This white paper covers how client-partner integration benefits both parties by promoting teamwork and better communication.
Click the video to the right to learn more about the author, Joe O'Boyle, Vice President of Operations of Vee Technologies, and his thoughts on this article.
To discuss this white paper at length, please contact Joe using his information provided at the bottom of the page.
Having completed thousands of business process enhancement implementations over the last three decades, I have been able to experience firsthand the pros and cons of different implementation strategies. Review of these engagements leads to one stand-out success variable: client integration. That is, temporary onsite placement of a remote operations team member at the client’s facility to work with and alongside the client’s internal team.
In this document, we will review some of the following benefits of direct integration into a client’s operations:
Integration can occur with any client, but is best positioned for success in the following circumstances:
Global: When the operations team is in a different country, (a typical scenario in outsourcing), having a team member onsite for initial training provides many benefits that will be addressed below.
Complicated: If the work is more complex, the higher the benefits of direct access to the client’s staff.
Multiple staff members: It is more efficient and effective to train a single individual or a small group and then have them, in turn, train the rest of the staff.
Future growth: When planning to add staff over time, having a highly skilled trained resource available allows you to train new team members quicker.
Temporary but recurring: The onsite training/learning phase should be temporary in duration but recurring on a regular schedule.
Sitting side by side with the person you are training allows you to communicate better and faster. Also, the ability for the client to watch the staff member perform the work provides assurance that the information has been transferred successfully.
Having a representative onsite allows you to "train the trainer." When their temporary assignment is up, the vendor employee can return to their home office and convey the knowledge accumulated while onsite. They can then train the rest of the staff efficiently and effectively.
Having a direct conversation on a topic reduces the chances that things get missed when communicating remotely. While remote meetings work very well, direct communication is better due to interpretation of body language and other factors.
By providing a hands-on training environment, you can ensure complete understanding and comprehension on the topic which can be tested and reinforced through direct supervision.
One of the best outcomes resulting from staff onsite is the ability to build better relationships. If issues do arise, it is easier to have a dialog and work out a solution in real time.
Finally, that close interaction between the client and vendor allows your vendor to become much more integrated into your business and achieve a better understanding of your objectives, which will help inform the operational processes. This facilitates a true transformation from a vendor to a partner you can rely on.
Vee Technologies Engineering Division partnered with a large Fortune 500 company. As part of the initial startup, the lead architect, based in India, was sent onsite to the client’s facility in the United States. The following is a discussion with the “embedded” Vee Technologies associate regarding the engagement:
How long were you onsite with the client?
“I had spent twenty-one (21) days onsite at the client location.”
Did you find being onsite at the client beneficial?
"Being onsite helped me immensely to communicate directly with the Client’s team. This helped me to understand their standard construction details more efficiently."
Can you give some more examples of what worked better in person versus on a video conference?
"The coordination between the architectural and structural drawings with the construction site is much more streamlined. Creative and innovative ideas using the latest software can be leveraged in a much more productive way being onsite. Being side by side with the client allowed for much more interaction as we were able to work together all day. A video conference would have been shorter in duration and more limited in scope."
What were some of the value adds you found from working directly with the Client team?
"Architectural designs require creative and innovative skills, and this is further enabled by direct interaction with the client. Being onsite helped us to deliver efficiently and to the same calibre and standards of the client. It also allowed us to be part of creative innovations that came out of sharing of best practices. This will absolutely have a positive impact to the deliverables."
Now that you have returned to your regular office can you give any examples of ongoing benefits to having been onsite?
"Sure. When the client volumes increased and they needed to quickly add more resources, I was able to train new team members and get them up to speed quickly. Having been onsite working directly with the client, I was able to really understand the process and pass that knowledge on to others."
It sounds like you had a positive experience. Any last comments on the engagement?
"Yes, very positive. I feel that direct interaction leads to excellent deliverables."
When staff is embedded directly into the client’s operational processes, it provides benefits to both the client and the vendor. The most important benefit is a deeper understanding of the client’s process in a shorter time span.
A manager for one of our clients summed it up well: “It was greatly beneficial to have a member of the Vee Technologies team directly integrated into our office environment. The in-person interactions provided us with an ease of incorporating several aspects of training and insight into our company culture that would have otherwise been difficult to express in a more intensified shortened training session. This opportunity has given our teams the ability to develop a stronger and more personal connection with the members across both offices as well as advanced our ability to work together, keep an open and comfortable dialog and respect the partnership we have developed.”