The subject of VMS arouses negative sentiments from most of the staffing suppliers I know — and for good reason. It’s not just about low margins. As staffing professional, we are reasonable human beings. Yes, we understand that the VMS does help the buyer of staffing services. At the same time, the tool creates a very negative environment. It promotes a culture of second-class citizens.
Clients or the managed service provider has a reason to limit contact with suppliers. Preferred suppliers can be aggressive and the customers want to streamline the endless questions that often accompany a job requisition. After all, that is what the tool is for. Clients don’t want to waste time explaining needs to a bevy of vendors.
At the same time, little if anything is done to clarify the questions that must be answered when a client requirement is entered in the tool. Who is responsible for this? Is it the MSP or the customer program office? These folks should be trying to make the selected vendors their best friends, as the vendor’s success is their success, too.
For example, let’s take a sample of requirements that are entered in any one day. Are the technical capabilities and soft requirements for a business analyst on a large data project the same as the technical capabilities for a business analyst on an SAP project? Likely not, but how do we suppliers know that our efforts are being spent in the right direction? How can we make sure we are looking for someone with the right skills?
I contend that recruiters waste 40 to 60 percent of their search time chasing something that isn’t what the client wants. There must be a client/VMS/vendor-friendly relationship that promotes a desire to a team victory and not an adversarial relation that exists in most VMS accounts that I am familiar with!
Unless a solution for this issue is found soon, vendors will be less and less interested in these arrangements as the lack of candidate status feedback, rate card constrictions and vague and sometimes completely fraudulent requirements make profit margins well below those necessary to continue to grow the business.