Managed service providers are gaining increasing popularity with companies by offering clear cost savings while managing their entire Contingent Work operations; spanning the spectrum of temporary workers, 1099 compliant independent contractors and even Statement of Work (SOW) consultants. For a long time, the category of SOW consultants was dealt with as separate from other forms of contingent workers.. But, there is no gainsaying the fact that using VMS/MSP services for managing SOW offers distinct advantages and benefits. Let us look at the whole process of choosing SOW consultants and using them effectively.
Managers need to first decide whether they want an SOW consultant as the best option for the task at hand. Having made that choice, they must protect against the usual pitfalls of failing to set measurable targets and milestones linking to the satisfactory completion of the task. During the course of the project they will need to ensure supervisory oversight and decide upon who is to assume the risk t in the event of any execution failures – either of task quality or of deadlines.
Engaging a consulting firm or SOW-based project team is quite different from issuing an assignment for an agency-supplied contingent worker, and usually requires a much closer working relationship between the client and the consultant. However, in many cases neither the client nor the project team has a clear or a long term vision on how things should be structured. The use of structured solutions customizable to various scenarios and requirements has come forth to fulfill this gap in a very efficient manner.
Many customizable solutions in this field have established their capabilities and proved successful. Various models of work relationships, including time-and-materials, fixed price, and/or deliverables-based, provide a range of different choices for the best possible structure of work relationship to accomplish the task at hand. These solutions set the right expectations all around and define the parameters and various criteria governing the assignment. They also set smooth processes for communication during the course of the assignment and reduce the need for constant supervisory oversight on the assignment.
A Vendor Management System facilitates the process of managing the assignment from the time a requisition is issued through the end of the project. A ranking and comparison of competitive bids and SOW templates is possible within a VMS tool. The VMS tool can also facilitate 360 degree feedback from other departments, which may not have/need direct control over the project, if needed. The clauses and language of the agreement can be standardized to mitigate any risks. The process of allowing any third-party access to your company’s facilities and systems must be critically managed, and the VMS will control onboarding steps. Thus incorporating SOW projects in MSP/VMS could only lead to better management of the project from end-to end, greater visibility into the execution of the project based on various parameters like data management and customer service, and delivers higher productivity with superior cost control. This would also lessen the human factor in managing the whole show.
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