From working from home to health and safety practices, the Covid-19 pandemic has ushered in vast changes around the world. With a contingent workforce that is scattered and isolated, visibility into their virtual comings and goings is critical for CW programs. Hence, having a tool like a vendor management system providing visibility into your program is more vital than ever.

A decade ago, the story was about larger companies turning to the VMS in order to track candidates and set limits on billing rates for staffing companies. Today, for companies that do not have a VMS in place or whose VMS is up for review, I have some good news for you: This lockdown may make implementing a VMS easier than ever.

We have heard from organizations that have gone through an RFP process and are indeed implementing significant instances of VMS. They tell us that the process has been more efficient as a virtual/remote process. One of those companies had prior, traditional implementation experience and recently conducted a virtual implementation post lockdown, and relayed that the post-lockdown implementation has been more productive than the pre-lockdown one.

In fact, a recent SIA webinar included a case study showcasing the benefits of doing an implementation at this time.

As you contemplate whether your program should also look into implementing a VMS, here are some things to take into consideration.

  • Define needs. Build a comprehensive, functional specification for your requirements that the VMS will need to deliver, focusing on what the technology can do for you, rather than the technology itself.
  • Scope. If a total talent acquisition strategy is your end objective, be sure it is within the capabilities of the systems you are considering awarding the contract to.
  • Integration points. Consider process integration points thoroughly and build these into your requirements.
  • Tech specifications. Meanwhile, double-check the version of any technology that would need to integrate with the system, as VMS technology sometimes is not able to integrate with older versions of ERPs.
  • Pricing. Consider a license pricing approach for the VMS versus the more traditional spend on the management.
  • Training. Explore the intuitiveness of the VMS itself to minimize the necessity for user training. Where training is necessary, does the VMS have good-quality, in-built assistance?
  • Worker types. If your business involves significant light-industrial workers, consider how the VMS will best manage this.
  • Roll-out. If your end objective is to roll the VMS out over multiple countries, be sure to have these discussions and negotiations at the outset rather than waiting until the expansion is needed.
  • Roadmap. Understand the VMS providers’ committed roadmap of development.
  • Beyond staffing firms. Consider the online talent economy and integrations to take advantage of automation.
  • Enhancements. Understand how the VMS providers enhance their technology so that the human being adds value rather than performs repetitive, mundane tasks.
  • Real-time bids. If you wish to engage with competitive bidding on job reqs, explore the possibility of real-time competitive bids and re-submissions of candidates.

As the work-from-home phenomenon evolves, programs will continue to need the visibility into their workforces that VMS can deliver. These are just a few of the items you might want to consider when going out to tender and RFP for such a system.