BP Oil, which looks after BP's 'downstream' operations, including petrol retailing, has embarked on a major outsourcing operation.
Worried by the intense competition developing in areas such as petrol sales, into which supermarket groups have moved in a big way, BP decided it must look very closely at costs. A priority was not to tie up working capital in office and administrative operations and to keep revenue operating costs to a minimum. Outsourcing was a way to achieve that. Much of BP Oil's office imaging, mailroom management, print administration and management of records and information was passed over to Kodak Facilities Management, part of the photographic group. The company didn't want to retain a hands-on approach to the outsourced work since that would have defeated the whole object of the exercise, says BP Oil's property services manager Richard Paver; on the other hand it has to be able to evaluate Kodak's work.
'In order to achieve this balance, we employ a contract services manager who reports to me and to the user departments and businesses. This manager isn't a specialist in any of our outsourced areas; he is, however, an expert in purchasing and contract management. This means that in fulfilling this role for us we get the benefit of his broad-based experience across the various outsourced functions and he does not get locked into a narrow specialism.'.