Abstract dark blue mesh visual showing the connectivity of a VMS.

Best Practices For Implementing A VMS

When it comes to managing your organization’s extended workforce, step one is to identify and implement a vendor management system (VMS).  A VMS coordinates and automates processes to manage your extended workforce, which can help your businesses realize improved efficiencies, increase control, enhance visibility and optimize supply chain staffing performance. All of this can reduce the costs associated with your extended workforce management program while setting you up to realize the full value of your non-employee workers. 

With this in mind, we’ve identified the best practices for implementing a VMS to maximize your return on investment (ROI): 

1 – Make optimizing non-employee talent an enterprise priority with a cross-functional steering committee

The most successful extended workforce programs make engaging extended workforce talent an enterprise-wide objective and have a cross-functional steering committee to drive the success of the execution of their extended workforce strategy. This team of executive stakeholders should include those in human resources (HR), information technology (IT), procurement and representatives from across the business to ensure alignment with business objectives. These stakeholders should also monitor progress, approve any changes related to scope or budgets, conduct conflict resolution, lead project strategy and be responsible for the overall task of getting the team to produce deliverables.  

This team is also responsible for properly resourcing the initiative and ensuring the right operational team and technology are in place. Assembling the right project management expertise and subject matter experts (SMEs) to help design the solution and change management experts to drive the success of the project is key. These key players also ensure that voice of the customer is heard while giving end users the proper representation. 


2 – Set business objectives 

Successful talent initiatives must first have clear scopes and business goals and then manage toward these objectives. Different organizations will have different goals. For some, cost savings is the primary objective of the program. For others, the priority may be to mitigate risk by better managing compliance with tenure policies alongside onboarding and offboarding processes. Many companies are also focused on improving the quality of the workforce by using a scoring system and supplier/candidate evaluations. Other common objectives include ensuring the adoption of a solution, so more spending is controlled under management and the time to hire is shortened alongside decreased onboarding times.


3 – Deploy a solution that meets your specific needs now and into the future

A VMS can be designed to support organizations of various sizes with different aims. A VMS can also be the system of record (SOR) for all non-employees while being tightly integrated with internal systems. Another option can entail being deployed for only certain locations for specific types of workers. In any case, the solution you wish to implement into your business should be specific to the unique needs of your company. Remember to keep in mind how quickly things can change within the business environment and the labor markets.

A focused and detailed business requirements analysis can help you avoid problems now and in the future. This is the process of discovering, analyzing, defining and documenting the requirements that are related to your specific business objectives. It’s the process by which you clearly and precisely define the scope of the project so that you can assess the timescales and resources needed to achieve these objectives. 

Getting what you want requires you to accurately define it – and an effective business requirements analysis helps you achieve this. It leads you to a better understanding of your business needs and helps you break them down into detailed, specific requirements that everyone agrees on. Additionally, it’s usually much quicker and less expensive to fix a problem or misunderstanding at the analysis stage than it is when the finished product is delivered. Keep this in mind as you consider how things might change in the future. 


4 – Manage change continuously 

Adoptions of enterprise solutions such as a VMS deployment will most likely change your organization’s culture. Therefore, it is necessary to address this important aspect throughout the implementation strategy. Determine how to effectively deal with change in your end-user community. Be prepared for issues such as resistance, criticism and confusion. The key to any change management program is communication, communication, communication! The project leaders and executive sponsors need to continually emphasize the importance of the project and its benefits throughout the organization.

With the growth of the extended workforce – now approximately half of the average company’s workforce, getting things right with your extended workforce has never been more important. In addition to these best practices for implementing your VMS, you need to choose a solution and partners with the experience and agility to design an implementation that fits your organization’s specific purpose, now and into the future.

Mark has over 25 years of experience in the workforce solutions industry. Mark has been responsible for implementing, operating, and transforming contingent workforce solutions for hundreds of organizations worldwide. Mark has also led technology teams that built and managed VMS solutions and other technology solutions to digitize and transform extended workforce solutions

Mark Zolkos

Managing Director, Flextrack