Partnership, Process and Trips to Parliament: The Key to Supply Chain Sustainability

BenWhat am I doing here?” was perhaps the first thought that came into my head as we joined some of the great and the good of UK business outside the House of Commons. In surreal situations like these, something between nostalgia and pride kicks in and you find yourself asking what chain of events could possibly have led you to where you are now.
It’s been that kind of year. Back in October 2015, we were named RPO/MSP Company of the Year at the APSCo Awards. It was another point where you start thinking about all the things that got you there: all the hard work, all the decisions, all the people.
Standing in the shadow of one of the world’s most iconic buildings, I realised the thing that had won us that award had also taken us on our jaunt to Westminster. In two words, supply chain. In one word, partnership. Without wanting to get too existential, the two are inseparable. An effective supply chain should be a key component of any managed service business. And behind that, our relationships with our recruitment supply partners are crucial to our success. I can feel an acceptance speech coming on.
Which brings me nicely back to the House of Commons. We were there for the Recruitment Industry Disability Initiative (RIDI) debate on increasing the inclusion of disabled talent in the workplace. With our CEO Melanie Forbes arguing that lasting change would only be possible through collaboration, the debate concluded that recruiters and employers must work in synergy in order to bring about real change. There’s that word again. Partnership.
Partnership is part of everything we do. Our participation in the Commons debate followed our recognition as the UK’s first disability-confident RPO/MSP provider. If we can use this status to get all of our strategic partners and clients involved too, we’ll certainly have done something right.

The chain concept

The concept of a supply chain is pretty obvious if you work in industries like retail or manufacturing. But supply chain’s an interesting term when it’s applied to recruitment. In our industry, we have our clients on one side and our candidates on the other. The recruitment supply chain is about bringing the two together and we bridge the gap between employers and recruiters. By proactively building productive relationships with a select group of recruitment experts, we’re able to simplify and motivate that supply chain.
In a recent report from the Chartered Institute of Procurement and Supply (CIPS), employers identified “attracting the right people into the role”, “reducing the cost of recruitment” and “reducing the time to hire” as the three most important factors in choosing a resourcing model. At Guidant, we deliver these things consistently thanks to our recruitment supply chain. And it’s all underpinned by a passion that runs through our DNA – our leadership’s desire to support our colleagues in managing clients’ supply chains every day.
It’s all about introducing cultural and procedural measures that will help to build strong relationships throughout our operations. We’re candid with our suppliers about their part in our overall sourcing strategy. We drive strategic supplier relationships by aligning our contacts across all company levels. We incentivise them by encouraging healthy competition through a tiered supply chain. We also conduct scorecard reviews, enabling them to see exactly how they’re doing compared to their competitors. Depending on how they fill our clients’ vacancies, we enter our very best suppliers into our Strategic Partner programme.
So what can you do to cultivate an effective, sustainable supply chain?
First of all, never forget that your suppliers are often the frontline ambassador for your client’s brand. It’s some of the best third party advertising they could ever have. So ensure suppliers know exactly how your client would want to be sold to candidates.
Secondly, clearly communicate with your suppliers about the services you want them to provide. Don’t be afraid to share with them the objectives you have with your client and how you can achieve them together. The more of you are pulling in the same direction, the greater your chances of getting there.
Finally, openly commit to protecting the status of your preferred suppliers. Regularly review their performance and ensure they’re fully engaged. Incentivise them through exclusivity.
What do all these things have in common? You’ve guessed it. They’re about working together. They’re about partnership. And if you can use that partnership to give your clients the things they want most – good people, reduced costs, swift processes – then you never know where you might end up. 
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