Global Sourcing Association
The Global Sourcing Association
The Home of the Global Sourcing Standard


Sourcing is specialization. A system by which a process, function, good or service is provided to a firm by a third party, sourcing allows a company to do what its good at.

It is much more than contracting out – a true sourcing approach means:

The modern business world is an sourcing economy, where a firm can concentrate on what its good at while working alongside others to complement a firm and allow it to deliver its true potential. Why do something yourself, if someone else can provide the service faster, cheaper and to a fantastic quality (after all, that is what they specialize in). Firms are focusing more on their core business to deliver the best possible product to their customer, creating a rapidly growing sourcing sector.

Don’t think sourcing is always global, often it’s local with firms working together in hubs and in local communities. But the idea remains the same, do what you are best at and work with people who are the best at what you need.

Sourcing works! Utilising superior sources of knowledge and diversified and specialist skills allows for greater efficiency and allows companies to achieve their full potential. sourcing is being free to focus on what you are good at, sourcing is the ability to grow and succeed, sourcing is specialization.



The Global Sourcing Association is celebrating its 30th Anniversary this year. In those 30 years, the association has grown from a spark of an idea to being the pre-eminent promoter of sourcing.

Although outsourcing as an abstract concept is older than the Roman Empire, the modern incarnation of outsourcing – with its IT-enabled influence on business processes has really come to the fore over the last 20 years.

Outsourcing was once a radical concept

In May 1987, in the Telecom Tower, London, a radical idea was floated - British Rail should get British Telecom to handle its telecommunications capability.

British Rail managers wanted some reassurance that outsourcing worked and a body of evidence was requested, to prove this new idea was possible.

In the end, the deal didn’t come off, as British Rail was soon to be privatised, but the seeds of The National Outsourcing Association were sown.

Nick Kane from British Telecom, and David Rayner, of British Rail, as well as representatives of GEC, Unilever, Trafalgar House, France Telecom got together and held regular meetings as a forum for comparing notes on experiences – this began the body of evidence which the NOA continues to develop to this day.

A Snapshot of the Late 80s

In 1987 outsourcing was limited to on-shore, mainly in telecommunications. Only when the telecommunications markets were liberalised from the early 1990s onwards did outsourcing really start to take off. Coupled with the rise and rise of computing power and application software it was possible to achieve significant cost savings, quality and rapid deployment benefits by outsourcing. However, the contracting vehicles were not very sophisticated and many customers and suppliers found themselves in contracting muddles leading to dissatisfaction, issues which are being progressively addressed to this day.

The Need for the NOA

The NOA was a response to a growing need for both outsourcing customers and suppliers to share ideas, review successes and failures, and stop re-inventing wheels. In doing so creating a body of expertise and best practice that could carry the industry forward.

As more and more organisations looked towards outsourcing to obtain strategic business step changes, The NOA was among first to recognise that alignment of organisational business objectives was arguably the most important factor in outsourcing.

The NOA Today (The GSA)

Currently we have over 300 corporate members which are split into three member categories: buyers, suppliers and support service companies. A large number of members are blue-chip user organisations - some managing the largest European outsourcing deals. We also have 18,000 individual contacts and are currently rolling out a new individual membership level. Today we have an even ratio of buyer : supplier corporate members (50:50).

In 2016, the NOA rebranded itself as the Global Sourcing Association (GSA) to reflect the international reach of the group and to respond to growing requests from foreign destinations for market support.

Whether you need a skilled outsourcing professional or wish to become one, the GSA is the leading body for developing the outsourcing profession and industry.


As the principal ambassador of best practice and home of the Global Sourcing Standard, the Global Sourcing Association (GSA) is committed to promoting the highest standards of business practice, ethical behaviour and professional conduct.

This Global Sourcing Industry Code of Conduct defines the minimum standards of professional and business behaviours expected from our members and sets the bar for the broader sourcing industry. But more than this, the Code sets out the clear intent for the sourcing industry to consistently work within an agreed framework of best practice, in order to improve and sustain the reputation of the industry and to attract the best professionals to work within it. The Code sets out the standards and behaviours expected from employees and organisations that buy, supply and advise on sourcing and sourcing-related services.

The Global Sourcing Industry Code of Conduct guides sourcing professionals to high standards of ethical behaviour whilst differentiating members as industry leaders in sourcing best practice

View the Global Sourcing Industry Code of Conduct.

The Global Sourcing Association
The Home of the Global Sourcing Standard