As the manufacturing landscape becomes increasingly digital, CPG producers face a dilemma when it comes to managing their growing gamut of IT services. Do you outsource or keep them internal? While outsourcing offers cost savings, access to specialized expertise, and operational best practices, keeping IT services in-house provides more control over management and growth. Ultimately, the best choice comes down to the manufacturer in question.
If you’re stuck between outsourced cost savings and in-house oversight and control, consider the full scope of pros and cons for both options — and the ways outsourcing could address the perceived strengths of in-house IT through proper vetting, governance, and communication.
Reasons to consider outsourcing IT
Although outsourcing might not be the immediate choice for CPG manufacturers seeking to better manage their IT landscape, it’s worth careful consideration. Outsourcing IT unlocks several invaluable benefits:
- Value. Outsourcing cuts the cost of hiring and training IT staff, as well as the expense of maintaining and upskilling talent in-house. As the cost of labor rises and competition for specific IT skills increases, these savings have the potential to be tremendous.
- Predictability. Also worth considering from a cost standpoint is the benefit of a predictable cost structure, which allows manufacturers to better set and manage their IT budgets around a service-level agreement (SLA).
- Flexibility. Beyond strict cost considerations, outsourcing creates flexibility opportunities in-house hiring simply can’t match. An IT partner can easily provide additional resources or scale back and pivot as necessary.
- Expertise. Outsourcing exposes producers to a wealth of knowledge and experience specific to their organization’s IT strategy. This is extremely valuable for small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) without the resources to hire top IT talent.
- Security. Reputable IT providers are up to date on the latest security protocols and can offer ongoing monitoring and maintenance to protect against evolving cyberthreats. This is particularly important for CPG manufacturers who deal with sensitive data, such as proprietary product information.
The underlying theme across each of these benefits is the convenience of a business partner who can meet you where you are. Whether you’re struggling to maintain a growing IT infrastructure or need help with a specific facet of digitization, you can outsource the answer.
Advantages of keeping IT internal
There’s often a knee-jerk reaction to keeping operational oversight in-house — especially among CPG manufacturers. Before making the decision to staff IT support internally, producers should familiarize themselves with the potential benefits:
- Control. Keeping IT internal gives manufacturers complete control over their technology infrastructure. They can customize their IT solutions to their specific needs and requirements without relying on a third-party provider.
- Alignment. In-house IT teams can better align with the company’s overall mission, culture, and values. They have a deeper understanding of the business’s goals, objectives, and operations and can tailor their IT solutions accordingly.
- Synergy. Having internal IT support unlocks a unique perspective on how technology can support cross-departmental goals. An in-house team can collaborate closely with other departments and develop solutions to meet the needs of the entire organization.
- Expedience. Internal teams can quickly respond to issues and implement solutions. This advantage isn’t always guaranteed, as outsourcing can sometimes offer faster response times depending on the SLA.
Here again, there’s an undercurrent with these benefits: immersion. CPG producers seeking to make IT central to their operations may find an in-house team is easier to mold, manage, and deploy, primarily because of how keyed into the organization they are.
Considerations when choosing an IT support strategy
As a CPG manufacturer, should you outsource IT support or work to keep it internal? The answer for most organizations comes down to careful consideration of several key factors:
- Size. The size of the company and its IT frameworks can impact the budget for effective IT support. Smaller businesses may be able to manage IT in-house with a modest team, while larger (and growing) organizations may require an outsourced provider.
- Capability. Manufacturers must assess whether they have the in-house resources and expertise to manage their IT systems or upskill. If not, outsourcing may be a more viable option, even when it might be possible to acquire and onboard talent.
- Priority. How central is IT to your business’s expansion plan? As IT needs become more complex and require more specialized expertise, CPG manufacturers must ensure their IT support strategy is aligned with long-term business goals.
- Tolerance. Risk tolerance is an essential consideration. In-house support can provide a higher level of control and security, but outsourcing can offer more comprehensive risk management and backup solutions.
The decision to outsource IT support or keep it in-house isn’t an easy one for any company — let alone CPG manufacturers charged with producing critical goods. Both options have appealing advantages and potential disadvantages. The choice ultimately depends on the specific needs, goals, and resources of the company.
Regardless of your decision, always ensure your IT support approach aligns with your business objectives and delivers real value. Learn more about IT outsourcing at windzr.com.