For companies, outsourcing is a good way to focus on their core business, cost-efficiency, reducing risk and flexibly managing capacity. Also, for outsourced personnel, well-managed outsourcing can turn into the opportunity of a lifetime.
Meeting after meeting, long phone calls and thousands of e-mails – that is what outsourcing projects are like. These very intense and long projects usually last from one to three years, but after all the work, they are all worth it, ensures Ralf Petell, Sales Director, Citec Group. “When an outsourcing project is on, it truly is on for 24 hours a day. We are here to help our outsourcing partners with their questions and needs. Citec has more than 15 years of experience from handling over 20 outsourcing cases of various sizes. Since 2000, outsourcing has been an important part of Citec’s operations, and today it can be described as one of our core competences,” Petell explains.
From the experiences of customers who have partnered with and outsourced their operations to Citec, Petell and his colleagues have discovered the main reasons for companies to outsource: Functions that are not seen as part of a company’s core business, for example technical documentation, can very well be outsourced to a company such as Citec specialising in this area. On the engineering side, customers often outsource operations to achieve improved flexibility, higher competence and to manage risks better. However, different reasons occur and every case is unique.
Generally, outsourcing offers focus, agility and cost-effectiveness to companies, but needs to be executed by a reliable partner. “It is all about trust on both sides of the deal. To begin with, Citec’s strength is its wide competence and product portfolio. In addition, we work cost-effectively and offer competence and personnel from our global delivery organisation. We invest a lot in the business relationship with our partner customer and therefore an absolute majority cooperate with us for many, many years,” Petell says.
He also reminds, that the aim is always to make Citec an attractive opportunity for the new employees. “Sometimes employees have a hard time understanding the need for outsourcing. They might feel threatened and undervalued by their own company, even when the case is usually quite the opposite. It is extremely important to make sure that such feelings do not arise. Our Outotec case is a good example of a successful outsourcing project, where the personnel transfer was particularly successfully executed,” Petell says.
At the turn of the year 2017/2018, a lot was going on at Outotec. This global leader in minerals and metals processing technology had decided to outsource a part of its German-based project engineering activities to Citec. Even though the complex process took its time, after six months’ preparations all the paperwork was done, and the outsourcing became effective. In April 2018, 59 Outotec employees were relocated to Citec. Nicoleta Lerscht was one of them. “To be honest, I was not too happy about the big news at first – nor was anyone else in my team. I understood that by outsourcing part of its engineering activities, Outotec could create more flexibility into the organisation, increase cost-effectiveness and create new business opportunities. It was just a lot to handle personally, and I remember we were all a bit shocked about the situation,” Lerscht looks back.
Lerscht agrees with Petell that, to succeed in outsourcing, the process requires more than just technical know-how and project management skills. Human resource management is an integral part of all outsourcing cases and should never be forgotten. “The employees are the ones who have to adapt to the new situation and who act as a link between the companies. Therefore, communication and different types of help are particularly important. I think Citec took care of this situation with honour,” Lerscht says.
Citec proved to be the insourcing experts they claim to be, and I am pleased to see how well things turned out in the end.
When the transfer finally happened, both Lerscht and her entire outsourced Outotec team adapted well to Citec. “Citec proved to be the insourcing experts they claim to be, and I am pleased to see how well things turned out in the end,” says Lerscht, whose personal career also has taken a leap in the process. Today she works as Director of Technical Documentation in the Engineering Delivery Centre and also acts as Head of Technical Documentation at Citec’s Oberursel office in Germany. “Now looking back, being outsourced from Outotec was a good thing for our whole team. I strongly believe that well-managed outsourcing is a great possibility, but only if all three parties – both the companies and the employees – are willing to work with a positive attitude and dare to take the chance. When doing so, outsourcing truly is a win-win situation for everyone.”
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