Outsourcing Wastewater Treatment Operations: Pros and Cons

ProChem Customer, a healthcare products manufacturer, wins the Platinum Environmental Excellence award for its 5 consecutive years of 100% environmental compliance, thanks to ProChem's operations.

Manufacturers often consider outsourcing personnel for various functions within their facility. A lot of services are commonly outsourced such as plumbing repairs or even temporary contractor to oversee a customer project. It makes sense to hire contracted workers to perform jobs that are not part of your company’s core business. You hire an expert in that field to perform that job. When it comes to who should be operating the wastewater treatment system, however, the decision to outsource does not come as easily. These positions are long term, even permanent. So, should they be employees or should they be contracted? What are the risks associated with hiring versus contracting this type of position? The equipment exists on your facility’s grounds and is owned by your company. What are the pros and cons of outsourcing operations for it?

Cons

  • Long-term commitment: Contracts for operations personnel will likely be for a period of one year or longer. This is longer than many contracted positions. The time length also implies a commitment to the outsourcing company, not just the specific personnel that work at your facility. You and your coworkers will likely need to interact with the outsourcing company regularly.
  • No managerial control: The operations personnel work for the outsourcing company and not for your company. This means that any grievances will be handled through the outsourcing company rather than directly with the personnel. Without control over managing personnel, you are left with trusting the outsourcing company to manage them in a way that meets your expectations.
  • Confidentiality concerns: While the operations personnel are not your employees, they are at your facility every single day, which means they are inevitably exposed to delicate or even confidential information. This means you will need to have trust in the personnel and the outsourcing company.
  • Dependency on another company’s success: Committing to a contract with an outsourcing company  means that the service they provide to you can only be provided as long as that company is financially able to provide it. If the company hits hard times, the quality of management over the operations personnel and even their ability to continue the service could suffer. When an employee works for your company, you have more insight into and control over the impact of financial hardships.

Pros

  • Experts in the field: The operations personnel are experts in water treatment systems and programs. They are hired by the outsourcing company and trained according to their experience level. The outsourcing company sells this service as all or part of their business, so you can be confident that they provide quality personnel to represent them. With the burden of hiring on the outsourcing company, your Human Resources Department does not have the added burden of recruiting and training employees for a position that falls outside of the core business function.
  • Dedicated personnel: Contracted operations personnel are dedicated to the tasks they were hired to perform. Employees are often utilized in multiple areas across a company, which means that some tasks remain untouched while others are attended to. With a resource dedicated to the wastewater treatment system operations, none of those tasks will go untouched due to resource sharing.
  • No personnel overhead: Contracted employee benefits, management issues, scheduling, training, and so on are all the responsibility of the outsourcing company. Your company is free from the additional costs that are associated with having an employee.
  • Network ties: With a water treatment experts in your facility, you have a direct connection to that industry’s network, including suppliers for spare parts, chemicals, upgrade services, and so on. This alleviates some of the strain on the purchasing department who will spend hours researching suppliers. Instead, your operations personnel can provide expert suggestions and even direct contact information to help you get the best services and products. Their goal, after all, is to keep the water treatment system performing to meet your company’s needs.

 

ProChem strives to help their customers establish the highest level of credibility and a positive reputation within the regulatory community. Their goal is to significantly reduce the amount of fresh water that manufacturers require by providing sustainable solutions that will also benefit the customer’s bottom line.

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