Outsourcing Advice 61

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By: John Sullivan WHETHER A NEWSPAPER should outsource depends on a number of factors, according to Ken Williams, purchasing manager at the Birmingham (Ala.) News.
Speaking at the recent Newspaper Purchasing Management Association meeting in Lancaster, Pa., Williams gave the following reasons for newspapers to outsource: (1) to reduce and control operating costs; (2) to improve company focus; (3) to free resources for other purposes; (4) to gain access to world-class capabilities; and (5) to gain access to resources not available internally.
"One common justification for outsourcing is 'we need to focus on our core business, which is publishing and delivering the best quality newspaper to the readers for both the general public and our advertisers,' " Williams said.
Williams used janitorial and housekeeping services as an example, and explained where a newspaper would begin if it was thinking about outsourcing this area.
Among the considerations would be contracting a consultant and having him or her design the specifications to be used for the request for pricing, the main issues in the specifications (e.g., work
to be performed, cost of wages) and other areas (e.g., health and safety, references).
Some of the outsourcing advantages Williams listed were: cost reduction, headaches (lack of), cost savings to human resources, and quality of employees.
Possible disadvantages: control (lack of direct control), cost increases (management and overhead), and the "human side" (emotional toll of job elimination).
Business consultants were recommended as well as a place to turn to for outsourcing advice. But Williams warned that since consultants always want to sell more consulting, these firms may suggest more changes than a newspaper is financially and structurally ready to take on. A performance guarantee may cover the newspaper in the event that their recommendation was wrong.

?( E&P Web Site: http://www.mediainfo.com)
?(copyaright: Editor & Publisher June 21, 1997)

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