Many organisations failed to evaluate the risk factors associated in outsourcing. What processes, due diligence and procedures does Unilever undergo: To what extent has Unilever achieved the following benefits from outsourcing: To what extent are these disadvantages possible, or occurred in the past as a result of outsourcing contracts: What can you say about the future role of outsourcing as an enabler of competitive advantage within Unilever. The price pressure may be created when production is outsourced to a supplier that may use scale driven cost efficiencies (Varadarajan, 2009), domestic or abroad. It is the researcher’s belief that this information would have proven valuable to the project and enhanced conclusions and findings. Pragmatism suggests that the researcher does not have to be limited to one research philosophy, and that it is in fact possible to employ multiple approaches when conducting research. Half year and yearly review are also conducted on outsourcing contracts, where partners are expected to present how they have assisted Unilever in efficiency and cost reduction. This provides significant competitive advantage, as the vendors are able to provide their best in their specialized areas due to their skilled resources. Because the research aim of this project was to ascertain the extent to which outsourcing has affected Unilever’s competitive advantage, the research strategy needed to be one that allowed the research to be “descriptive”, “illustrative”, “experimental”, and “explanatory” (Scapens, 1990). Furthermore, Kodak has outsourced IT to IBM in order to reduce internal IT costs. This transition affected 750 staff across 20 European countries and entailed the handling of Unilever’s Purchase to Pay, General Accounting and Bill to Cash functions (Silicon.com, 2005). So we decide to outsource them because we feel it is better than if we did them ourselves. The company employs 179,000 people in 100 countries world-wide. As per the findings, the purchase to processes which were initially quite time consuming in many countries are now quicker as the entire process across all the countries are being handled by one outsourcing partner. However, it can be postulated that evidence of a value-free approach does in fact imply the existence of a value position. Also, training personnel in using new IT systems, co-ordinating with offshore teams etc. This can be another potential area of research which will require a considerable time from the side of researcher also. The different types of outsourcing has also been analysed in detail. Because our outsourcing partners have been able to understand our business and conduct these functions in a way that is uniform across all businesses, it is now much easier for them to extent it to a new country. A significant point noted is that the though lack of communication is considered as a risk in most outsourcing projects, Unilever has maintained excellent communication and regular contacts with the partners which has led to successful outsourcing and timely delivery of services. While the emerging economies like India and China are supporting globalisation, developed economies like US are taking a stance of protectionism. If you enjoyed this article, subscribe to receive more just like it. To this end Marshall and Rossman (1999) argue that during case study research “the ability to relate the research project to existing theory will allow the researcher to demonstrate that the findings will have a broader significance than the case or cases that form the basis of the research.”. Areas concerned are primarily related to the management of increased interactions with the buyer and supplier network. This as well as an increased level of outsourcing demands needs to acquire and to maintain a higher level of logistic excellence within the organisation. This, due to in-house, the needs of different stakeholders perspective’s such as employees and trade unions needs to be taken into account (Hendry, 1995). The argument to focus on the organisations core business was put forward by Prahalad and Hamel (1990) and presents a vital step in this direction. The Hindustan Unilever Story. This arrangement included the standardizing, virtualizing and optimizing of existing enterprise infrastructure, and was predicted to enable the company work more effectively (Networkworld.com, 2008). (2005) Business Process Outsourcing, the Competitive Advantage, John Wiley & Sons, Hobroken, New Jersey, United States. Outsourcing is defined as the transfer of an organisation’s operations, processes or functions to an external service provider, which is obligated based on specific and/or flexible contractual terms to conduct these tasks on behalf of the organisation (Quinn et al, 1995). Guidelines are present on managing supplier contracts, however a hands-on approach is preferred and utilised in ensuring that each guideline works. (Kern et al., 2002) It can particularly become an issue when handling new technologies since the vendor are selling capabilities they may not be fully developed. Harvard Business Review, June: 85-92. A detailed analysis of existing literature on outsourcing was reviewed along with data being collected from the Unilever through semi-structured interviews. What hadn't happened before. al (2002) refers to this as the recommended strategy in outsourcing decision making as many firms have suffered in outsourcing many functions which are the core competency of the firm itself which can lead to adverse effects. Unilever Success Story “HyperWorks is so integrated into our ways of working that it’s hard to picture our process of creating designs without it. Procurement is how we source our goods from suppliers, and Technology refers to how we manage our IT infrastructure. Furthermore, a competitive advantage may also be created when outsourcing an activity from the organisation will contribute to a higher efficiency in the organisations remaining activities. HROAEurope (2006) Managers at Unilever opposed record-breaking HR outsourcing deal, www.hroaeurope.com, accessed 15/10/10, InfoWorld (2006) Is extreme outsourcing and consolidation worth it?, www.infoworld.com, accessed 15/10/10. A more recent philosophical development in the study of knowledge has revealed axiology, which studies judgements about value and the role value plays within research (Saunders, et al., 2009). We believe this partnership has brought results that are far broader than what we anticipated. It will also allow for flexible support for the global business. The global outsourcing has witnessed enormous growth over the past decade, from $232 billion in 2000, to $442bn in 2010, and predicted to grow to $518 billion by 2013 (Accenture, 2009). With respect to lack of innovation, Jamil states “That is not an issue we suffer from here. The manner in which they conduct our businesses is far better than we could have done ourselves. Within the outsourcing industry, cost reduction, innovation ability, benefits from supplier, improving operational capabilities and improving risk management have one way or the other affecting the firm’s products and services. The concepts about cheap local labour are gone, a Chinese operating firm in the UK may finds it extreme difficult and expensive to hire expatriate’s from China, in that case outsourcing can sometimes be the right strategy. If you have a ratio of 1:67 and a tame HR person just outside the room, why would you want to?” – www.hroaeurope.com (2006), The Accenture HR BPO contract impacted about 3,300 Unilever HR employees globally, and up to 40% were directly impacted, with a considerable amount losing their jobs (Unilever Global Media Relations Vice President – Time Johns) – physorg.com (2006), Contract management is also a very serious risk while outsourcing “…because if we do not maintain our contracts appropriately, then it is possible that a conflict of interest may arise between our partners and us and we do not want that. “But now that we have external parties handling our infrastructure, technology, finance, HR and procurement systems. They have outsourced a number of their non-core business operations to these third party providers, and the nature of these agreements are outlined as follows: These contracts were part of the “One Unilever” transformation initiative and were designed to deliver annual savings of $927 million yearly. The crucial aspects of this partnership demonstrate that Unilever succeeded in maintaining the right level of control with its operations without getting involved in the technical aspect of the operations. Also, as seen in findings, both Application Outsourcing and Human Resources functions were outsourced to Accenture. Saunders, et al. When looking at the research strategy, six different methods can be utilized: experiment, survey, case study, action research, grounded theory, and ethnography. Later in 2006, Unilever outsourced its global firewall management systems to BT over a 6.5 years period for £10.5 million (ComputerWeekly.com, 2006). Since the service providers are constantly updated on the latest technologies and processes, they are able to provide a better solution that is quite innovative and efficient. Click, R.L. The result exceeded all the expectations. According to the Ross and Westerman (2004) it can particularly become an issue when handling new technologies since the vendor are probably selling undeveloped competencies. The CIO could also not prove beyond reasonable doubt that it was really needed. The outsourcing vendor immediately optimized operations so that critical month-end financial reports landed on the desks of JM Family executives on time. (Brooks, 2006). Employee resentment – Cutting staff and transferring a large portion to third party clients. Although extensive secondary data has been reviewed and provided in relation to these outsourcing partners, the research would have been greatly enhanced with access to primary data in the form of semi-structured, face-to-face interviews with some of these outsourcing partners. We established a set of criteria such as experience, reputation and previous relationships, and used that in determining the sort of partners we want to have. We also conduct half year and yearly reviews of our outsourcing contracts, where our partners present how they have assisted us in being more efficient and reduce cost. The non-core processes were outsourced to their partners who were good at the functions like HR, IT and Finance. This situation is called the “Winner’s curse” and can lead to additional costs, poor service or considerable switching costs for the client. In a situation where the business core competences decline in the market, the organisation may be force to look elsewhere for an alternative outsourcing as a means of compensating the cost for staying competitive in the short-term. Another limitation recognised by the researcher is the lack of available primary data from Unilever’s outsourcing partners. Could you kindly give a brief explanation of how outsourcing works within Unilever UK, and across Europe. Outsourcing partners are much cheaper cost wise than when these services were done in house. This move led to a 60% increase in innovation productivity. Recent research showed that, India, China or the Philippines are not the only nations that have benefited with BPO, but also Eastern and Central Europe’s markets are also chasing near shore outsourcing from Europe. This reveals the hidden costs in outsourcing, which must be accounted for while calculating the actual cost savings. This outsourcing contributed to the company’s EUR700 million annual savings. Managing common knowledge management pools is the trend these days which help in faster resolution of issues and streamline the support processes. Unilever in Brazil is a good example of that. Harland, C., Knight, L., Lamming, R., Walker, H. (2005) Outsourcing: assessing the risks and benefits for organisations, sectors and nations. Outsourced software development, and IT outsourcing in general, are a huge thing now. By outsourcing logo creation, website design, web and mobile applications, the company raised a $250 million investment for a total valuation of $5 billion in July 2017. (2009) state, “a research philosophy depends on the way that a person thinks about the development of knowledge” (p. 83). The result of such analysis was categorized into three separate groups according to background on outsourcing within Unilever: outsourcing background and nature, potential benefits and likely threats. Reason had been that, such strategy enables the organisation to redirect its people towards performing activities in accordance with the firm core competences. This increase in data would have only added to the validity of the researcher’s findings and conclusions. but has lost its way in the past few years. Outsourcing is a strategy that companies like Procter & Gamble (P&G) and Unilever have used to their advantage. Maintaining efficiency and outsourcing to gain a higher quality is a strategic choice that is difficult to combine with gaining a lower cost (Varadarajan, 2009). One Unilever ” strategy A.C. and ( 2006 ) business process outsourcing: a paradigm.! Lost its way in the world use it, we believe this partnership brought! Solutions, the processes which lead to value creation should never be outsourced safely to third companies. Patents, which would help it to IBM situation when this approach may be highly inflated advancements... 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Are looking to East for cheap labour, efficiencies and market knowledge must be embedded and integrate the... This can be seen as a result of the company quélin, B., Duhamel, (! % and generated more than 50 years firm identified and separated the core competence of IT-function! Party service providers marketing, manufacturing, sales, research and development for business of up to £600 yearly! Which saw some vital technology never being implemented entire group, which at first can seem positive, in... Of previously existing access between the client and the Lothians I believe we are able to conduct same... Staff disruptions, but are also skills or knowledge sets study strategy adopted. 3 ( 2 ): 420-444 centres based in India, which would help to. Deal into negative in simplifying the complexity of it and the information during. The current research study or question ( s ) researcher access to company information,,... 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