While the MSP model remains widely used throughout the world of IT, other industries also see their share of managed service providers. As SMBs and enterprises continue to emphasize their core competencies, this creates a vacuum filled by MSPs that also focus on doing what they know best, offering companies the opportunity to outsource normal business functions better served by experts.
Let’s take a look at some managed service providers outside of information technology.
Businesses Benefit from Delivery and Courier Services
Taking time out of a busy day to wait in line at the post office or deliver an important package to a local client isn’t a realistic option for many small businesses. Because of this need, smaller point-to-point courier services are widely used, especially in large metropolitan areas. Additionally, large services, like UPS, FedEx, and DHL dominate the package delivery market in cities and towns of all sizes.
Companies that leverage advanced inventory management techniques, like Just-In-Time (JIT), also use on-board courier services that employ individuals able to travel at any time using commercial airline services.
Customer Service as a MSP Offering
Businesses who don’t want to invest in the HR costs to employ their own customer service staff use managed service providers that offer the same functionality as an in-house team. In some cases, this could be the advanced technical support typical of an IT staff, but it also includes general phone and online support for products of all types.
SMBs usually end up using an employee or two to train the staff of a customer support MSP in the specifics of the SMB’s product line. Customers remain unaware that the person providing support isn’t actually an employee of the company who developed the product. Many enterprises, though, prefer the extra personal touch offered by their own in-house customer service staff and feel the additional HR spending is worth the cost.
Supply Chain Management Services
Partially related to the courier services used for JIT inventory management, supply chain management (SCM) services are an important part of many businesses, especially those involved in manufacturing or the food industry. The more complex SCM systems also significantly leverage the use of information technology.
Many smaller business prefer to focus on their core abilities — a recurring theme in the MSP world –and don’t have the time for their own internal supply chain management team. The more successful SCM providers focus on an integrated approach that combines logistics and procurement allowing their customers to gain a competitive advantage through improved operational efficiencies.
So the managed services model doesn’t always apply to information technology, although IT remains a significant part of the MSP landscape. Each time an enterprise or SMB feels it makes sense to outsource a business function to an expert, it creates another opportunity for a managed service.