As our world becomes more interconnected and businesses increasingly global, one word has steadily made its way into our lexicon: outsource. This term plays a huge role in the modern corporate world, but what does it really mean? Let’s dive into the details and see how you’re meant to use the term outsource.
Outsourcing Meaning Explained
At its core, when you outsource something, it means you’ve delegated a task or job that was originally done internally to an external third party or service provider. Companies outsource tasks all the time to streamline operations, cut costs, focus on their core business, or access skills and resources not readily available in-house.
Take the indie author world as a great example. Some authors love to offer special editions of their books with fancy designs and foil work on the cover. Now, to do it themselves would be costly and time-consuming, and to use a big printing facility would be even more expensive. So, what do they do? They outsource the task to more affordable and efficient printers overseas.
Is It Outsource To or From?
When you’re using the word outsource in a sentence, it’s usually said as outsource to an external provider. Here’s a quick example.
- The company decided to outsource its customer service operations to a firm in India.
Origin and Etymology of Outsource
The term outsource popped up in the business lexicon sometime in the late 20th century, particularly in the 1980s when the corporate grind was rising. It is an amalgamation of outside and resource, which shows the idea of sourcing tasks or services outside the main organization.
So, the word outsource is typically used as a verb, but it can occasionally be used as a noun to describe the action or practice of outsourcing.
- The outsourcing of customer service roles has been a topic of debate.
As a verb, the more common form, the word outsource shows the action of delegating tasks or services to some sort of third party.
- The company chose to outsource its accounting department to reduce overheads.
Synonyms for Outsource
Here are a few alternative ways to express the concept of outsourcing if you need some way to switch up your wordage.
- Farm out
- Contract out
Using Outsource in a Sentence
I always say that seeing how a word or phrase can be used within a full sentence can really help shape your understanding of it.
- Our company decided to outsource our payroll processing and customer service inquiries to improve efficiency.
- Many corporations outsource their customer service to countries with lower labor costs because it increases profits but saves the company time that can be invested elsewhere.
- I told my boss to consider outsourcing the packing and shipping of our homemade candles to a foreign company so we could increase production in-house.
- We actually outsourced a lot of the administrative tasks so we could be on the road more.
Get the Job Done
Understanding the meaning and application of outsource can give you some valuable insights into modern business practices. Outsourcing can offer significant benefits, like cost reduction, access to global talent and increased efficiency. It’s a term that has shaped our global industry and isn’t going away anytime soon.