With more employers looking to reduce the cost of their contingent workforce, many are turning to technology to better monitor and manage flexible talent pools and the suppliers that deploy these workers. A Vendor Management System (VMS) is often the natural solution to this problem.
VMS software facilitates the procurement and management of contingent workers, providing the data and automation needed to get maximum value from an increasingly flexible worker population. But while a VMS may have all the ‘bells and whistles’ on paper, configuring it correctly for your business and its supply chain is no easy task.
In this article, we make the case for avoiding a DIY approach to configuring your VMS and getting a Managed Service Provider (MSP) to handle it for you instead.
Before we delve into the reasons why you should avoid configuring your VMS yourself, it’s important to stress that an MSP can do so much more than simply configure your VMS. An MSP will also take responsibility for:
- Full supply chain management
- Contingent workforce data collection
- Compliance review
- HR systems integration
- Change management
Read our blog on the differences between and MSP and VMS for more information on what to expect from each solution.
Here are the main reasons why you should avoid a DIY approach to VMS integration and utilise the knowledge and experience of an MSP instead.
Making informed decisions
There’s a wealth of VMS technology on the market for employers of all shapes and sizes. The challenge, though, is knowing which one is right for your company. For example, a solution may have creative tech integrations built in, but are they really necessary? Or is this an additional cost that you could do without?
Equally, it’s important that any VMS solution is adapted to suit your company, its existing systems and those used by its supply chain. Taking a solution that works for one business and shoe-horning it into your systems will create extra work and will likely impact not only the success of the VMS configuration, but also the timescale for roll-out.
This is where an MSP can add real value. They will have extensive experience of working with VMS providers and integrating VMS solutions across multiple businesses - and will know what is and isn’t feasible when it comes to fully optimizing a VMS to drive strategic business value.
Utilising the knowledge and prior experience of an expert
No one business unit can be the source of all workforce knowledge. Just as HR and procurement teams would utilise the expertise of employment lawyers before amending or reviewing contracts and health and safety experts when setting up an office in a new location, so too should these teams use the knowledge of an MSP.
As the old adage goes, ‘you don’t know what you don’t know.’ If VMS integration is new for you or your firm, it’s difficult to know what questions to ask. As a result, you may get a solution that can provide an element of what you need, but doesn’t really meet the true requirements of the business. Or perhaps, you have the internal expertise to configure the VMS for your current needs, but not to ensure the configuration is scalable to include other geographies and business units.
An MSP will bring years’ of experience in configuring Vendor Management Systems in other businesses, seeing what works well in specific situations, to make recommendations for yours. This knowledge is crucial to getting a programme that provides real value.
Finding the root of the challenge
Similarly, the fact that you and your colleagues are so embedded in the company can make it harder to identify what you really need from a VMS. HR and procurement teams, who deal with the workforce, suppliers and line managers on a day-to-day basis, can find it difficult to step back and independently assess where the challenges are and how they can be overcome.
The benefit of using a Managed Service Provider is that they use their independent perspective to identify the optimal configuration for your VMS, as well as the experience to know what will and won’t work for your business. While the VMS provider's solution consultants can guide you on the technical aspects of implementation, a good MSP will ensure that the VMS is configured for your unique environment, workflows, supply strategy, and culture.
This approach prevents employers from adding extra layers to bad processes, saving time and money in the long-run.
Strategic MSP partnerships
An MSP solution will include VMS technology and will often include supplier-funded options, which is just one more reason why using the resources and knowledge of a Managed Service Provider makes so much strategic sense for employers of contingent workforces.
But don’t just take our word for it. Read some of our customer success stories to find out how we deliver results.