17 February 2005 | Cara Whitehouse
Britain is western Europe's most enthusiastic outsourcer, according to the 14th annual UPS Europe Business Monitor.
Thirty-two per cent of British firms said they had moved some operations abroad to cut costs.
This is 8 per cent above the average for the report, which also surveyed firms in France, Germany, Spain, Italy, Netherlands and Belgium.
A further 9 per cent of British companies are considering looking overseas for better deals, the report found. 9 0 /edit/manual_pics/outsourcing_graph.gif 0 0 0 false false false false
However, the survey suggested the rate of outsourcing is set to slow.
Currently, IT and data processing activities are the most likely functions to be outsourced by British businesses, followed by manufacturing, which ranked highest among most other surveyed nations.
The report confirmed China as the most popular European outsourcing destination with 26 per cent of respondents operating there.
But India is the most popular location for UK companies, with 34 per cent of respondents already there and a further 5 per cent considering the move.
This year was the first time the survey of 1,449 directors included a question on outsourcing. It also found 66 per cent of European companies are not interested in moving core parts of their business abroad to reduce costs.
A spokesman for UPS said this could suggest that the trend for outsourcing is slowing down.
"Contrary to media reports, the survey results suggest outsourcing is a waning trend," he said. "A significant number of companies are not even considering it, while those who see its advantages have done it already."
The study also revealed that UK businesses are more aware of supply-chain issues, with 47 per cent admitting they face problems of accurately forecasting demand (see News
, 6 January).