Andrew is currently the country manager of Hammerjack, outsource service solutions and cloud technology, which is a BPO based in the Philippines. It offers a range of specialized outsourcing services primarily to Australian SMEs and SMBs.
- Andrew is an English guy with 12 years rich experience working as enterprise and corporate level outsourcing provider. To know more about Andrew’s professional background, you may visit Episode 165.
- Andrew and the co-founders of Hammerjack banked on the need for SME focus seat leasing and staffing provider.
- Hammerjack is a single source for SMEs, providing full-managed outsource teams and affordable outcome-based service models.
- Andrew agrees that for a business to scale up, there is a need for governance and a structure that sits behind it. This is mostly impossible without a strong workforce.
- Hammerjack service model allows the sharing of top level management skills and skilled human capital that is available 24 hours, seven days a week at a lower cost to start-ups and SMEs in Australia.
- The challenge of start-ups and small businesses is business governance and a competent structure to support this governance.
- Hammerjack fills the need by sharing 24/7 top level management skills along with experienced pool of talents at the lowest possible cost for start-ups and small businesses to succeed.
- It’s easier to start-up a business when the objective is clear, and there is that outsource service provider with tailored-fit service models for easy and quick engagement.
Derek: Hi. And welcome to another episode of the Outsource Accelerator Podcast. My name is Derek Gallimore, and this is episode number 170. So today, I have got back Andrew Mault of Hammerjack. He is an English guy who has worked across the world in enterprise and corporate level outsourcing for the majority of his career. We actually spoke to Andrew Mault earlier about his long career. And that’s in episode number 165, if you want to go back and listen to that. So today, we’re actually deep diving into Hammerjack, which is his specialized outsourcing provision, which is focusing on the SME market but offering enterprise level services. So, we’re not getting paid for this. This isn’t an infomercial, but I want to deep dive into this BPO so that I can show you what products and services are out there are and how they can help business owners and SMEs in the world. So, I learned a lot from this. I am sure, and I hope you enjoy this. And if you want any of the show notes, then just go to outsourceaccelerator.com/170. Enjoy.
Okay. Welcome back, everybody. Today, I’m excited to be joined by Andrew Mault again of Hammerjack, which is a BPO in the Philippines servicing primarily Australian SME and SMBs. It’s a specialized BPO where it’s more deliverable focused as opposed to the more stripped down basic seat leasing, which is becoming more and more prevalent in the Philippines now. So, it’s fantastic to have you on board, Andrew. How are you?
Andrew: I’m really good. Thank you, Derek. How are you doing today?
Derek: Fantastic. Fantastic. And, of course, we interviewed you a little bit earlier, and we sort of deep dive into your background. So, if anyone wants to hear more about that, of course, go back and listen to that episode. So just to recap, you were a co-founder of Hammerjack about three years ago because you saw a specific need in the market. So, can you give us, I suppose, an introduction to who you are and then an overview of exactly what Hammerjack is.
Andrew: Yes. Sure. So, my name’s Andrew Mault. I’m the country manager of Hammerjack. I’ve been working in operational management for the last 20 years. Been working in outsourcing for about 12 years. And I’ve been based here in the Philippines for the last five years. So, my background is enterprise outsourcing services, working with some of the bigger, larger companies and globals, providing outsource teams and outcome-based models. And I guess Hammerjack was born of that thinking and that capability. So, as you mentioned, there are many providers over here, thousands of providers over here. The bigger players, who we all know, the big five or six players out here, well, they’re not interested in dealing with the SME space. They’re not interested in the one and two deal seats. And that’s because it doesn’t suit their model. So, the opportunity or the choice out here for SMEs is fairly limited. And as you mentioned, it has been up until recently and still the biggest probably is around seat leasing and staffing. So, we took that enterprise type space and that capability, and we’ve taken that capability and experience to the SME market. So that’s really what we’re looking to do as Hammerjack.
Derek: Fantastic. And so, I talk about this a lot. I call it the democratization of outsourcing in that outsourcing previously was only accessible to the big boys, a little bit like kind of tax advantages and hedge funds and things, but now, it really has been available to SMEs for the last 5 to 10 years. But a lot of that you see really just in a stripped-down form, which is effectively seat leasing and staff leasing. But you are offering the full service BPO, which I really do admire. And I see huge value in this because people can access cheaper resources in the Philippines, but they’re actually, through you, buying huge value-added services because they’re not just getting the person to execute. They’re actually buying into your company and your corporate expertise and process expertise and getting things done for the business. Yes. So, people are effectively buying into your executional expertise.
Andrew: Correct. Yes.
Derek: And so what sort of processes can they do? I mean, are you a one-stop shop for any sort of operational process or…? How does it work?
Andrew: Yes. I think, well, probably, just to retouch back on what you were saying just around where the opportunity is and what we’re looking to bring, I guess where it’s born is around the fact that we’re outsourcing experts. Outsourcing, being very good at outsourcing and providing a high-performance service, it takes experience. We’re seeing a lot of small businesses that are coming over here, hiring two staff, and off they go. And that’s great, and it can work, but we’re really saying and asking the question, “Well, why are you choosing two people? What are you trying to achieve? What are your objectives?” So, it’s really about saying, “Well, hang on. What are you trying to achieve? Let’s talk about a service model that gets you where you want to be,” as opposed to, “You need two people.” So sorry. Just to reiterate, I guess.
Derek: No. Yes. Yes. Yes. Absolutely.
Andrew: That’s fine. Well, what was your question again?
Derek: But I mean, that’s where things kind of blur, isn’t it? Because you could effectively be running the organization or the operation for the person if you took it to the furthest extent. And then also through that kind of bigger picture, what do you want to achieve, it almost then moves into a kind of management consultancies sort of role as well, doesn’t it? Do you find that it is difficult to know where the lines stop? I suppose it would then vary from partner to partner, would it?
Andrew: Yes. Well, it does. And I think it’s all about expectation setting. No difference to big business, but very important to set those expectations around what you do deliver and what you don’t deliver. There’s a lot of handholding. So, I should make it clear, I guess. There are two key service offerings that we provide. And one is that full managed bespoke service where it’s around understanding the problem they’re trying to solve and even getting into their business in Australia, if need be, documenting processes, managing the project transition, developing the governance that will support the performance of the offshore team in executing. And we’re not talking teams of 50 and 60 here. We’re talking teams of two, three, and five plus, so that’s really the big difference for that model. The other side of this service model that we offer is taking the capability that we learn in an enterprise space and allow people to tap into that. It’s a kind of lite version of our managed service. It’s what we are as a single source for SMEs, whether they want to try live chat, we have live chat at our website, whether they want to do direct marketing, if they need to do bookkeeping or collections, we have some packages and services that tap the enterprise capability and the skilled shared workforce that we have here. So, for those that aren’t ready to take the full plunge and build their own team, we actually offer a subscription model, which is just purely built around a set of agreed outcomes.
Derek: Right. And they can just kind of choose from many and plug in different functions and services. Yes. It’s quite…
Andrew: Correct. And they literally can flip a switch, and we can have them up and running in days. Yes.
Derek: And again, they’re tapping into your expertise because a lot of SMEs and SMBs, they come over to the Philippines and think that going from a first world to a developing world, they’re going to be calling all the shots, but I think, often, people can be very surprised to find that in the Philippines, there’s a huge amount of, as you say, process mapping and SOPs and very structured processes, because I think the staffing over there appreciate more structured environments, but also, they’re educated. And the whole industry is based around very sophisticated and structured processes. So, if you agree with me or not, but a lot of the SMEs that come over to the Philippines are actually forced to go through a maturation themselves and become a lot more structured and fortified in terms of their processes. Do you find that it’s quite a bit education piece for you to take these companies through this and get them ready to kind of, I suppose, scale their operations?
Andrew: Yes. Everything you said was right. There’s all that governance we would refer to I guess. It exists here. It’s mainly in place because it’s required. Any business requires governance. And as a business, especially a business that wants to scale needs governance and a structure that sits behind it. A lot of these small businesses don’t have that because they don’t have a workforce. They have a business owner and maybe one or two other people. They’ve got a concept, or they’ve got an idea that works. We’re able to put up I guess the full force of the workforce behind that idea and support that. What we find I guess is that people get a little bit excited when we talk to them and we say that we’re going to give them a change management process. We would document all of their processes and manage every change, which will create a training and facilitator’s guide, because they don’t expect this, and they certainly don’t have it in the house. So yes, there’s an education piece. One, I think they’re surprised. To see their capability this year. And for us, I think the stuff we’re talking about, whereas it can be a little bit overwhelming, this is the stuff you need in your business if you’re going to be successful and if you’re going to scale. And every business that’s been successful has governance and structure that sits behind it.
Derek: Yes. It’s fascinating to see, isn’t it? Because a lot of the drawcard to outsourcing is that you can save money. And, being frank, there is a requirement to save money. Otherwise, you wouldn’t bother. But it’s really not about the money saving. It’s about all of the sophistication that you’ve been talking about. And it’s about the kind of processes that can really take a business. And I sort of preach that it’s not just about the cost savings, but it can really add rocket fuel to your business. And it can boost innovation and growth. And there’s all this potential partly because you have cheaper resources but also because the Philippines has been doing this for 25 years. And there’s Hammerjack and other sort of operations out there that can really add their expertise into the business. Yes.
Andrew: Correct. Yes. So yes.
Derek: The big boys have always been outsourcing because they have very solidified processes, and they have maybe 1,000 people doing the same thing in one room. But how do you find that works with young, nimble startups where the processes really haven’t been established, and as soon as they’re established, they need to be broken and redone? How do you see that sort of misfit potential?
Andrew: Yes. Look. I don’t know. Oh, I work with many large businesses, very global and large Australian firms, and they’re not as organized as one would think they would be. They learn a lot when they come over to the Philippines or when they outsource even in Australia. So, they don’t quite have the processes and the structure that maybe a lot of businesses, you would expect them to have. I guess the way we counter that for a small business is no different to the big BPOs we’ve invested heavily in the top level of management and skilled resources that we’re able to tap the different thing that is shared across all of our customers. So that’s lower cost that allows us to provide that same managed, end to end type output-based model at a lower cost as opposed to, in a large BPO, I might have a change management, or a process or transition person dedicated to one account. So that’s really the only difference.
Derek: Right. And I suppose as well, you might not have to scale within one SME if they want to do chat support, but you have scaled across all of your clients, so you’re getting the scale from there, but the client can effectively tap into it.
Andrew: Yes. And we’re running 24 hours, seven days a week. So that, as I say, is a skilled group that are ready just to be tapped into, as you mentioned.
Derek: Yes. We take that for granted sitting in Manila, but I think in the West, you couldn’t pay, you couldn’t get anyone to work 24/7 in the West anymore, could you? Whereas it’s so standardized in the Philippines now. And it’s such a powerful addition to any business, isn’t it? If you can kind of operate or interact with prospective clients 24/7, it has huge benefits.
Andrew: That’s right. And I think the other benefits are what can be done once everybody’s sleeping in your business or when your business is sleeping. So, people are all about data and analytics. So, to get real data and good analytics, you need up-to-date data. So, there are jobs that are being done as your business closes its door walls on a Monday evening, are being done overnight so that when you wake up Tuesday morning, it’s in your Inbox, all the reports, on your mobile phone. So, there is that. And I guess one of the other things we’ve noticed is things like live chat, for example, we see most activity and most sales activity after hours because that’s when people are shopping. And then people in Australia, they shouldn’t be shopping whilst they’re working. They’re shopping after hours. As you mentioned, try, and you can get people to work after hours in Australia. It’s very expensive. But generally, people aren’t looking to do that as a career. And I think probably worth pointing out that, I mean, it can often be misconstrued as the 365 days of the year, we’re working 24 hours a day. But it’s not to say there’s no work-life balance. It means that that lifestyle actually suits a great deal of our workforce. And obviously, they’re rewarded accordingly, so it’s a good fit for the country and it’s a good fit for our customers.
Derek: Yes. Very much. It is a win-win. So fantastic. And so, of course, how do people engage with you? Is there a menu of services? Do they just initially chat and then you did a kind of needs analysis? Or what is the common pathway of people who are interested in your services?
Andrew: Well, as what I’ve mentioned, we’ve got two kinds of key offerings. Our managed service, our inter-managed service, we’re really talking to customers that have already made a decision that they want to move offshore. They probably got an objective or something they want to achieve. We’re not selling offshoring. We’re outsourcing. And we’re outsource service providers. And when people know that they want to make that move, I guess we’re talking to them and to understand what they’re trying to achieve, and we’re showing them a roadmap along with all the costs. So, transparency around what are those costs aside from the resource costs so that they’re getting a clear picture of where they’re going to get to. The other side of it, as I mentioned, is those kind of the lite series, or the out of the box type products, which they’re a lot easier to tap into and for people to maybe try outsourcing or just to relieve a headache that they have in their business so they want it to be low cost. They’re more of the kind of businesses that we find that they find our products and they kind of sign up and give it a go, and they kind of are off in a couple of weeks. So that’s kind of how it goes with us.
Derek: Fantastic. That is really important, isn’t it? I’m encouraging more and more BPOs to have products that people can just engage with quickly because they sort of… people need to just dip their toe and get started, don’t they? And if you just kind of approach people with a massive kind of onboarding program and a massive commitment upfront, then there’s going to be points of friction whereas if you have those kind of easy engagement points, it just gets people started on the journey a lot easier and quicker, doesn’t it?
Andrew: That’s right. Keep it simple. Share what they can expect to get out of it, and then people are more likely to kind of give it a go. Yes, I couldn’t agree more.
Derek: Fantastic. And so, of course, if people do want to reach out to you or want to know more about Hammerjack, how can they do that, Andrew?
Derek: Amazing. Thanks so much. And all of that will be in the show notes. And it’s been a pleasure.
Andrew: No worries. Thanks again.
Derek: Okay. That was Andrew Mault of hammerjack.com.au. If you want to get in touch with Andrew or know any more about Hammerjack, go to our show notes, which is at outsourceaccelerator.com/170. And of course, if you want to ask us anything, then just drop some email to [email protected]. See you next time.