16 October 2007 | Antony Barton
Outsourcing is never a threat to a business but always an opportunity, according to the former director-general of the CBI.
Lord Digby Jones told an audience of lawyers and company directors in London that outsourcing enables businesses to focus on what they do best and excel in that area, without wasting resources on processes that could be performed by someone else. He said: "It's not about people taking other people's jobs - it's about freeing people up to maximise their potential."
Lord Jones, now minister for trade and investment, said manufacturing is having a "fantastic time" in the UK because firms are focusing on how to add value to their products and services, with more general activities, such as back-office functions, increasingly being outsourced.
He added: "Brand it, work it, drive it here. Keep the clever stuff here in the UK where you maximise your margin, and outsource the rest."
He stressed it was important businesses secure the best price but for the value they promise customers. As an example, he recalled the frustration of calling a cab from next to Tower Bridge. "A Mumbai call centre was answering calls from UK customers. That could be a great destroyer of value."