Factors affecting performance of outsourcing strategies among mobile phone operators in Kenya
Businesses today operate in a complex global environment. In order to survive and thrive in this growing competitive international market, companies must be flexible and meet the needs from customers to provide a lower-cost product or service and continually improve the cost, quality, and reliability of products and/or services rendered. The need to respond to market changes on a daily basis and the difficulty of predicting the direction of such changes mean that organizations must focus on their core competences and capabilities. One avenue that firms have pursued to improve their competitive position in this new business environment has been to increase the role of outsourcing in their operations, which has been found to provide a competitive advantage to these firms. The objective of the study was to determine the factors that affect performance of outsourcing practices among mobile phone companies in Kenya. The research design adopted was cross sectional survey design. The population of the study comprised of four managers in all the four mobile phone companies operating in Kenya. The study used primary data which was collected using self-administered questionnaires. The data was analyzed using the Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS) software and presented using tables and figures. The study found out that the companies outsource some of its services. The factors that affect performance of outsourcing practices were found to be trust among partners, training and communication, partner characteristic and top management commitment. This was as a result of lack of trust among the mobile companies and its supplier which leads to sharing of information for fear of sharing with competitors and lack of synergy. The study found out that there is lack of comprehensive plan outlining detailed expectations, lack of properly defined performance criteria for an outsourcing engagement, there has been a challenge to impart managers of the outsourced firm with necessary skills that will enable them to adapt to other cultures and work with other managers and lack of adequate training skills needed to manage outsourcing activities and to negotiate a sound contract leading to a lop sided contracts with one of the parties. partner characteristics affected the performance of outsourced services among the mobile phone companies due to lack of adequate mechanism to monitor the contractors‟ activities and establish constant communication, unsuccessfully selection of a firm based on criteria like credibility, expertise, and reliability, lack of right people involved in managing outsourcing efforts and to add adequate training and infrastructure in the entire process of service outsourcing, existence of poor organizational communication, unclear expectations, lack of flexibility, keeping contracts short and lack of a well defined formal contracts between the company and the outsourced firm.