Tag Archives: business process outsourcing

The best of 2012. All you need to know about outsourcing in one place.

This blog comes with a health warning...

This blog comes with a health warning…


Here we are the last day of 2012 and what a year its been. It only seemed like yesterday that I sat at this very desk and typed my epilogue for 2011.

The beginning of the year heralded great expectations and even the economy looked like it was digging its way out of the hole it had dug itself into.

Sadly it didn’t happen and the UK along with the rest of Europe continues to stay in the quagmire.

The onset of New Years Eve can be a time of reflection as we consider the year that has gone before.

With all the ups and downs of the year you could excuse yourself for feeling a little disillusioned at the prospect of 2013.

New Year's Resolutions?

New Year’s Resolutions?

If you are reading this then I’ve succeeded in holding my audiences’ interest? More importantly we survived the end of the world which was suppose to have occurred on 21st December.

As I stepped on to the plane with my family to travel back from Hamburg on the late afternoon of the 21st, I would be lying if I didn’t experience a little trepidation although its only an hour’s flight back to Luton.

I held my breath as we came into land and the passenger sitting next to me actually “prayed”as he muttered something in german under his breath I couldn’t help but think he knew something we didn’t?

The maya civilisation predicted the end of the world? They didn’t of course. It is the western interpretation of an apocalyptic ending. The maya civilisation predicted that December 21st this year simply marked the start of a new calendar.

“Mayan refers to the indigenous peoples of South-East Mexico, Central America notably Guatelmala. Mayan was actually spoken by the maya people and the maya calendar was used by the mayan civilisation”.

For the Mayan people 21st December represents a joyous event, not an apocalyptic event. What is coming is the end of a calendar and the beginning of a new one.

Are we facing another seismic shift both economically and personally? Isn’t the start of any new year synonymous with change?

Isn’t that indicative of a New Year – new year’s resolutions, a new chapter, new beginnings, changes, planning and a time to be reflective on what we’ve learn’t from the year just past.

Lets reflect on what a great year 2012 has been.

We had the 2012 London Olympic Games to look forward to. The country was at last unified in one common goal and that was achieving olympic success and putting London and the UK firmly on the map. It was sixteen days of amazing sporting finesse and talent exhibited at the greatest show on earth.

Who can forget that one weekend in August! I still get goose bumps thinking about it even now!

Digital Print Management advises and guides companies on the importance of how to go about outsourcing… just about anything so we’ve taken the best of the year’s blogs and stuck them here as a reminder of what were the best and most useful to you our audience and customer and we thank you for reading and contributing.

Round up of the year’s best blogs.

In January we talked about the differences between what is print management and managed print services a simple guide to understanding the differences.

With p60 time looming in April there was a helpful guide on how to go about having hassle free p60 printing

February provided top tips on how to benefit from outsourcing, automate your AR function and how to implement paperless billing in your company.

March saw the launch of our print-2-mail service and how easy it is for companies to manage printing and posting out invoices, statements and practically any customer letter without moving from your desk.

April saw a brief guide on RTI (Real Time Information) and the impact it’s likely to have on businesses in 2013. This is particularly important for payroll managers and business owners.

Paper chasing and outsourcing business processes dominated May’s round up.

June saw us delve into the murky waters of invoice processing and how to automate and streamline the process.

July concentrated on how to save money using hybrid mail and how to reduce print costs in your organisation.

Document Management Systems and strategies, controlling print costs and Invoice Management were the order of the month of August.

September discussed the importance of Accounts Receivable and how to automate payment allocations.

We then provided a guide on how to outsource your debt collection letters and a really important blog about making sure printed information is kept secure.

November – really exciting month firstly because its getting close to Christmas so we in the office start to feel a tad christmassy but we spent some time on payroll outsourcing and my favourite data cleansing and what this means if you do it right.

Wow we are in December, how quickly the year has gone! It is the month of why invoice scanning is so important to the AP process, then there was print management solutions for professional services companies.

Finally if you really wanted something completely different from what you’ve come to expect, we threw caution to the wind.

Working from home use to be such a big deal and now companies actively encourage it what do you think?

Mobile working and how it’s changed our lives.

With so much social media or anti-social media we talked about how great it feels to tune out once in a while and actually read a book. Are you switching off from digital media?

With the business landscape having changed so radically over the last 20+ years I found researching this blog particularly relevant what’s in a business relationship?  Do you feel the same way?

Next to my family I love Formula 1 Motor Racing so I knocked this one out after Sebastian Vettel won his third consecutive world championship. The importance of teamwork and why its integral to any business.

If you’ve got to the bottom of this blog without faltering then a big T-H-A-N-K-Y-O-U for reading, for liking us, following us and connecting with us in 2012.

My final note for the year:

“Success is not final, failure is not fatal. It is the courage to continue that counts” (Winston Churchill)

Happy New Year from all of us at Digital Print Management.

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Happy New Year.

Happy New Year.





Why outsourcing your sales order processing can give you a competitive advantage.!

There are tangible benefits in outsourcing the sales order process.

I’ve paraded the tangible benefits of outsourcing here.

Sales order processing is right up there in the scheme of things when it comes to important business critical processes.

After all, if your sales team are working hard to get new business and sales orders it stands the importance of having an effective order processing system is essential.

Completing and fulfilling customer orders in a timely and efficient manner not only builds a relationship with a new customer and provides security and assurance that you are handling your customers orders with expediency but it also strengthens existing business relationships.

Whether your business is B2B (business to business) or B2C (business to consumer) transactions the processing and delivery of sales orders gives the organisation a competitive advantage.

There is nothing worse than gaining a new client and securing a new sales order only for the internal sale order process to breakdown causing embarrassment and frustration for the sales person who has worked hard to  deliver the order.

The speed in which a company fulfils the order gives any company whatever size a distinct competitive advantage.

Irrespective of whether your company is selling a service or product it is imperative that your customers requests are processed quickly.

This can prove challenging particularly when the volume of orders is difficult to process if you have limited resources as a company and can lead to unnecessary managerial duress being placed on staff, the end result may well be dissatisfied customers due to delays.


With the ever increasing presence of internet businesses, customers have a huge number of potential suppliers to pick and choose from with the potential to offer similar deals and discounts. Therefore the importance of the sales order process cycle cannot be underestimated.

Companies that offer superior customer service, faster order processing and timely delivery will increase their customer base.

One of the main advantages of having an online business is that it continues to function night and day.

With the internet being truly global and in a very competitive business environment, customers have the option to place orders in any time zone and at any time of the day or night.

Providing overnight staff to process orders can be costly but is necessary if you have an internet based business and wish to remain competitive.

Opting for outsourcing this fundamental business process may just be the right cost effective solution.

Outsourcing any manual intensive business process provides companies with added advantages by freeing human resources which would otherwise be engaged in non core activities.

By outsourcing the sales order process gives organisations the opportunity to reorganise and reallocate resources to more efficient and productive channels for growth and expansion.

What are the benefits of outsourcing the sales order process?

  • Extended hours of operation at lower cost by outsourcing an overnight team of staff to process clients enquiries and orders.
  • Expansion of the team and minimal day to day managerial responsibilities ideal for the business start-up that would like to expand their team but have a restricted budget.
  • Organisations won’t have to deal with any HR processes as the outsourcing company handles these.
  • Businesses can divest themselves of having to invest in additional technology, personnel and infrastructure.

The key to success for any organisation is having a long term vision and outsourcing can provide a key component in the success of this vision.

Outsourcing the sales order process can give long term benefits allowing companies to grow and strengthen current business relationships and develop new customers by providing an efficient and timely service with tangible benefits that can be measured against the delivery expectations of the customer in the sales order process.

Your competitive advantage is based on how quickly you can process your customers order!

Next Steps

For more information about how to outsource a specific business process please call us for an informal discussion or fill in the form below and one of our expert advisors will be in touch.

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Outsourcing – The Pros and Cons!

In my last blog I talked about why outsourcing can be good for organisations and the benefits that can be derived from outsourcing.

Outsourcing is not a four letter word (11 to be precise but who is counting)

What is often overlooked or never written about are the disadvantages or pitfalls that companies fall into when considering outsourcing!

It is important to point out that these pitfalls can be avoided if you plan and manage the process. When it does go wrong and believe you me it can, outsourcing is then tarred with a brush such as ‘it doesn’t work’, ‘we tried it, it failed’, ‘it was a disaster, never again’.

If there isn’t a clearly defined set of objectives then don’t be surprised when it fails.

Think of it as inviting a domestic goddess into your house to help with your cleaning, if you don’t give her clear instructions on what it is specifically you want doing she will most likely assume what you think you need and both of you then wonder why you are disappointed with the results.

The concerns about outsourcing anything from your payroll printing to a whole department are based on trust and whether the incumbent supplier will deliver the intended outcomes.

It’s pyschological! Outsourcing 

Considerations are “does the cost outweigh any benefit after all, you could/should be doing it!”

A compelling argument but imagine the time you gain by finding the right partner to manage the outsourcing process for you? TIME is money and if a part of the business process or function is broken then in reality it’s probably costing the business a whole lot more!

Its true that businesses are wary of outsourcing and recent figures from research conducted by the National Outsourcing Association revealed that “80% of the general public do not believe that outsourcing helps the British economy, with only 19% believing that outsourcing can help get the UK out of recession.

An alarming 22% of people dislike the process of outsourcing despite us paying £21 billion in income tax every year.

Perceptions of outsourcing centre on cost-cutting, job losses and offshoring and onshore outsourcing.

There is huge concern for the organisation that is handing over a primary business process(es) and/or functions to a third party perpetuating the myth you feel out of control of the process and bereft of what is going on.

The purpose of outsourcing is to allow the proper use of internal resources. For example if you are printing and fulfilling orders in house, your employees are doing busy work not business. Imagine how the business focus would change when it has more time to think up new ideas, invest in creativity freeing up employees for more meaningful mission driven work all of which help fuel those ideas to fruition.

But what do organisations concern themselves with when they think of outsourcing?

These challenges tend to centre on:-

  • service levels not meeting expectations
  • data integrity and confidentiality worries
  • the contract being too inflexible to allow for change in growth patterns of the company
  • management changes at the outsource company creating friction and uncertainty
  • the outsourcing company going out of business or changing/discontinuing the provision of the services originally hired for
  • failure to provide the necessary resource in your company to manage the success of the outsourced business process
  • can the process be shared by 2-3 partners rather than giving it to one supplier

When considering outsourcing it is always worth having a contingency plan should a problem arise for example could you bring it back in-house for a short period, do you have an alternate service vendor? This is a double-edged sword because outsourcing by its very nature assumes that the company you choose to partner with will never give you cause for worry.

However, outsourcing should include extensive research, selection and recruitment of the right provider for your proposed business function. But things do happen, events intervene, companies change management, companies get bought out, companies go bust!

Unforeseen problems can arise when “force majeure” intervenes or you have not planned and managed the process as outlined here!

How do you avoid the pitfalls!

Let me start by saying “outsourcing is about creating a successful partnership” much like a marriage as I have previously alluded. In 90% of failed outsourcing processes this was the fundamental component missing! (Based on DPM statistics) It is no good you choosing to make a commercial decision to outsource a component and handing it lock stock and barrel with no active involvement or development of the relationship.

Regular communication is pivotal to any business relationship, an example of that is marriage if you don’t communicate it can quickly break down leading to misunderstandings and mistrust!

How do you find the right partner/supplier?

Ask yourself the following:

  • Does the service provider have a track record of service?
  • How does it manage service levels and expectations?
  • Is the business expanding?
  • How good are the service level agreements it provides?
  • How will the relationship be managed?
  • Will there will an account manager?
  • Who are the providers existing customers?
  • What are the strengths and weaknesses of the provider?
  • How do they manage problems?
  • Visit each supplier and ask questions about the processes
  • How secure are their IT systems? Is data integrity (if relevant) conform to UK standards i.e. Data Protection, ISO 27001
  • Can they demonstrate good quality assurance management systems?
  • Are they financially stable? How long have they been trading? (Don’t be mesmerised by the scale of the turnover its more important they have a proven track record in delivery)
  • Ask the service provider if they plan to subcontract the work out and carry out the same checks
  • Do they really know and understand their industry sector?


Question your assumptions about outsourcing, this can be a good thing for the business and the employees it also means you are thinking through the process logically. Trusting someone else to manage the process doesn’t mean you have to let staff go it is simply a matter of redistributing human resources.

You can do all the necessary checking, set up a tender process and visit the select few. But there is nothing like good old fashioned gut instinct if it feels right it probably is.

Don’t be afraid to ask if you can trial the service for 1-3 months to get the “experience” (subject to type of business function) although there may be some initial setting up/running charges for the trial it’s worth asking for. If the service is of high value over a long period you may even be able to trial the process free before you make your final decision!

One more thing, whether the value of the process you are outsourcing is £5K or £50,000,000 the above steps still apply!

What do you think? Can you share an outsourcing story that went horribly wrong or was it the best thing you ever did?


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Outsourcing Business Processes. Why outsource?

A necessary business evil or not?

The term outsourcing immediately conjures up a feeling of fear, creates a sense of foreboding and there tends to be a general misconception that it will lead to redundancies. Factor in a lack of awareness or understanding of the benefits that can actually be derived from outsouricng a particular business function or process of your organisation and you can understand why people pale in front of you when the “O” word is mentioned.

There are 12 good reasons why a company might like to consider outsourcing here!

As companies expand in size and in operations, management must become more focussed on core business activities and consider whether non essential, non core business activities can be outsourced to vendors who can provide the specialisation lacking in-house.

What is outsourcing?

Outsourcing some of your business processes can save you time and money!

Outsourcing some of your business processes can save you time and money! 

Outsourcing business processes is when you contract out a business function either a task, role or process to a third party over a substantial period of time.  The outsource provider ostensibly takes control of the function and becomes responsible for managing its effectiveness and ultimately its success.

Outsourcing has become synonymous with large enterprises who offshore manufacturing or call centre operations to remote providers based in China or India.

This is not a viable option for the SME or for organisations wanting to outsource maybe one or two business processes. An effective and cost saving option is to consider “nearshoring” the process by which a company outsources to a local service provider (when I say local I am referring to a UK based provider)

Outsourcing core business processes may save you money, note I suggest the word may. The success of the process and its overall effectiveness must be clearly defined and managed and there are some guidelines to consider here!

An outsourcing partner can give you flexibility and the help you need to manage growth this is offset with the benefits you derive by offering your business access to outside expertise and technologies without having to make massive investments in infrastructure change and maintenance. Outsourcing can be scaled to suit the changing needs of your business.

Why outsource?

If you have found yourself asking the:-

  • are my resources being used effectively?
  • are my current resources capable of supporting new technology?
  • is there a better and more efficient way of handling our processes?
  • do the employees have the operational expertise to manage the tasks internally?
  • what is this all really costing the business?

Then the benefits of outsourcing can be great.

Capital for start ups is limited and outsourcing some of your business processes can ensure you know exactly what your on-going monthly costs will be allowing you to allocate much needed funds to the development of the business.

Consider these points:-


  1. Will outsourcing allow my business to focus on its strengths?
  2. Will it improve efficiency of the business?
  3. Will your business gain a competitive advantage?
  4. Will it save me money?

How will outsourcing help me?

Firstly it will focus you and the business on what the company specialises in providing it’s customers, here I mean the core business function, whether it’s making hats and shoes or screws and plugs. You wont be distracted into unproductive and non-profit making business activities.

Internal resources will be re-directed and re-focussed into core business activity.

Migration to new technologies without you having to make investment internally reduces the risk of bad purchasing, minimum downtime and productivity ensuring that a move to newer technologies is minimal.

In any outsourcing partnership risk is further reduced because the outsource partner will have disaster recovery and back up mechanisms in place providing a rapid response to any problem that besets your company.

Points to consider

Think through what you need and how the company will benefit!

  • What process(es) are you thinking of outsourcing and why?
  • Weigh the costs of doing it in-house VS outsourcing
  • Consider a consultant to help you set up a service provider
  • Consider what the on-going costs would be if you don’t outsource it
  • Are you prepared to invest in the time and management of the outsourcing relationship?
  • Do you have realistic expectations?
  • Are you outsourcing a key function which you really should keep in-house?
  • Finally weigh up the risks of outsourcing VS managing the process in-house!

Whatever your decision, outsourcing or keeping the process in-house, you will need to consider the cost implications and the longer term impact on your business.

One final thing.

To reap true, tangible cost savings the process must be carefully managed and monitored. In other words the relationship must be built on trust, knowledge, security and ultimately become a partnership! Much like a marriage!

What do you think?

Have you outsourced a component of your business?

How successful was it?

Would you do it again?

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For more information about how to outsource click here

6 great tips on why SME's should outsource!


I ‘m a strong advocate of the benefits that can be enjoyed by outsourcing a component of your business whether its print, payroll, billing I.T or customer services to the outsourcing of a complete department of an organisation as long as it’s a strategic fit for the company and there is utmost transparency in the way an organisation manages the process.

Traditionally when people think of outsourcing they associate it with big corporations who have the infrastructure and the resource to benefit from a large scale re-deployment of one of their business components.

But this is not the only way that outsourcing can be used effectively. Small to medium businesses can use outsourcing to their advantage. Sections 382 and 465 of the Companies Act 2006 define an SME that has a turnover of not more than £6.5 million, a balance sheet of not more than £3.26 million and 50 employees; a medium sized company with a turnover of not more than £25.9 million, a balance sheet of £12.9 million and 250 employees.

I’ve talked about the benefits of outsourcing in the past with particular reference to payroll and billing here!

The same principles can be levied for any business component you are considering.

why its good to outsource

6 great tips on why companies should outsource

Here are 6 things to consider when outsourcing:

  1. What business aspects are you struggling with? Where can your company outsource to make cost savings and streamline the organisation processes for example it might be marketing, web design, payroll printing, invoice processing/printing. All of which are important to a company but are time consuming and manually intensive.
  2. Outsource as much as you can but not the core elements of your business after all that was the main reason the business was established unless it’s some manufacturing element that you are considering.
  3. Dont be afraid to use the same company for many different things the more services that an outsource provider does for your business in relation to outsourcing the more you are likely to see volume savings. In the same way you see in the supermarket buy two get the second for free. If you are looking to automate your accounts systems such as AR/AP or outsource your invoice processing/printing make sure the provider can manage the distribution element for example you may print, mail and electronically send your invoices so make sure that the company you choose can manage this process for you and more importantly they know what they are talking about and can demonstrate success criteria.
  4. Investigate the market place and evaluate who you think best accommodates your requirements. Don’t think short term, think medium term at least otherwise if you get it wrong it might be painful to get of and you may well end up by repeating the exercise again six months down the road.
  5. Don’t be swayed by the cheapest option or choose on price alone if you do you will shoot yourself in the foot. There isn’t such a thing as a free lunch! When you see something cheap what’s the first thing that springs to mind “what’s wrong with it?” or “that sounds cheap”! “What does everyone hope for but rarely gets? A great deal?” You get what you pay for and often a company that offers a service cheaply is trying to win your business with a view to a serious price hike three months later or they haven’t understood your requirements. In which case you will find yourself in trouble and the cheaper service could have a detrimental effect on your business. Can you afford for that to happen?
  6. Finally, know what area or business function of the business do you want to outsource? Why do you want to outsource? Be realistic about your expectations. Set a time limit to achieve your objective and most importantly work with a company that has the expertise and knowledge and can offer sound, impartial advice!
Digital Print Management are leading advisors in the outsourcing process. We are committed to ensuring our customers get the right solutions for their business which in turn results in cost and efficiency gains.

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Outsourcing Print Services. How To Manage the Process of Outsourcing Print?


Man worrying about print outsourcing


How to manage the process of outsourcing print?

Outsourcing whether it is printing, payroll printing or invoice processing, or outsourcing an entire department is about how a company manages the entire process of a particular business function that is or has become a costly, inefficient and time-consuming process to manage in-house.

A truer definition of what is now commonly referred to as BPO (Business Process Outsourcing) is the contracting of a specific task such as payroll or billing to a third party provider (referred to as back office outsourcing) BPO is often implemented as a cost saving measure for tasks that a company requires but is now finding onerous and time consuming to manage in-house.

It’s hardly rocket science but nonetheless companies particularly the SME scratch their heads and ponder whether its worth considering because outsourcing any process has connotations such as “It’ll surely end up costing more, you don’t really save money, please don’t tell me its all about non core business” and one our favourites, “I don’t have time!”

There are inherent risks associated with print outsourcing for example “

Outsourcing Print. How to manage the process of outsourcing print?

Outsourcing Print. How to manage the process of outsourcing print?

Who or what company do you choose to manage this process?

How do you find a print management company to facilitate the implementation?

And here’s the real kicker, after you’ve done the research, irrespective of the companies’ on your selection list; and the various case studies of the customers they supply which reads something along the lines of the top 10 of the Fortune 500;  you may choose to do a credit check to ensure that the balance sheet looks healthy, after all, you don’t want to be going through this pain again in another year. Site visits are a must to ensure service provision.

You will, and I am assuming at this juncture, have eliminated a number of wannabee’s; end up with list of say 2 maybe 3 potential print suppliers that you believe understand your future requirements and are actually listening to you not selling what they think you should have!

Will you be able to entrust the chosen one, “the print management company” with managing the process for you?

The answer is Yes, you can!

When you decide to outsource a business function the risk can be minimised by ensuring you select the right partner and I use this term because it has to be a relationship, one that works two ways, it’s not an association; nor is it just the company we happen to use to do our billing, payroll or whatever print function you are outsourcing, it must be a relationship designed to aid your business which translates onto your bottom line.

So how do you achieve this?

Having a strategy that involves the relevant departments employees and company owners. It’s the people involved in the processes who know what the drawbacks or the inefficiencies are in the department currently.

A check list should include some of the following:-

What process/processes are you considering outsourcing?

What selection process/mechanism are you going to use to find such a company?

Who is going to be responsible for managing this task of selection?

What criteria of selection should be used to disseminate the good from the bad?

Please don’t make this solely size of turnover or accreditation driven; there are just as many small and large print management companies doing just a good and bad job of providing services to the end user. If after an initial discussion a potential print supplier can satisfactorily demonstrate quality policy and procedures that are integral to you don’t rule them out!

How do I evaluate the service provisions on offer? This might be what are you asking the incumbent supplier to do for you?

What will my decision making criteria be based upon? We urge caution here as a decision should never be price driven in our experience this has always been to the detriment of the company seeking to outsource and you will end up by shooting yourself in the foot.

Partnering with a company who does it “cheaply” implies that they don’t  have the infrastructure to follow through which means they won’t or can’t deliver what you really want or have asked for!

Finally has a budget been set for the process OR what cost savings might we be looking to achieve?

How many companies over the years have  we visited who don’t know what it costs to process, print and send documents out of the building in which they reside or know what their print spend truly is?

Determining from the outset why you want to outsource will drive your strategy, will empower company owners and employees to see tangible benefits which will ultimately translate into cost reduction and improved cash retention for the business.

Requesting a print audit is the first step along this dusty path, it will cost you nothing and will give you a good indication as to how you manage your print spend.

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