To keep in-house or outsource: How does your organisation procure your support services?
A company/business is an 'organisation', so defined because it's an organised set of constituent parts that form/co-operate/function together to perform the intended core/primary tasks which are the reason for the business in the first place.
By the nature of the fact that the company/business is an organisation, whether it's directly or indirectly, it will need several support services which are essentially further away from its core activities, to actually function. Some typical examples of the more obvious ones of the organisation might be office cleaning, utility maintenance or perhaps even IT services and as a good test of the level of criticality of related function of these services to the core activities, you can more or less ask yourself, what happens if, for example, we don't do any cleaning, or maintain any utilities, or work on the IT systems?
Doing some sort of test, albeit in this example a rather simplified one soon highlights that it's pretty obvious which of these, we'll call them 'non-core’ activities, are really on the periphery of the business activity, rather than in the centre.
Deciding on whether you structure or re-structure the organisation and choose an in-house support function or an externally sourced (contract) service is sometimes missing the point and leads to making a decision on what you want, rather than what's actually best for the business. So what I mean is, it's about the function itself and how it actually works and contributes that's important. Sounds obvious, well in our experience it's not.
In our opinion, sometimes you need the 'people' who actually perform the function of supporting others on site to actually be located locally and available there, rather than in another location or country, otherwise 'core activity' levels suffer.
Working with clients in our capacity as a design engineering and development external resource, allows us to both observe how these other functions work within the client organisation, as well as us having lots of experience in how to effectively integrate our capability into the client organisation, whether that's either located internally, (i.e. sitting in the client’s office on most days) or working remotely at either our office or workshop.