Andy Springall is the Operations Director at Robin Hood Energy (RHE), and has been working in the utilities business for some time partnering with a number of outsourcing suppliers. We recently took the time to sit with Andy and discuss his experiences of business process outsourcing…

Tell us a little about RHE and the current aims and challenges you face?

It’s certainly a challenge growing a business in a market dominated by the ‘big six’. So, my key focus is on disrupting this. We are expecting regulation around pricing to come in (a cap), which will result in fundamental changes for many energy companies.

Further, we are working on smart rollout, a significant investment. This move towards digital is a common theme as we look to operate in a more accessible and virtual way.

Our aims amongst these challenges are to; operate a not for profit business, support vulnerable customers and support people in switching to a sustainable and trusted alternative.

What is your experience with outsourcing and how are you currently using it to support your business?

We required a partner who could provide experience, operating models and access to the right technology. We also were able to take advantage of opportunities so there was a need to mobilise quickly and effectively.

A partner can help to smooth out the peaks in volumes which can be difficult to manage when trying to keep the cost to serve down.

As mentioned, access to new and more importantly the right technology is vital, and having a partner makes these discussions and implementations easier.

It is also vital that the outsourcer embraces the company brands and ethos, and invests the time in delivery. Essentially, it is Important for the outsourcer to be an intrinsic part of the business, not a disposable add-on.

What would be your advice to other companies looking at outsourcing, considering the lessons learned during your experience?

Be clear on what you want, is it long term? Get the right fit for your needs. For example, is it flexibility you need? And then match what you need. Take time to meet people and make them part of your team and not just an outsourcer. Listen to what they say as it is often good advice.

What have you found to be the most beneficial areas to outsource? Are there areas you feel should be kept in house where possible?

It is often said, and I agree, you shouldn’t outsource a problem, outsource a solution. Outsource anything as long as you are very clear on what you want to achieve by doing so. Complaints in my experience is a good one to outsource, you can be clear on targets, aims and outputs.

Have you encountered any limits to outsourcing, if so, do you think they can be overcome?

It helps to have a common platform most outsourcers are rigid, so the more flexible the company can be, the better. 

Any closing comments on your experience of outsourcing or on DDC OS?

I have used DDC OS with two different companies over the last three years and their ability to flex to meet a customer’s demands at pace is certainly one of the key reasons that they are able to support a business like RHE.