Directions (Q. 1-10): Read the following passage carefully and answer the questions given below it. Certain words in the passage have been printed in bold to help you locate them while answering some of the questions.
As a concept, outsourcing is no doubt gaining ground. But there are many who still keep away from it. First, there’s a perception that outsourcing could adversely impact the quality of service. “We believe that directly controlling our stores is the only way to maintain quality. If we outsource, quality would suffer and that would have a negative rub-off on our business as a whole. You can do outsourcing only if you’re willing to shut your eyes to many things,” says the Managing Director of a company.
Despite being the dominant partner in the relationship, the outsourcer doesn’t always have all the advantages. For one, very few entrepreneurs are willing to take on a new outsource, unless it comes with a guarantee of ascertain level of sales. The trade refers to it as the minimum guarantee clause, which means that if an out source is unable to reach an anticipated sales level, he will be compensated for the balance amount. This invariably acts as an incentive for out sources to be lax in developing the business. Yet, given that there are too many outsourcers chasing too few potential out sources, the minimum guarantee clauses often become a crucial deciding factor in choosing an outsource.
Of course, there are ways of working around this. The Rs 14-crore-chain of personal grooming and fitness clinics tried the outsourcing route two years ago by handing over management of the outlet to its outsource. That agreement did not work. “Ours is a very critical service. Our business is about people’s health and well-being. If the standards are not kept up, one mistake will wipe out so many years of goodwill. And since we saw maintaining the right service levels was a problem, we decided to opt out of outsourcing,” says a managing director. To make things simpler, it set up joint ventures with interested parties and kept 65% of the stake and, therefore, management control in its hands. Its future plans of opening specialised fitness centre chains and good health eateries are also based on the current 65 : 35 model.
Players with a large existing outsourced network have an incumbency problem: upgrading the quality of the outlets in line with changing customer needs. The logic may seem reasonable, but convincing Outsource to invest more in upgradation is seldom easy.
Bentex wants to move beyond the retail ambience it is offering to its customers. “We have grown to a fair level with our outsources but times have changed. We need to move on,” says executive director.
Won’t it unsettle the 430-odd Bentex outsources ? “We are only setting up 25 of these shops to show our outsources it can work. The rest we want to outsource,” affirms marketing manager. But potential outsources will be up against a hurdle: the stores will be allowed to stock only branded Bentex products, from earrings to bangles. This may put off consumers who seek variety. Currently, Bentex allows its outsources to outsource 35% of the products in the outlet. “There may be a certain sense of independence that an outsource gets by choosing some stock but we think it is a habit. Once he realises the convenience of sourcing from just one place, he will upgrade. But Bentex realises the psychological impact of starting its own retail stores.”
So, how does outsourcing work? “It’s like a marriage,” says general manager, marketing. The stakes are high on both sides. The outsourcer gives up his precious asset, the brand, and the outsource parts with his right to operate alone. In the end, implicit trust is at the cornerstone of the relationship between an outsource and an outsourcer.
1. Which of the following is a disadvantage of outsourcing?
1) The relationship of partners are at stake.
2) The quality of the business is always on the higher side.
3) It is very difficult to control the quality.
4) The profit margins are low.
5) None of these
2. What compensation does the outsource expect?
1) The cost of maintenance should be borne by the outsourcer.
2) In the event of loss, outsourcer should buy back the stock.
3) For declining sales level, outsourcer should not be held responsible.
4) The ambience should be the responsibility of the outsourcer.
5) None of these
3. Outsourcing works best if
1) the relations between the partners are symbiotic. 2) the outsourcer accepts a submissive role.
3) high-cost ambience is maintained. 4) variety is sacrificed at the cost of high quality.
5) None of these
4. What prohibits entrepreneurs to take up new outsource?
1) Dominance of outsourcer 2) Fear of losing existing business
3) High overheads in maintaining ambience 4) Uncertainty in reaching the sales target
5) None of these
5. What puts off customers?
1) Lack of ambience 2) Unhealthy competition 3) Poor quality standards
4) Absence of variety 5) None of these
Directions (Q. 6-8): Choose the word/phrase which is most nearly the same in meaning as the word/phrase given in bold as used in the passage.
6. shut your eyes
1) look over 2) sleep 3) avoid storm 4) winking 5) overlook
7. rub off
1) jealousy 2) rivalry 3) impact 4) pressure 5) publicity
1) entrepreneurs 2) sportsmen 3) workers 4) partners 5) politicians
Directions (Q. 9-10): Choose the word/phrase which is most opposite in meaning to the word/phrase printed in bold as
used in the passage.
1) explicit 2) candid 3) clear 4) inbuilt 5) outspoken
1) progressive 2) weak-headed 3) submissive 4) laid-off 5) hostile
The author says “there’s a perception that outsourcing could adversely impact the quality of service.”
If an outsource is unable to reach an anticipated sales level, he will be compensated for the balance amount.
3. (1) “It’s like a marriage,” says general manager, marketing.
Very few enterpreneurs are willing to take on a new outsource, unless it comes with a guarantee of a certain level of sales.
The author says at one point: “This may put off consumers who seek variety.”