Outsourcing a crisis

Metroā€™s Outsourcing teams in the UK, India and Malaysia provide critical commercial, compliance and financial documentation services to internal and external customers and had to remain operative through the national COVID19 lockdowns.

The Business Process & Outsource (BPO) operations produce of thousands of critical documents for colleagues and customers every day, with teams working shifts in India and Malaysia to meet demand.

The correct paperwork is vital and time-critical, so it is essential that the BPO team deliver, or shipments will be delayed, or refused transit at a border.

As the scale of the Coronavirus pandemic grew, the lockdown processes in India and Malaysia were factored into business continuity planning and shared with local team leaders.

It was clear that working from home was the only option available and the biggest challenge would be making the transition without impacting the flow, production and delivery of the BPOs critical output.

While working from home processes and support were advanced and robust in the UK, this was not the case in India and Malaysia, where all equipment and communication links were 100% office-based.

Training staff on Work from Home (WFH) protocols, the use of video applications, purchasing laptops and setting up secure internet access was the initial priority, with the latter a particular challenge in more rural communities.

Office-based systems and reporting were adapted to monitor and support remote teams, with Microsoft Teams for group meetings and encouraged inter-colleague calls between locations.

Documentation printing and delivery has been an issue throughout and will add to call for shipping lines to move toward digitalisation.

All our BPO teams have adapted well and it has been business as usual, with 50 international colleagues working remotely.

While globally International trade has reduced over the last few months, productivity in our outsource offices has remained at good levels, with new BPO services added, staff joined, inducted, trained and developed, all during lockdown and WFH.