Recently, the NSCA posted an article called “So…All I Have To Do Is Hire Subs and I Will Be Profitable?” penned by Joel Harris, COO of HB Communications. Harris ultimately summarizes the concept of successfully outsourcing labor to one important statement that all integrators likely know, but don’t necessarily take all the steps to fully realize. That is, “You must intentionally set yourself up for success by investing the time and resources to implement this strategy.”
Having spent 20 years as an integrator, and now as CEO of a labor and services provider, I have a unique perspective of what makes the relationship between integrator and provider successful. Simply put, both organizations must have long term commitment to the relationship and consistent, clear communication and expectations of scope of work for each project.
Some of the more tumultuous jobs I’ve experienced are unsuccessful because the integrator “just needs a body tomorrow.” When integrators make a last-minute call to a labor provider for resources to supplement their team without engaging in a labor deployment plan, scope of responsibilities and work, both parties take on unnecessary risk and begin both the project and relationship at a disadvantage. Personally, at Digital Labor Solutions, one of the more important part of our partnerships is clearly aligning expectations as well as personalities and skillset (Digital Labor Solutions is more than labor- providing logistics, staging, design, and project management support to integrators). We love working with the same integrators; their project managers, engineers and technicians. We get to learn the nuance of how their team operates and support their efforts in ways that are aligned and seamless, so they can be successful. This breeds success and relationships with longevity.
The trust that is cultivated between our company and our integrator partners helps support a nimble and flexible working partnership. Inevitably, projects change, timelines change, and therefore, requirements change. Clear communication between partners who trust each other are foundational to any professional relationship. Harris points out that one of the key tenets of successfully using subs to increase profitability is to “Build a process to qualify subcontractors (and their processes and people).” Leveraging labor providers can be a good way for the integrator to realize fixed costs by leveraging external resources with a fixed cost contract. In this way, labor resources can be planned, executed, and tracked for deployment and financial success.
Additionally, leveraging other services like last mile logistics can reduce the amount of times equipment is touched, and simplify the coordination of effort and internal costs for the integrator’s operations team. Scalable services allow for integrators to quickly scale to meet project demand without the burden of adding team members. This makes integrators more nimble to build up and reduce teams without adding financial risk beyond the true project need.