4 reasons you should find an outsourcing partner now
The economy isn’t in great shape, so it would be crazy to make investments to grow your business right now, right? Well, not really. 
Right now might actually be the best possible time to invest in your business by finding an outsourcing partner. Think about the places in your shop that become a bottleneck when you get busy. How would it transform your shop if you could eliminate those bottlenecks before they become an issue again?
There are four great reasons to invest in an outsourcing partner to increase your capacity right now. 
1. Find someone you can trust NOW so that you’re ready for increased demand
Your shop is likely slow right now, which means that you have extra time on your hands to vet an outsourcing partner carefully. When you get slammed because of the pent up demand that’s going to come later this year, you’ll want to have someone in your corner that you already know you can rely on.
Don’t make the mistake of waiting until you’re busy to begin looking for a partner, or you’ll be forced to turn down orders. Instead, get your outsourcing partner lined up now so that you’re ready to produce when the time comes. You may even be able to pick up work that competitors can’t fill because they didn’t seize opportunities during this slowdown.  
2. There’s going to be a labor shortage when everyone gets back to work
Right when you’re ready to start hiring new employees to meet your increasing demand, I’m predicting that there will be a labor shortage for two reasons:
  • It’s really easy to get on unemployment right now, so it may be hard to find good labor later because some people may be hesitant to rejoin the workforce.
  • When people go back to work, and it starts to get busy, every business is going to be looking for new employees. It’ll be hard to stand out from the crowd to find and attract the best workers.
One way to reduce some of your labor requirements is to find an outsourcing partner. You’ll still be able to produce more product, but you won’t have to rely quite as heavily on the number of people you can find to work your stations. 
However, I think that right now is actually a great time to strengthen your team because there’s a glut of incredible talent sitting at home without work. If you need new talent and are in a position to hire, I encourage you to do so while the best candidates are still available.
3. Increase your market share 
The natural response to a slowdown is to pull back on selling and marketing, so you can almost bet that most other businesses are not actively doing either right now. However, savvy shops are always looking for opportunities. 
When you have a reliable outsourcing partner to take some of your capacity, your fixed costs decrease, which means that you aren’t hemorrhaging money during economic downturns. Instead, you can spend time and money to market and grow while your competitors are pulling back. 
4. It will free up more time for you to sell 
If your headaches are no longer on the manufacturing side of your business, you suddenly have a bunch of time freed up to seek out and sell to new customers. More business means more growth, which is what most shops want.
Last week I talked about putting buckets out when it’s raining gold rather than setting out a thimble. Look at finding an outsourcing partner as preparing a bucket. When demand swings back, you’ll have, arguably, your biggest bucket set up to catch the business. 
How to find an outsourcing partner
The best way to pick an outsourcing partner is to start small. Give them a small order, say 10% of your business, and then make them earn the rest. If the test run doesn’t go well, find another outsourcing partner to try and keep looking until you find the one that matches your business.

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About the author
Jeff Finney

Jeff Finney is the founder of Ultimate Cabinet Components, based in Collinsville, Oklahoma; 918-371-7171. For more shop insights from Jeff, check out his articles at UltCab.com or listen to his podcasts at thepushthru.com. Jeff is also a 2018 Wood Industry 40 Under 40 honoree.