Insights from VMSA: Improving Supplier Relationships
By Karen Maarouf | April 26, 2017
Back in the office from the recent VMS Accelerators conference (VMSA LIVE) in Phoenix, Arizona, I'm reflecting on a highly informative and productive event. With its focus on engaged discussions - rather than one-sided presentations - it provided a great opportunity for meaningful conversations.
I really enjoyed connecting with industry influencers and participants (and particularly the many staffing leaders who wanted to pick my brain about best practices...I don't think I've ever been so popular!).
Spotlight on Supplier Performance
As ZeroChaos' subject-matter expert on supplier engagement, I represented the MSP perspective in a session with Michelle Cox, U.S. Cellular's Senior Manager of External Staffing and Vendor Relations. Later, I served on a panel of contingent workforce management industry leaders and clients. Both delivered lively conversation on improving communication and performance. Here are a few topics and pieces of advice we explored with the audiences:
1) Use activity as a feedback mechanism
One thing we tell suppliers is to use activity on your candidates as a feedback mechanism. If one candidate is chosen for an interview and another is not, go back and compare their resumes side by side. Interview your candidates after they interview to learn about the customer and their hiring process. Over time, you'll get better at understanding what makes some candidates acceptable and others not.
2) Know your strengths
3) Retention activities are key
As the contingent workforce grows, competition will only become more fierce. What are you doing to make your firm the supplier everyone wants to work for?
4) Get out in front of the quarterly review
Supplier performance is everyone's responsibility:
The formula for success hasn't changed, but what you need to do to achieve it has because of the incredibly competitive market we're all operating in. The key to a truly successful program is partnering with suppliers who are as invested in the success of the program as we are.
In the early days, MSPs served as barriers between suppliers and customers. Today, we're facilitators, helping to ensure each party has the data and culture to collaborate and succeed. When all three legs of the tripod - customer, MSP, and supplier - work together, all businesses thrive.
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