A Blast From The Past: The History Of Outsourcing

A Blast From The Past: The History Of Outsourcing

Outsourcing has become a common term used in businesses – big or small. It is the process of hiring organizations to do specific functions for a certain company. Most often than not, most of the outsourced jobs are those that are not directly related to the core of the business activities.

Rather, the functions are those that can be considered as non-core business activities or those that are not related to the main business but are somehow quite necessary for businesses in general.

Outsourcing, as it has been proven for the past few years, has become an essential part of businesses. Companies from all over the globe practice it but how many really know what the history of outsourcing is.

Just like with any other things, outsourcing too has a beginning. To be able to appreciate what outsourcing really is, a quick look at its history is necessary.

The Roots

It has been said that outsourcing started ever since people began producing and selling items such as tools, food, and household items. As society and communities grew, people began to do specialized works and traded with other people goods for services and vice versa. Looking at it, it can be said that people a thousand years ago were already practicing a form of outsourcing.

When the industrial age came between the years 1800s to 1900s, companies were vertically integrated and did not practice outsourcing. Each company took care of everything from production to manufacturing to deliveries. Companies in these era handled their own payrolls, taxes, and hired their own lawyers. Everything was an internal affair. This kind of setup however does not encompass all organizations at that time but this was the trend at that time.

As time passed by, specialization contracting gained popularity especially in the field of service industry. This was the beginning of the modern outsourcing practice. During the industrial revolution, services such as insurance, engineering and architecture have begun to be outsourced to 3rd part organizations although the client company and the specialized organization usually just belong to the same area or country.

The Beginnings Of Offshore Outsourcing

Onshore outsourcing was growing to be more and more productive for businesses. It all started out with outsourcing low-valued items such as apparels and toys and transcended to outsourcing items with higher values such as appliances and other electronic gadgets. In the history of outsourcing, it was manufacturing that first left the main land to offshore destinations. This move by businesses was for the chance to save on costs.

At first, offshore outsourcing garnered a few apprehensions from business proprietors. But with the improvement of logistics, offshore outsourcing gained popularity. With the development in education and skills of lower wage countries, the value of offshore outsourcing became higher. In fact, during the 1970s, computer related manufacturing was also outsourced offshore. The process of outsourcing just grew and has never stopped since.

Today, outsourcing different functions has never been easier with the help of the information technology. Data can easily be sent and received through the information superhighway. It is not uncommon to see in your daily items such as in the R & D of your prescription drugs that they are outsourced to companies in other countries.