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BPO tools are not so much physical items as they are services offered by a third party. Companies can outsource certain business processes to a third party, allowing this business to complete the activity for a specific fee. First, BPO tools may be either vertical or horizontal. Vertical tools take an activity from start to finish; horizontal tools complete correlated activities from two different activities. Commonly outsourced activities may be recruitment, sales, procurement, or accounting.
Each activity in a business typically has numerous tasks lined up in a specific order. Vertical BPO tools handle each of these single tasks in order to completely fulfill a company’s activity. For example, the procurement activity may have tasks such as supplier identification and selection, resource reviews, order placement and receipt of goods, and payment. The outsource company completes all these tasks as part of the vertical outsource process. Other activities have steps that fall in this manner, albeit the tasks relate specifically to the activity.
Horizontal BPO tools allow an outsource company to work across multiple activities when completing tasks. Accounting is a common activity that typically falls under the horizontal BPO process. For example, the sales department is often responsible for collecting payments from customers. The procurement department requests payment for suppliers who ship goods to the company. When the outsource business handles both of these tasks as part of the accounting activity, that is horizontal BPO.
Outside of each of these types of BPO tools, data entry or customer service is the most common outsourced activity. Data entry activities are typically common tasks that require the use of unskilled workers. Companies can outsource these activities in order to save time, capital, and effort on building payroll and maintaining facilities for employees to work. Call center services are a similar task outsourced for the same reasons. Without the technology, facilities, or ability to handle large volumes of customer orders or inquiries, BPO tools are the way to go when handling this activity.
When a company looks for outsource companies, BPO tools offer a variety of options. For example, a business can select an outsource partner that is local or international. Outsource companies may offer multiple services, such as call service, fulfillment, and mailer advertisements. Businesses can choose to bundle services with one outsource company or look to separate the activities. It typically takes some time to research the available tools when outsourcing activities.