A surprising statistic at this year’s CWS summit showed a decline in the use of managed service provider services. This leads me to believe that more companies are electing to go it alone and manage their contingent labor program internally. As a manager of an internal MSP program, I am thrilled to see this statistic. I think this is the beginning of the next generation of MSP, and I look forward to seeing next year’s survey results. However, even with this shift in buyer demand, there seems to be a philosophy within the industry that you must either use the full services of an MSP or not – there’s no happy medium. Buyers that fall into this mentality lose out on valuable industry expertise and suppliers lose customers as well as revenue.
Once a contingent labor program is implemented, process efficiencies are gained, and best practices are shared, buyers ask their MSP, “Now what?” The answer can be seen in the declining net promoter scores collected by Staffing Industry Analysts. As a program matures, buyers start thinking, “I can do this,” and I heard some buyers say this several times during the CWS conference. If they have the expertise and resources, I agree, there is no reason they cannot go it alone. However with a little help, they may be able to go it alone – a little bit better!
Smaller organizations feel like a small fish in a large MSP pond. They may not have large headcount and spend numbers to attract MSP suppliers or the deep pockets to pay for one but would still benefit from a program implementation. These types of organizations could be great candidates for going it alone. But while they may not need a full-fledged MSP, they would still benefit greatly from a partner that is willing to provide some guidance and advice, not do the work for them.
The next generation of contingent labor managers is seeking collaboration and expertise from their MSP partners, not necessarily a lifetime commitment. Suppliers of MSP services need to recognize this and develop new strategies to accommodate such next-gen buyers.