Reflecting on 3 Decades of Business Process Outsourcing with Art Zipkin
Art Zipkin, Chief Commercial Officer of DDC FPO, has worked in the business process outsourcing (BPO) industry since 1990. To honor his 20th anniversary at DDC, we sat down with Art to discuss the evolution of BPO.
How would you describe the state of business process outsourcing (BPO) when you joined DDC?
Twenty years ago, business process outsourcing was still in its early stages. Much of what was being done could only be done through limited technologies. BPO has and always will be about how fast you can get the technology to move, but back then, it was reliant on hardware.
What is one primary innovation that has fueled the BPO industry’s evolution into its current state?
Technology is continuously evolving, and the tools used to track operational performance have drastically improved. The ability to expedite processes and improve output with a wide range of software products has empowered businesses to be more resourceful and pinpoint other functions ripe for outsourcing. We’ve moved away from manual methods, embraced automation, and now utilize analytics with visualized dashboards to showcase real-time insights. These advancements have driven BPO to become the over 700-billion-dollar industry it is today.
Have the benefits of outsourcing evolved or expanded from a c-suite perspective?
Efficiency and quality are and always will be of the utmost importance. An advantage of working with organizations like DDC FPO is that we find the most efficient way to help our customers and make their daily life much easier. Your outsourcing provider should be your partner, meaning your success is also their success. Choosing the right partner gives you valuable time to focus on other essential aspects of your company.
Those in the c-suite didn’t get there by chance. They have worked hard to help their companies and businesses flourish and recognize that cost efficiencies are critical. Any time they delegate to a trusted business outsourcing provider, they get to give back to their company.
What was the perception of outsourcing 20 years ago, and what is the perception today?
The perception of outsourcing has come a long way. Twenty years ago, everyone was not exposed to outsourcing, so people were weary of its benefits, and not everyone was on board to give it a shot. Outsourcing is a big part of business today; only a few people know its benefits. I think this is because, as humans, we only have a view of what’s in front of us.
When did you notice this shift in the mindset begin?
It was such a gradual thing. This shift did not happen as an epiphany one day, but over time with more and more exposure. When the financial crash hit, many people opened their minds to outsourcing and became ready to explore it further. It was almost like it took this event to open people’s minds to the possibilities.
What is your most memorable DDC milestone for yourself or the company?
I remember when our CEO, Jan Trevalyan, asked me to start DDC FPO as a branch of The DDC Group. The DDC Group had been providing freight process outsourcing services before he asked me to take over this branch; however, he believed it was time to dedicate my resources to focus solely on growing DDC FPO as a business unit. Before anyone else could believe the DDC FPO story, I had to believe it. It was a massive moment for me, both personally and professionally. There was no outline for me to follow, I was essentially building this company from the ground up, and it continues to grow and evolve.
What’s the greatest challenge or obstacle you or the team has faced in the past 20 years? How was it overcome?
In March 2020, much like the rest of the world, the Philippines implemented lockdown measures without much warning.
During the onset of COVID-19, laboratories were nonexistent in the remote areas of rural Philippine (PI) provinces. Because of this, DDC rallied the support of sponsor partners and donors to assist with safety and medical equipment. In partnership with San Miguel Corporation, DDC launched what would be the successful implementation of a COVID-19 laboratory so that the local community could have access to testing. Our team in the Philippines understood the significance of their role in logistics and transportation and were dedicated to their job responsibilities to continue supporting our clients.
How does DDC FPO compare to other BPO teams you have previously worked with?
I have worked for several BPO companies throughout my career, but what sets DDC apart is how we operate. It is a large-scale operation that feels like a family business. The “one works for all” mentality is unusual in business but thrives at DDC. It allows everybody to take ownership of what they are doing and strengthens us because our people feel like they can grow. I believe people need to feel they can grow in their positions and handle their workload without being constantly told exactly what to do.
We have always been about providing quality service and keeping our customers as our top priorities. This is the most important thing any company can do. I love our approach and how we handle this, and I am fortunate to be a part of this team.
Congratulations on 20 years, Art!
For more information on DDC FPO and our suite of Freight Billing solutions, connect with us.