Order Fulfillment for Your MSP Program – Basic Blocking and Tackling

Blocking and TacklingPerhaps it’s because of my recent deep immersion into college bowl games and NFL playoffs that the phrase “basic blocking and tackling” has been on my mind. Recently, my beloved Giants exhibited proficient blocking and tackling, ultimately dismantling the high-flying Packers. Football games are won and lost in the trenches, and the winning teams are invariably those who perform the fundamentals with the greater results. (Segue alert!!)

Best-in-class Managed Service Providers (MSP) ensure that their programs adapt to the evolving needs of their clients. To that end, the MSP solution has expanded to include Statement of Work (SOW) engagements, 1099 management, and learning and development applications. And of course, the desire to “go global” is an ever-present consideration among multi-national customers. In the midst of these expansions and added complexities, it is important that one of the key, original objectives for MSP adoption – the acquisition of best talent – is not forgotten. “Basic blocking and tackling” for an MSP program provider will always include the ability to fill orders quickly, and to be responsive to volatile labor demand.

What are some key considerations regarding order fulfillment? Consider:

Communication: The connection between the MSP program’s point of contact and the customer’s users is vital to the successful fulfillment of orders where there is significant fluctuation of demand. Providing access to forecasting information, project deliverables and long-range schedules allows the MSP to communicate effectively to their supplier network. In addition to the practical benefit of allowing the suppliers more time to recruit, this open communication also instills a sense of confidence in the MSP among the suppliers and fosters greater trust among all parties.

Pre-Employment Screening: It is an accepted standard that some degree of drug and background checks will be conducted across all labor categories. However, as customers look to control costs and MSP providers seek to drive supplier adoption, an emerging consideration is to forgo drug and background tests for very short-duration assignments when high-volume orders are required with limited time to fill. Customers must carefully weigh the risks versus rewards of this solution, which encourages supplier candidate submittals by eliminating concerns of drug and background check costs that cannot be recouped, for potential application in select scenarios.

Analytics: A high performing MSP program needs to go “inside the numbers” to understand the root causes of turnover, late fills and open orders. This is often a collaborative process, as user managers can provide details regarding associate performance, work conditions, timing of order submittal, training and on-boarding. As the root causes are exposed, corrective action can be taken to improve fulfillment metrics.

Areas such as call centers, distribution centers and manufacturing facilities which typically are characterized by significant labor fluctuations create an even greater focus on this aspect of the MSP. A best-in-class, enterprise level MSP is not achieved the moment the program goes live. Basic blocking and tackling is not easy – just ask the Packers. But within the context of an MSP, the basics – filling orders on time with strong associates at the best value – cannot be compromised. Additionally, success with this program element may be viewed as a critical first step in the evolution of an MSP, and a precursor to global expansion and SOW engagements.