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Outsourcing Engineers: 5 Reasons to Consider the ‘Marmite’ approach

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Outsourcing Engineers: 5 Reasons to Consider the ‘Marmite’ approach

By David Khanna, Director of Operations at Arolite 

From mechanics to electrics, civil to software, engineering is one of the most in-demand skills of 2019, and is integral to keeping many of the UK’s businesses running smoothly.

But while the likes of aviation and energy need to employ specially trained engineers who are ready to deal with emergencies and handle classified data, engineers are also needed for smaller businesses in a range of industries. These companies have customers with varying demand requirements, skill sets and fulfilment strategies. As a result, they have been turning to outsourced engineer support more and more.

Opinions on outsourcing are very marmite. Some think it isn’t stable, and would rather have the reassurance of always having an engineer on hand. Similarly, some engineers may prefer to rely on the steadiness of a monthly pay cheque.

Whether it be in consulting, commercial services, creative media or automotive, the decision to outsource should not be taken lightly, but it can open both sides of the party up to a wealth of benefits:

Erratic Workloads

You might have a sudden influx of workload, and you need more manpower. But that shouldn’t always mean that you hire new people. How can you guarantee that they will have work after that rush dies down? You need to make sure that you have work to fill their position and avoid them twiddling their thumbs.

Of course, if you know that you have room for steady flow of work that fits their specialism, by all means go for it. But by adopting an outsourced freelance model, you have the flexibility to scale up in times of high demand, and scale down when it’s quieter. Only pay for what you’re using – if you’re a consulting company and offer maintenance on products you’ve supplied, for example, you don’t need a 24/7 engineer.

With a larger pool of full time engineers, you have larger overheads. For smaller businesses who don’t have the work to keep them busy all the time, outsourcing makes sense to significantly reduce downtime.

Offer a Personalised Approach

Engineers have niches and specialities – like all different professionals do. What works well for one might not work well for another, so if you have a pool to choose from when you need to, it means that you’re only hiring the best. Nobody can be a one-size-fits-all, but if you only have one engineer available from your employees, you’re forced to send them to the job.

If you outsource, you can make sure that you’re always using the right person with relevant skills for the job, and not offering a default strategy. This approach is cost-effective and helps you react to preventative maintenance or repairs smartly. By having a pool of engineers that you can choose from with varying specialisms, you’ll soon be able to know who to send for a right-first-time basis. Depending on where your business is based, it’s also wise to seek contracted engineers around the country to have on hand.

Deal with Tight Deadlines

Projects of all shapes and sizes can come in, and realistically, you might not be able to handle a sudden tight deadline or repair times. If you’re in the development sector especially, time to market can have a huge impact on profitability.

One of the greatest benefits of outsourcing engineers is the wealth of expertise and information that it adds to your offering. It takes a strong business to acknowledge when a project is simply outside of their business boundaries – whether that is expertise or time-wise. You might not have the time or budget to upskill your employees in order to meet a deadline, as there simply isn’t the people. Contractors can come on board and help you to achieve optimum results in short turnaround times.

 Gain a Trusted Partner

Of course, you cannot expect a freelancer to have the same knowledge of your business or the same passion as an employee. But they will be able to offer a consulting approach, help with technical documentation and advise. They will also offer an outside perspective from someone who works outside of the organisation, to show new ways of doing things and develop strategies.

Business is about profitability. You’re constantly looking for ways to control costs in inventory and reduce hours, and contractors don’t have to cost the world. They’ll want to take pride in their work, but you also don’t have to worry about having difficult conversations with them if they’re not fulfilling the jobs given to them – you simply stop giving them the work.

Engineers can become Entrepreneurs

Many of us have always wanted to start our own business, and engineers, who often get paid more than employees if they become contractors, can expect to see real financial and self gains. They can offer their services to targeted smaller operations and start ups or build a larger empire and employing their own offering of engineers. Contractors are likely to have greater flexibility, work/life balance and focus on the specific work that they enjoy and excel at.

Contracted engineers often feel like that can be more innovative, have a creative ability that you don’t get if you’re just another number in a firm, and they have the added freedom of deciding what work they take on, what hours they work and when they go on holiday.

Of course, this freedom means that businesses need to have a contingency plan in place if one of your contractors is unavailable – but this is why preparation is key.

Maintenance, manufacturing, product development and discovery are all key to digital transformation, and engineers are the backbone of it. If you have specific one-off projects coming up or find yourself not having the specialism or capacity in-house to tackle an array of challenges, you don’t need to work your employees into oblivion, you can outsource engineers to achieve results that you can’t. You can offer a personalised approach, give your customers the service that they need, and no longer have to worry about excessive downtime.

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Audi aims to sell one million cars in China in 2023

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Audi aims to sell one million cars in China in 2023 1

BEIJING (Reuters) – German premium automaker Audi aims to sell 1 million vehicles in China in 2023, versus 726,000 vehicles in 2020, the brand’s China chief Werner Eichhorn said on Wednesday.

Audi, which is making cars in the world’s biggest auto market with FAW Group, will also add more products in China, Eichhorn said. Audi’s rivals include Daimler and BMW.

(Reporting by Yilei Sun and Brenda Goh; Editing by Himani Sarka

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Netflix forecasts an end to borrowing binge, shares surge

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Netflix forecasts an end to borrowing binge, shares surge 2

By Lisa Richwine and Eva Mathews

(Reuters) – Netflix Inc said on Tuesday its global subscriber rolls crossed 200 million at the end of 2020 and projected it will no longer need to borrow billions of dollars to finance its broad slate of TV shows and movies.

Shares of Netflix rose nearly 13% in extended trading as the financial milestone validated the company’s strategy of going into debt to take on big Hollywood studios with a flood of its own programming in multiple languages.

The world’s largest streaming service had raised $15 billion through debt in less than a decade. On Tuesday, the company said it expected free cash flow to break even in 2021, adding in a letter to shareholders, “We believe we no longer have a need to raise external financing for our day-to-day operations.”

Netflix said it will explore returning excess cash to shareholders via share buybacks. It plans to maintain $10 billion to $15 billion in gross debt.

“This is in sharp contrast to Disney and many other new entrants into the streaming market who expect to lose money on streaming for the next few years,” said eMarketer analyst Eric Haggstrom.

From October to December, Netflix signed up 8.5 million new paying streaming customers as it debuted widely praised series “The Queen’s Gambit” and “Bridgerton,” a new season of “The Crown” and the George Clooney film “The Midnight Sky.”

The additions topped Wall Street estimates of 6.1 million, according to Refinitiv data, despite increased competition and a U.S. price increase. Fourth-quarter earnings per share of $1.19 missed analyst expectations of $1.39.

With the new customers, Netflix’s worldwide membership reached 203.7 million. The company that pioneered streaming in 2007 added more subscribers in 2020 than in any other year, boosted by viewers who stayed home to fight the coronavirus pandemic.

COMPETITION HEATS UP

Now, Netflix is working to add customers around the globe as big media companies amp up competition. Walt Disney Co in December unveiled a hefty slate of new programming for Disney+, while AT&T Inc’s Warner Bros scrapped the traditional Hollywood playbook by announcing it would send all 2021 movies straight to HBO Max alongside theaters.

Disney said in December it had already signed up 86.8 million subscribers to Disney+ in just over a year.

“It’s super-impressive what Disney’s done,” Netflix Co-Chief Executive Reed Hastings said in a post-earnings analyst interview. Disney’s success, he added, “gets us fired up about increasing our membership, increasing our content budget.”

Netflix said most of its growth last year – 83% of new customers – came from outside the United States and Canada. Forty-one percent joined from Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

For January through March, Netflix projected it would sign up 6 million more global subscribers, behind analyst expectations of roughly 8 million.

Revenue for the fourth quarter rose to $6.64 billion compared with $5.47 billion a year ago, edging past estimates of $6.63 billion.

Net income fell to $542.2 million, or $1.19 per share, from $587 million, or $1.30 per share, a year earlier.

Netflix shares jumped 12.5% to $564.32 in extended trading on Tuesday.

(Reporting by Eva Mathews in Bengaluru and Lisa Richwine in Los Angeles; Editing by Sriraj Kalluvila and Matthew Lewis)

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MGM Resorts drops takeover plan for Ladbrokes-owner Entain

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MGM Resorts drops takeover plan for Ladbrokes-owner Entain 3

By Tanishaa Nadkar

(Reuters) – Casino operator MGM Resorts International on Tuesday ditched plans to buy Ladbrokes owner Entain after the British company rejected an $11 billion takeover approach this month, sending Entain’s shares down nearly 12%.

The United States is seen as the next big growth market for sports betting, spawning a series of transatlantic partnerships tapping in to European technology and expertise. These include Caesars Entertainment agreeing last September to buy William Hill in a 2.9 billion-pound deal.

MGM said it would not submit a revised proposal or make a firm offer for Entain, which had said the approach announced two weeks ago significantly undervalued its business.

Entain shares closed down 11.9% at around 12.44 pounds in London. MGM shares were up 2.5% at $30.54 in New York trading late on Tuesday afternoon.

“We look forward to continuing to work closely with MGM to drive further success in the United States through the BetMGM joint venture,” Entain said in a statement.

Online betting firms have benefited during the COVID-19 pandemic-led lockdowns, as customers took to playing from home when casinos and betting shops were off-limits.

MGM had previously said a merger with the British bookmaker would be compelling and believed a deal would help expand BetMGM, which the two have operated since 2018.

The proposal, on the basis of 0.6 MGM share for each Entain share, was also backed by billionaire Barry Diller’s IAC. It valued Entain shares at 13.83 pence each when it was first announced.

Complicating matters, Entain Chief Executive Officer Shay Segev decided to step down just seven months into the role and in the middle of negotiations with MGM to take a job with sports streaming service DAZN.

Segev’s departure, as well as limited engagement in talks shown by Entain and a difference in price expectations between the two sides, led MGM to decide to walk away from the deal, according to a person familiar with the matter.

Entain, previously known as GVC, has itself expanded rapidly through a series of acquisitions and owns the bwin, Coral and Eurobet brands, operating traditional British high street betting shops as well as offering online gambling.

“While we are genuinely surprised MGM didn’t up its consideration … we don’t think this changes MGM’s ability to secure equity value enhancing benefits from the attractively growing US sports betting and iGaming pie,” JP Morgan analysts said.

The brokerage said it would not rule out further discussions with Entain depending on how the company shareholders reacted, adding it would be tough for someone else to buy Entain given so much potential equity value coming from the 50/50 BetMGM joint venture.

(Reporting by Tanishaa Nadkar in Bengaluru; Additional reporting by Joshua Franklin in Miami; Editing by Keith Weir and Matthew Lewis)

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