This guest blog is by Ken Zwerdling, CEO of Foreign Staffing, Inc.

Many companies, especially small to medium sized businesses, have crucial members of their staff spending too much time on routine tasks. International outsourcing can help free up valuable resources and allow these vital employees to spend more time on strategic core areas, while bringing in a fresh skill set and expertise. Here are 5 functions that businesses can outsource to become much more productive.

1. Human Resources Outsourcing (HRO)

Many businesses are beginning to see the benefits of outsourcing various human resources functions. Common HR tasks that are easily outsourced include background checks, temporary staffing, administration of pensions, retirement, health care benefits, and employee counseling. Although most businesses do not entirely replace the HR department, outsourcing these simple but time-intensive tasks reduces workload and allows remaining HR staff to focus on strategy and improving company productivity. Outsourcing to an experienced provider also helps control legal risk due to any failures in compliance with regulations, and brings in valuable insight from experienced HR professionals.

2. Payroll Outsourcing

Payroll outsourcing is also common practice among both large and small companies. Benefits to payroll outsourcing include saving time and expenses while freeing employees to work on core business functions. As payroll is a monotonous and complicated task, all too often employees can make mistakes that incur IRS penalties or fines. Outsourcing payroll functions not only shifts that risk to another firm, but also saves considerable money by avoiding the need to invest in unnecessary computers, software, and corresponding costs of training and maintenance. For larger companies, costs in outsourcing payroll can be reduced due to economies of scale, and small businesses benefit from lower overhead expenses.

Another benefit is that payroll agencies are typically more experienced and knowledgeable, ensuring that client companies are fully compliant with tax laws and that employees are always paid timely and consistently. Finally, for companies with global payroll systems, outsourcing allows the company’s entire payroll to be accessed through a single cloud-based system that integrates different currencies, time zones, and languages.

3. Recruiting Process Outsourcing (RPO)

Recruiting employees through an in-house department can be very inefficient. There can be many challenges such as difficulty finding high-quality candidates, increased overhead costs to support an in-house recruiting department, slow hiring processes, and high turnover rates due to hiring inappropriate people. Outsourcing employee recruitment will streamline the entire process and enable you to find better quality candidates in less time, which will in turn save money. Outsourcing the recruiting process also allows companies to scale up or down for seasonal hiring fluctuations and times of rapid growth. Recruiting services providers specialize in finding the best candidates and offer clients strategic information through detailed reports and analysis of the recruiting process.

4. Procurement and Supply Chain Outsourcing

Procurement and supply chain management can be a time-consuming and costly practice. By outsourcing the procurement process, companies gain access to expertise, industry knowledge, and a large network of connections. Companies benefit first of all through cost reductions thanks to fewer in-house employees and less office space to support. Then, because the outsourcing company handles the particulars, the client company avoids training fees while benefiting from the most specialized technology.

Procurement providers also offer cost savings through economies of scale, leading to lower transaction costs per purchase of company supplies. Providers are able to negotiate for lower discounts and know which vendors offer the best products, all of which make outsourcing more effective and profitable. In managing supply chains, outsourcing agencies have the experience and connections to suggest less expensive materials, optimize transportation of products, and manage the client company’s inventory. In addition to basic services, outsourcing allows for better information and purchasing analysis, which in turn helps companies maintain their focus on strategic decisions, marketing, building customer relations, and other core business functions.

5. Legal Services/Processes Outsourcing (LSO/LPO)

Legal services outsourcing offers businesses the opportunity to form strategic partnerships with third-party vendors specializing in niche legal areas. Services often include legal and litigation support, research, visa/immigration application drafting, intellectual property rights enforcement, and document processing. One major benefit from outsourcing legal services is the cost savings. Hiring and maintaining an in-house legal department is often much costlier than utilizing an outside vendor.

Outsourcing legal services provides more expertise in specific legal areas and leverages the economic comparative advantage to provide high-quality work with lower costs. Legal services vendors also allow for greater flexibility, so that small companies with varying legal issues can better scale up or down.

Businesses looking to scale quickly should focus their resources on the tasks that yield the highest rewards. Routine tasks, like the 5 outlined above, can be outsourced cost-effectively and easily so that resources can be reallocated for maximum impact within the company. By outsourcing internationally, companies can also reap the benefit of always-on support. At a time when consumers demand instant service, resources across time zones can allow projects to be managed almost 24 hours a day and 7 days a week. When outsourcing internationally, World First can provide companies with great exchange rates to ensure they are remaining cost-effective.