When it comes to running a successful contingent workforce program involving industrial staffing, there are a lot of moving parts.

But what is the key to running such a program successfully? For starters: Maintaining a synergy between the contingent workforce program office and the facilities that use the workers.

“Most of our light industrial programs are removed from Kohler in Wisconsin,” says David Pittner, senior HR analyst at Kohler. “All of them use contingent labor, so we have to understand all of their unique needs and how they are going to use their contingent workforce.”

Creating a synergy starts with knowledge, and at Kohler that begins with understanding what each plant produces, whether it be shower doors, faucets, engines, etc., Pittner said. It includes understanding how the plants use contingent labor as well — is it purely for staff augmentation or is it used to create a recruiting pipeline? Synergies also require understanding of positions being recruited for as some jobs are more complex while others are easier to train for. Good job descriptions are required as well as good relationships with contingent workforce suppliers.

Or course, it includes staying in contact and working with hiring managers.

Pittner has been working in Kohler’s contingent labor program for the last 10 years and managing it for the last six years. And his tenure has helped in the communication — he’s the face of the program, and hiring managers know to turn to him. There is also a specific process for bringing in contingent workers, so hiring managers know the steps they need to take.

“For the most part, we keep very close to our standard operating procedure and require everyone to follow the same process,” Pittner said.

Another key is technology. Pittner says having a vendor management system has helped to make managing contingent workforce programs much easier. It’s especially a boon for his operations because he oversees four locations that use more than 100 light industrial suppliers each — one has more than 300.