If you already use a Managed Service Provider (MSP), the question to ask is if you are deriving the most from that partnership. After all, your objective is all about change and improvement –the program should focus upon building on its strengths and weeding out the inefficiencies while factoring in new business developments.
When selecting an MSP, most companies focus on the value to be derived in the first year of the program. Interesting, given that virtually all program contracts are for a minimum of two years, with three to five years being the norm. Establish program goals for the overall program, with realistic expectations as to when you should realize each of these goals. Share these program goals with the MSP. In other words, help them to help you.
Every program seems to claim that their goals are:
Take this list a step further. Where are your actual pain points? What do each of these goals mean when applied to your company? How would you prioritize these goals? Companies that can clearly and specifically answer these questions can translate them into specific action plans and success measures that are included in contractual agreement with the MSP.
These are operational goals. They focus on day to day performance. What role should the MSP play in helping you to strategically use non-employees to strengthen your business? Are you looking for a relationship in which the MSP merely provides data that you can use to chart your course, or are you looking for an advisor?
In any case, the MSP should be able to provide enterprise-wide data on all aspects of the program. Through dashboards and reports, you should have access to on-demand details on the number and costs of contractors on assignment, the performance of every supplier, the status of all open requirements, and other critical operational factors. Be sure that the use of technology enables visibility into all processes, with two way communication, feedback and responsiveness.
If you are looking for the MSP to serve as an advisor, bringing new insights into industry developments and suggestions to meet your evolving requirements, you must institutionalize ways in which this will happen. In many programs, time is set aside during quarterly business reviews to discuss ‘future directions’. Far too often, the topic is preempted to accommodate deeper discussions of daily issues or the quarterly business review is attended by individuals who do not have responsibility for determining the overall workforce composition or potential program expansion. The best MSPs will want to establish a governance process that establishes relationships at strategic/executive as well as at operational levels. This requires a commitment on the part of your program’s executive sponsor to actively participate in the program on an ongoing basis. MSPs can offer expertise, industry knowledge, strategic insights and scalability in the services offered as well as consultancy on temporary labor legislation, labor market conditions affecting supply and demand, and technological advancements in the VMS space. To avoid complacency and stagnation, work with your internal teams as well as your MSP to define and manage a program that delivers specific, measurable value every year while establishing a foundation for future growth.
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