Three quarters of buyers innovate by outsourcing

Will Green is news editor of Supply Management
10 December 2014

More than three quarters of buyers have achieved business innovation through outsourcing, according to a survey.

The study, conducted by consulting and banchmarking firm Aecus, also found more than eight in 10 believed their current outsourcing suppliers “actively encourage innovation and ideas”.

The survey, of 100 UK outsourcing buyers, found two thirds had incentives “built into their outsourced operations to encourage and reward innovation”, 58 per cent believed their own company now had a “culture of innovation”, and almost half regularly met their supplier to discuss innovation.

Paul Morrison, head of outsourcing innovation at Aecus, said: “Aecus defines innovation as creating value by doing things differently. With tight budgets and new technologies offering up new ways of working, keeping buyers happy with the level of innovation they get from outsourcing has typically been a major challenge.

“However today, relationships between outsourcing buyers and suppliers are providing considerable grounds for optimism. Not only are leaders aware of the types of innovation actively being pursued by outsourcers, but they can see how these partnerships are already having an impact on business outcomes.”

Despite the results, buyers still felt they had some way to go before reaching their aspirations, with 80 per cent wanting digitisation in outsourced operations, but only 35 per cent having achieved it.

Almost half of respondents had already implemented “multi-channel engagement” while a third were “likely to do so” over the next 12 months. More than two-fifths planned to implement robotic automation in the next three years or beyond.

Morrison said: “At its root, innovation is the result of creating and executing a well-designed process, and consistently nurturing this over time. It is a reassuring sign that organisations understand how accessible these changes really are.”

Survey respondents came from a range of industries including financial services, manufacturing, health and life sciences and professional services.

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