Highlights from the 2011 CWS Summit
I had the opportunity to attend the 2011 CWS Summit in Las Vegas with a number of my Staff Management | SMX colleagues earlier this month. The Summit featured a variety of interactive panels, program topics and speakers for contingent staffing buyers and other attendees.
One highlight of the Summit was moderating the roundtable discussion “Driving Program Return on Investment.” Overall, the roundtable discussions were highly attended and there were many remarks that the discussions were among the most valuable session of the conference. Attendees appreciated the quality time to meet face-to-face with their peer group at other companies. Thanks to the discussions, they now have a new network of people to discuss common questions and strategies with.
An area of interest that came up frequently during the roundtable was how to achieve savings both in the early stages as well as the more mature stages of an MSP program, in particular with regards to supplier bill rates. We discussed many sourcing strategies that involved when you should narrow the number of suppliers you use versus when you should expand the number of suppliers you use in order to achieve savings while
maintaining quality and high levels of service. Another area of interest was the importance of having transparency to each of the components that make up supplier markup rates and how to go about creating that transparency. Transparency is necessary so clients can objectively determine that there were competitive pay rates and determine the investment that the supplier would make in things such as recruiting, retention, service team and profits. Capturing 1099 and SOW spend into the MSP program was also an important discussion topic.
Chris Abbeduto, Vice President of Vendor Managed Services, was a featured speaker on the panel discussion “Transforming Your Supplier Relationships” along with our client Ron Davis, Senior Manager, Consulting and Labor Services, Dells Inc. and Jennifer Wilson, Contingent Workforce Manager, Nike. The panel was a great success; we heard from the hosts after that it was by far the most interactive of all the panel discussions! There were many great questions from audience participants.
One of the audience participants had a question directly for Chris Abbeduto – he asked, “We have an existing MSP and from the discussion taking place during this session it seems like we are not getting everything that we could from our MSP. Chris, could you please explain what you think an MSP should be providing its customers?” To summarize Chris’ answer, an MSP should be easily accessible to all of the users of the program with a high level of customer service. An MSP should also be an advocate to the entire supplier network so that the company’s objectives and culture and translated to the supplier base. Customers should feel that the MSP and its supplier network are all in tune with each other. In particular, MSPs should be very forward thinking and should make the data that is captured in the program come alive and be made applicable to the company’s objectives. An MSP should work with the customer to bring 1099 and SOW spend under the program umbrella to further mitigate risk.
Our client, Margie Durham, Director, Global HR Services, Dell was also a panelist for the discussion “Going Global: Lessons from the Trenches”. A main theme discussed was the importance of understanding local requirements and having strong program sponsorship both in the U.S. as well as locally. Another strong point from the panel was that you must make sure you are expanding globally for the right reasons. Make sure that the return on investment is there before you invest in going overseas.
An underlying theme within the breakout sessions and during the conference was that the buyer community was very forthcoming this year about their rise in expectations of staffing program and that they are actively considering making a change to their current programs. The mix is more balanced between new entries to the MSP space, established programs that are looking to improve their program using what they already have in place and a growing third group of those actively planning on evaluating new programs or their current programs against the competitive landscape. This tells us as providers that there is a heightened expectation of what MSPs need to be doing for customers.