Vendor Management: Is It Time for a Change?

Evaluating Suppliers Is It Time for a Change? Vendor Management Changing Suppliers

Just the thought of switching suppliers can be unbearable. Whether it’s your office copier, your tax accountants or perhaps your staffing partner, the effort required to undo and then redo a long-standing relationship can seem more trouble than it’s worth. Or is it?

If you’ve ever led the charge for introducing an outside service provider into your kingdom, you know how it goes: meetings for gathering requirements, writing RFP’s, proposal reviews, presentations and decisioning; then more meetings for introducing the supplier to the organization with hearty smiles, handshakes and promises made all around; then even more meetings to explain how everyone will work together going forward in blissful harmony.

Eventually the meetings taper off. Supplier and client settle into their new marriage. The partnership usually starts strong. And as with any relationship, over the weeks and months to come, there may be moments… some big, some small. Moments of disconnect. Moments of miscommunication. Moments of mismatched or unmet expectations.

At some point, frustration can set in. Clients are, after all, clients. They expect a lot, and they usually expect more, not less, over the course of a relationship.

One day the client realizes that they’ve been muddling along with their supplier. All of those “moments” have formed a trend. Inertia sets in. For the client, conflicting thoughts flip-flop between “We deserve better than this!” to something like, “the 80 percent solution may not be great, but it’s okay for now.”

The partnership for the most part seems workable, especially if the thought of switching suppliers seems daunting.

But you don’t have to settle! We can’t speak for those who provide your office with copiers, or your marketing team with graphic designs, but we do have some thoughts on selecting a new staffing partner.

Changing SuppliersIn four humble steps, you can make a bold move. You can unlock the value your organization deserves
from a staffing & recruiting partner. Pass the heavy lifting of supplier evaluation back to the supplier.

Remember, in the staffing space you can say, “Prove it!” You can start small with as little as one job requisition. Even if the req is difficult, overall risk will be reduced because the newbie supplier is limited to just one opportunity.

Then, cut through the flowery talk and big promises. Ask for written plans to be delivered to you showing exactly how the prospective supplier will engage with your organization. Ask for a basic action plan: who will do what (exactly), and by when? What will be the deliverables?

When it comes to costs, look for simple explanations and complete transparency. In a competitive field like staffing, there are well-established methods for pricing services with fees. Ask for help from the prospective partner in understanding how to evaluate the potential value they promise bring (what you receive for what you pay). Have them make it easy for all – a few key metrics can define success.

Finally, ask for references and testimonials. The best are those who have been (very) happy with their staffing provider over the longest possible timeframe. They should be enthusiastic and highly credible.

When it comes to suppliers, muddling along might mean it’s time for a change. Or at least considering one. If so, make it easy on whomever will lead the way. Before you break up, evaluate your next partner using a few small steps.

No one has to muddle. You deserve better.