OK. Just over a year ago, I was the Managing Director of SUPERVALU Services India - a “captive” organization set up by SUPERVALU, the Minneapolis headquartered grocery retail and supply chain services organization.
We sold the captive in late 2010.
Having scaled the captive and then being intimately involved in the strategic task of selling it seemed to have positioned me rather uniquely in the eyes of folks who have either done a captive, are intending to do one, want to do theirs differently or simply want to acquire one.
On and off, formally or informally, I have been asked to give my thoughts and views on stuff like: “So is it better to have a captive or to outsource?”; “What works best for captives and what works best for third parties?”; “Does a hybrid model work?” etc etc
The more people-centric types (and I warm to them greatly for asking me these type of questions, because at the crux of this business is a serious people strategy) wanted to know how we managed the expectations of the team that went alongwith the sale of the captive, and therefore what were the lessons learnt.
All good questions.
Before SUPERVALU, I have run another captive, LG Soft India, that we converted into a successful P&L operation! So I guess my experiences are therefore both broad as well as unique, and hopefully my perspectives fairly well-rounded. I am sure I have some personal biases, but then don’t we all?
I therefore decided to start this blog….with the intent of sharing my views, hoping that it would provide a modicum of insight to organizations, and also to generate more comments and invite people to share their experiences.
As time goes by, and depending upon the response this blog and the comments elicit, I may choose to prepare a few slides and post them on the blog…for folks to use, debate, condemn, support, modify – in short use as they deem fit.
So to begin with I am going to give a very generic response to the following mutli-million dollar question:
“IS IT BETTER TO HAVE A CAPTIVE OR OUTSOURCE TO A THIRD PARTY”
And here is my very generic response:
“VALUE, LIKE BEAUTY, IS IN THE EYES OF THE BEHOLDER…….THERE IS NO GENERIC ANSWER TO THIS QUESTION, BUT THE PEOPLE AND SITUATION DETERMINE THE VALUE…..WHICH MUCH LIKE THE SANDS OF TIME, KEEPS SHIFTING”
I invite comments and thoughts.