10 Unbeatable Tips to Build an Awesome Supply Base

Managed Service Provider (MSP) programs provide value in many ways ranging from strategic initiative management, workforce planning and overall customer service. Successful programs become ingrained in a client’s organization in ways that other service providers don’t. The visibility into spend and often time-sensitive and confidential information means the MSP has an overwhelming obligation to operate in an appropriate and effective manner.

One way that an MSP program can demonstrate overall value is to remain organic. The ability to remain organic relies heavily on the ebb and flow of an ever-evolving marketplace while maintaining a high level of performance. This post is focused on building the proper supply base to meet the needs of your client. As we all know, you are only as strong as your weakest link. In an MSP program the proper supply base can make or break your ability to meet client needs and ensure proper delivery.

Here are 10 tips for building a successful supply base:

  1. Scope: Seek to understand the client’s business. Is it consistent or cyclical? Are there any special projects or initiatives that could impact the supply base structure?
  2. Forecasting: Forecast overall annual spend to help determine the number of suppliers to vet into the program.
  3. Labor Categories: Determine the labor categories that the supply base needs to support. Does the client have needs in customer service/contact center, healthcare, sales, information technology or any other areas?
  4. Incumbents: Identify any incumbent companies that have current contingent labor and vet it if appropriate.
  5. Diversity: Work with the client to determine diversity goals and how the MSP program can help them meet these goals. This will help determine if you should investigate any businesses with diverse status such as woman-owned, minority-owned, small/disadvantaged, veteran-owned, hub-zoned etc.
  6. Partner with procurement: During the vetting and selection process it is important to partner with and have the buy-in of procurement sponsors. Depending on who holds the contracts they will be ready to help with any negotiations.
  7. Competition: In each labor category, focus on having suppliers of similar size, scope and bandwidth to drive competition and increase quality and lower cost.
  8. Process: Building a supply base should start with an RFP/ROI which will yield a short list of potential vendors and then move to the interview phase. This will allow each supplier to showcase what they are capable of.
  9. Document: It is important that during the vetting process you document the steps including the “why” behind selected and unselected suppliers.
  10. Level Set Expectations: As much as possible be realistic when outlining the needs of the client and timeframe for those needs.

As an extension of the MSP program, the suppliers are integral to success, so finding the right balance will turn a good program into a great program. Following these steps will help put together the best supply base structure to meet your client’s specific needs.

This list is short but a good deal of ground was covered. What do you think? As a client, how can suppliers best meet your needs? Suppliers, what would you add? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

Tom Stover

Tom Stover
Tom is a program manager with Allegis Group Services . Tom has been with the company, in some capacity, for 5 years and his prior experience includes being on the National Recruiting Team, Senior Recruiter/Lead for Aerotek.

Tom Stover

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