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THE IMPORTANCE OF VENDOR NEUTRALITY AND WHY IT SHOULD MATTER TO YOU

 

Definition: Vendor Neutrality...

...is a business and design approach that seeks to ensure broad compatibility and interchangeability of vendors and technologies. The model encompasses standardization, non-proprietary design principles and unbiased business practices.

If you are a health system or hospital and thinking about how to better manage your contingent labor you have lots of choices. And if you have started to look at options you will find that each program has different characteristics to consider. Admittedly, there are lot of characteristics of a good VMS or MSP program in healthcare. However there is one characteristic that we think rises to the top every time: vendor neutrality.

Why it is important?

Avoid Vendor Lock-In: Is it ever good to have only one choice of anything? Of course not. Why should it be different for staffing agencies? Freedom to choose is the cornerstone of a competitive marketplace keeping costs down and quality high. Making vendors compete for your business every day is not only a good  choice for you but it keeps your vendors on their toes and focused on your business.  When you are free to work with any vendor you are always in control. And that is good.

Flexibility To Add New Vendors As Needed: Ever discover a vendor you like only to find out they don't play well in the sandbox with your Master Vendor? Not a great feeling. It's the opposite of empowering, It's debilitating. Only in a model that is open and vendor-friendly can you protect your organization and provide maximum flexibility to filling all job specialties with vendors of your choice. Why would you ever surrender control over vendors selection to anyone else?

Achieve True Scalability: Consolidate much? Going through an acquisition? As each healthcare system sees their footprint grow and expands business lines so does your need for vendors that can meet specialty demands and quickly. With a vendor-neutral solution, you can add service lines and grow your business knowing that your contingent workforce can quickly grow with you.

Gain Control Over Your Own Costs: There is no better position for a vendor than to have total exclusivity. Deals that once seemed good in a presentation or on paper vanish and what you are left with is "crisis" rates and costs spiraling out of control because no one supplier can meet your needs.  Let's face it, a shark is a shark, It is not in the interest of the Master Agency service provider to reduce rates nor is it in there interest to convert their employees to your payroll. They don't have to, You are under contract for years to come. In fact their stock price (and executive bonuses) depend on your rates going up. Only with a program that gives you access to the entire market and the ability to negotiate rates freely do you gain leverage and control over costs. You should never give that up however tempting it may be.

Reporting and Supplier Performance: Want to know what's really going on? Are all vendors seeing your orders? Or are some orders being hoarded by your Master Agency at higher rates? How does that benefit you? If you want to be alerted when order volume goes up unexpectedly, nothing is hidden in a vendor neutral program. Real time dashboards and reports are created and delivered to key stakeholders for instant view into contingent labor spending. And holding vendors accountable to Key Performance Indicators (KPI) gives you decision making power over who is in or out when it comes to earning your business. Stats speak loudly.  

What Makes HWL Vendor Neutral:

Even Playing Field for Every Vendor: All participating vendors get the orders at the same time and pay the same admin fees. 

Competitive Sourcing and Rate Negotiation: Market rate analysis are conducted to ensure rates are competitive and suppliers are engaged and committed to providing healthcare workers at the negotiated rate structures that are market competitive and a process that they are able to participate in.

Transparent VMS: Comprehensive oversight over who is filling your orders with quality and cost analysis reporting in real time. With a VMS system you have ultimate visibility into every minute detail of your contingent workforce program. All reports are in real time and delivered to key stakeholders.

Commitment to Agency Candidate Protection: This is a big one. VMS user licensing agreements that protects clients, vendors and MSPs by committing to not sharing candidate data. Only MSP employees, clients and vendors will have access to VMS system. A safe marketplace is one where vendors feel comfortable and safe in uploading their star candidates  into a system that backs their commitment in writing.

If the last decade has taught us anything it's that vendor neutral MSP and VMS programs deliver the most flexibility, choice, competition, transparency and cost control as compared to their Master Agency counterparts. Make the best choice for your organization and go Vendor Neutral!

 

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October 29, 2018/By Jeff Niles
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Author: Jeff Niles

Jeff is Vice President of Sales for Healthcare Workforce Logistics and has been in healthcare contingent workforce management for over 15 years. Prior to joining HWL he was VP of Sales and Marketing at ShiftWise, one of the largest providers of VMS in healthcare installed in over 3,000 hospitals in 50 states and the UK.
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