Insourcing is a business arrangement in which a project that was previously outsourced to a third party is instead carried out by an implanted onsite team.
This flexible model involves embedding new personnel, operations and processes into an organisation with a clear set of specific deliverables to achieve. It can also involve training and upskilling existing employees to perform tasks that would otherwise require outsourcing.
By enabling tasks to be performed within an organisation’s existing operational infrastructure and giving your company full control, insourcing is an astute, strategic solution for STEM businesses.
Insourcing vs outsourcing: what are the differences?
While insourcing refers to utilising the expertise of an implanted team — one which is fully integrated into the existing workforce but from a HR and headcount perspective is managed externally — outsourcing refers to the engagement of an external team or individual to complete a task, project or business process.
Weighing up the options
As globalisation gathers steam and workforces become increasingly blended, forward-thinking organisations are looking to alternative talent solutions to meet their business needs.
Ultimately, deciding whether to opt for traditional solutions, an outsourced supplier or an insourced model is horses for courses. It all depends on your business goals and your expectations for the particular project you require additional personnel for.
Outsourcing has certainly been the go-to solution at the start of the 21st century — according to 2019 YouGov data, 7 in 10 UK businesses claimed to outsource to third parties.
But with the Fourth Industrial Revolution driving sweeping technological change and COVID disruption turning accepted workforce orthodoxy on its head, HR leaders are being forced to rethink their approach to talent and consider bringing core functions back in-house.
In the post-COVID world, ensuring supply chain robustness and resilience will be more critical than ever — particularly in the life-science industry.
Because outsourcing involves ceding control of a project or business function to a third party and is often a costly undertaking, it also carries an element of risk that fewer businesses are willing to take. And with the rise in automated work processes facilitating a near-term anxiety over the use of outsourcing solutions, insourcing is increasingly looking the most cost-effective and future-proofed workforce solution. Here's why.
The benefits of insourcing over outsourcing
1) Insourcing gives you full control
Unlike outsourced models, in which the third party has a degree of autonomy over management, insourcing gives you full oversight over every process. In stricter regulatory environments, having full control over proceedings is, of course, paramount. Insourcing enables this to happen.
2) Solutions to fit your specific needs
If your company outsources, there’s a chance you may receive more or less the same service as competitors — particularly if your supplier works with multiple businesses within the sector. Insourced Scientific Service Provider (SSP) solutions instead take stock of your unique pain points and provide a tailored, one-size-fits-one solution.
Think insourcing could be the answer for your business? Click here to get expert advice from Synergy, SRG's insourcing solutions provider for Statement of Work (SoW) projects in the life-science industry.
3) Cultural alignment
Often, outsourcing can also strain relationships between teams, particularly if the third-party solutions provider has vastly different organisational structures and workflows. Insourced SSP teams are, however, fully embedded into your organisation and, therefore, their motivations and values are aligned with full-time employees.
4) Improved communication and project delivery
By being able to call on teams with specific skill sets and organisational knowledge, insourcing enables you to address some of the cons of outsourcing, such as issues with communication (e.g. language barriers) and quality control (e.g. accountability). Overcoming these obstacles speeds up the delivery of a project, too.
For companies that emphasise culture, security and compliance but do not have the resources to attract the talent they need for a specific project, insourcing is quite often the right solution.
When you factor in its ability to reduce the challenges of recruiting, the liability of direct employment and the responsibility of ongoing HR administration such as payroll, insourcing makes a great deal of sense.
For a comprehensive overview of changing workforce trends in the life-science industry, download our report here.