Outsourcing across borders

Discussion paper

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01 July 2016

Discussion paper


Outsourcing across borders can drive down costs, implement group risk-management strategies including health and safety policies, and contribute to energy efficiency and better asset management.

Outsourcing can also help international clients align their business internally and drive more standardisation. 

But cross-border outsourcing is complicated by a range of factors including different business cultures and practices, language, national characteristics and respective stages of economic development and maturity. 

To cope with these challenges, FM providers must avoid unilateral imposition of new practices, which can often be seen as arrogant behaviour that is out of touch with realities on the ground. consultation with local business people is essential to obtain buy-in to new ways of operating – particularly with health and safety procedures which may be alien to the overseas country. This process cannot be rushed if ‘tissue rejection’ is to be avoided. 

Inevitably, ethical issues will arise in some less developed countries, where payments deemed illegal in international law are embedded in a local culture. The FM provider will have to take a view on what parts of its own business code are non-negotiable. 

Clarity of contract language is essential if FM providers are to work effectively. So much UK business terminology can be easily misinterpreted abroad.

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