Another method to acquire flexibility is by outsourcing some of the processes, such as production processes or customer care processes. In this way the handling of increasing or decreasing capacity needs are left to external companies that, through economies of scale or other attributes, are better suited to cope with these changes. In other words, flexibility is bought.
The processes outsourced may be core or non-core but, evidently, the outsourcing company must have instruments in place to monitor and adjust the performance of the outsourced process, as its disruption can disrupt the performance of the whole company. Outsourcing can be considered an art which can only be learned with experience. One has to learn to deal with partners often situated in other countries with different cultures. Especially in these long-distance relationships it is of vital importance to foster a basis for mutual trust and understanding and bring the outsourced process ‘as close as possible’ to planners and managers at headquarters.
In the military world outsourcing also happens. Sometimes, countries, for reasons of political motives, decide to let others do the fighting and support them with money, weapons and training. For example, from 1980 until late 1990 the USA supported the Nicaraguan anti-communist Contras against the Sandinistas both financially and with arms. Another example is the USA’s supply of sophisticated Stinger anti-aircraft rockets to the Afghan warlords when they where fighting the invading Soviet troops. Later the same weapons were used against the American helicopters when they, in their turn, invaded
The Peninsular Campaign (1808 – 1814)
This campaign was notable for the development of another method of warfare which went largely unnoticed at the time, but would become far more common in the 20th century. That was the aid and encouragement the British gave to the Spanish guerrillas who forced the French to squander most of the assets of their Iberian Army in protecting the army’s line of communications. This was a very cost effective move for the British, because it cost far less to aid Spanish insurgents than it did to equip and pay regular British Army units to engage the same number of French troops.
I wrote more on the subject of Outsourcing. Please visit my site http://www.businessbelt.com or read my book Military Knowledge & Business Strategy which is available at Amazon.com.