The debate over vendor neutrality has raged on for more than a decade within the world of contingent staffing, with no clear end in sight. One reason for the length of this debate is likely the various definitions and applications of the word “neutrality” within the industry.
So what exactly does “vendor neutrality” mean here?
Vendor neutrality means taking a completely neutral and unbiased approach to operations, distribution of orders, billing, and communication– which is almost always done through a web-based system.
Some claim that vendor management can never be truly neutral, and many vendor management companies are doing everything they can to affirm these critical beliefs. While many organizations tout vendor neutrality, favoritism and flexibility often find their way into these same organizations’ practices.
Some companies even go so far as to use affiliated or sub-vendors–channeling the majority of their business to these companies and thus diluting their quality control and profits.
The improved quality of service that can be provided through a truly vendor-neutral approach is sure to build better business relationships, encourage longer-lasting contracts, as well as generate more long-term profit for all participants.
Along with these long-term benefits, all parties involved can look forward to the three, following day-to-day benefits, amongst many others:
In a vendor-neutral system, the competition that often takes place between the vendors and the vendor management company is neutralized.
Rather than being demoralized by constantly submitting qualified candidates, only to be beaten out by mediocre providers from “preferred vendors”, vendors in this system know that submitting qualified candidates as quickly as possible is the best way to have their candidates selected.
True vendor neutrality also means that vendors are not allowed to continually submit sub-par providers under the cover or excuse of a lower rate. These types of providers will be flagged, and not rehired. Vendors that continually submit these types of clients will likely lose their contract.
Rather than haggling with “preferred” vendors and providers about rates and availability while worthwhile candidates go unnoticed, vendor neutrality keeps all vendors highly motivated to submit valid providers as quickly as possible.
The first-come-first-serve basis on which candidates are screened and evaluated is crucial in motivating vendors to stay up-to-date on all new orders and openings. Competition for these positions inevitably breeds motivation amongst vendors.
Imagine one point of contact for all of the locations that you’re staffing, or all of the agencies that provide staff to; now imagine that they’re available 24 hours a day. The saved man-hours that this point of contact would grant you would already cover said contact’s fee.
Having one, unbiased point of contact for all aspects of staffing streamlines the communication process; true vendor neutrality ensures that said communication is equally available to all parties, and that there are no hidden motives behind it.
Without the hassle of rate negotiation and different billing processes for different vendors, a truly vendor-neutral organization is able to bill any number of vendors accurately and efficiently.
Gone are the days of tracking down different rates, given to different vendors for the same service. True vendor neutrality eases the minds of all involved by assuring them that their billing is not only fair, but accurate.