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The benefits of a Managed Service Programme: Creating an agile workforce

You don’t need to be a large organisation to benefit from engaging a Managed Service Programme (MSP) provider to ensure you are gaining maximum value and efficiency from the flexible component of your workforce. Shane Little offers his insights on what to look for in your MSP partnership.

There’s a common misconception that you need to be a ‘big business’ in order to engage an MSP provider. 

But over the last few years, the inquiries we’ve received for Managed Services have been fairly evenly split between large firms and small to medium-sized companies. I put this down to MSP solutions – or parts of them – being more easily accessible, improvements in technology and the growing ability of MSPs to operate with the necessary agility to suit today’s fast changing business environment, regardless of the size of an organisation. 

When delivered and run effectively, the contingent workforce program delivers all the same features and benefits to an SME as it does to a large organisation. 

Here’s my advice for what to look for when searching for your next strategic partner. 

A brief overview 

Under an MSP arrangement, an employer enters into a single contract relationship with an outsourced service provider to manage its temporary and contractor workforce. The MSP team is positioned between internal procurement or hiring managers and recruitment firms supplying contractors and temporary staffing solutions. 

The MSP is neutral and considers all stakeholders, technology and systems to create a level playing field for competing suppliers, so the client receives the best service at the most competitive price. 

Growing in popularity over the last decade, MSP arrangements were put in place to save companies time and money. An MSP should also monitor key trends, including changing skillsets and mismatches, as well as rate fluctuations to enable employers to reap the benefits while focusing their time on what they do best. 

What to look for in your MSP 

Any MSP provider you consider should have a proven track record, highly engaged staff and the right technology and processes to ensure maximum value to your company. 

The right provider has all these qualities plus: 

  • An effective network of downstream supplier relationships as well as an efficient supply management system.
  • A user-friendly technology platform to oversee your entire contingent workforce. 
  • The ability to create and drive market intelligence and cost saving initiatives. 
  • A well-defined authorisation process that captures all relevant costs and not just headcount. 

What your MSP should enable 

An MSP ensures you are getting the greatest value and performance from your panel of suppliers, as well as access to the best available contingent talent. 

Some of the best people prefer contract arrangements over a permanent role, so an MSP ensures you don’t miss out on seeding your existing talent network with experts able to really add value to the work you do. 

However, there are two other major benefits of having an MSP – reducing costs and ensuring your use of contingent talent is aligned to your wider people strategy.  

How an MSP can reduce costs 

Your MSP partners are experts in negotiating the best possible rates with suppliers - but that is only part of the story. 

The MSP team will also ensure the consistent application of statutory on costs; perform pay rate benchmarking keeps rates competitive. Your providers will also use data analytics to track and understand salary and payment trends over time, as well as leveraging data trends to accurately interpret modern awards. 

Using an MSP also means the removal of contractor administration fees. The team can also reclassify Statement of Work (SOW) spend into lower cost channels.

Making contingent talent part of your people strategy 

An MSP should support a holistic people strategy. 

Companies ‘going it alone’ rarely have the time or tools to include their contingent workforce in any strategic plans. 

Ingraining an MSP as part of your operational function provides real time visibility of your contingent workforce, unlocking access to quality business intelligence to inform the decisions you make. 

Data should provide a blueprint for action 

When we partner with our clients to build an MSP solution, we put data analytics at the centre of our strategy. Our focus on client challenges and our expertise in capturing and translating data into action is where we offer a superior experience. 

We configure the Vendor Management System (VMS) to provide a real-time picture of your contingent workforce and its costs - both current and projected. We customise intelligent dashboards to provide a summary of your program on a monthly and quarterly basis, and we interpret medium to long-term data to identify trends and opportunities for strategic decisions and improvements.

Next steps for your organisation 

Complexity demands agility. An MSP draws on robust data, deep understanding of the market and well-developed expertise to help you make the right decision, at pace. 



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