays


 A Level/AS Level/O Level

Your Burning Questions Answered!

Critically evaluate the potential benefits and risks of outsourcing for a business.

Discuss the ethical implications of outsourcing, including the impact on employees and the local economy.

Analyze the role of technology in the outsourcing process and its implications for business strategy.

Assess the impact of outsourcing on the global market and supply chain.

Explore the key factors that determine the success or failure of outsourcing initiatives.

Outsourcing: Moving Work to Other Experts

Imagine you're making a pizza. You might be great at making the dough and sauce, but maybe you're not so good at making the crust perfectly thin. You could struggle to make a great pizza, or you could outsource the crust-making to a specialist bakery. This is the basic idea behind outsourcing in business.

1. What is Outsourcing?

Outsourcing happens when a company chooses to hire another company (often in a different country) to do a specific job or task that they'd usually do themselves. Instead of employing their own people to do things like accounting, customer service, or software development, they pay another company to handle it.

2. Why Do Businesses Outsource?

There are several reasons why businesses choose to outsource:

  • Cost Savings: Often, labor costs are cheaper in other countries. This is a big driver for many businesses as they can save money on wages and benefits. Think of call centers for big companies; many are located in countries with lower wages like India or the Philippines.
  • Expertise: Sometimes a business needs specialized skills that they don't have in-house. Instead of hiring and training new staff, they can outsource to companies with the specific expertise they need. Think of website design or complex software programming.
  • Focus on Core Business: By outsourcing certain tasks, companies can focus on their core competencies – the things they do best. This allows them to be more efficient and grow their business.
  • Flexibility: Outsourcing can help businesses adapt to changes quickly. If a company needs to scale up or down in a short time, they can adjust their outsourcing contracts accordingly. This is especially helpful for seasonal businesses or those experiencing rapid growth.

3. Impact of Outsourcing on Business

Outsourcing has a significant impact on businesses, both positive and negative:

Positive Impacts:

  • Reduced Costs: This is the most significant advantage. Lower wages and operational costs can lead to increased profitability for the company.
  • Improved Efficiency: Outsourcing can free up internal resources, allowing companies to focus on core business activities.
  • Access to Expertise: Companies can tap into specialist skills they wouldn't have access to otherwise.
  • Increased Flexibility: Outsourcing allows companies to adjust their operations quickly to meet changing demands.

Negative Impacts:

  • Loss of Control: Outsourcing can lead to a loss of direct control over the work being done. Communication and quality issues can arise.
  • Security Risks: Sharing sensitive data with external companies can pose security risks. This is especially important for businesses dealing with confidential information like customer data.
  • Job Losses: Outsourcing can lead to job losses in the country where the business is based. This can have a negative impact on local economies.
  • Cultural Differences: Working with companies in different countries can lead to cultural misunderstandings and communication challenges.

4. Real-World Examples

  • Apple: Apple outsources the manufacturing of its iPhones to companies like Foxconn in China, where labor costs are lower.
  • Amazon: Amazon outsources its customer service operations to call centers in India and the Philippines.
  • Zappos: The online shoe retailer outsources its warehousing and logistics to third-party providers.

5. Conclusion

Outsourcing can be a powerful tool for businesses, offering numerous advantages like cost savings and access to expertise. However, it's essential to weigh the potential risks and carefully consider the impact on the company and its workforce before making a decision.

bottom of page