As the supply chain and procurement industry continues to become increasingly professionalized, with businesses all over the world waking up to the value of procurement, it creates a need for skilled professionals who can unlock the true potential and propel strategic growth. This is where Allegis Global Solutions (AGS) comes in. As a global talent solutions provider, AGS transforms the way the world acquires talent by delivering client-focused solutions that make a difference for businesses worldwide. AGS is the global leader in Workforce Management Solutions. This requires a deep understanding of a client’s requirements and expectations and AGS’ Supply Chain team plays a critical role in all of this. “We consult with our clients to ensure they are implementing innovative strategies that focus on risk mitigation, data governance and visibility, as well as operational efficiencies with their supply chain,” says Erin Hough, Senior Manager, North American Supply Chain at AGS. “What they want is to acquire the best talent, at competitive market rates and at the right time. AGS’ Supply Chain team provides the market insights and tools that our clients need in order to achieve this.”
As part of the company’s Supply Chain Management team, Hough is tasked with leading a team of consultants across North America. These consultants must ensure that its clients’ goals are achieved by having the best supplier partners providing talent in specific industries, geographies and skill sets. Over the course of her 13-year career in the staffing industry, Hough has held a number of roles across North America. Prior to joining AGS, she worked for a staffing firm providing sales and recruiting services. It was then that she first encountered AGS and the growing presence of MSPs. In 2012, she joined AGS to help grow the supply chain team. “Having experience with a staffing supplier supporting MSPs provided the right foundation for my role here at AGS. It set me up for success as I have a greater understanding of suppliers’ pain points, how hard they work, how difficult their role can be to find, secure and ultimately retain the right candidate,” she says. “It also helped me to understand how to coach and mentor a supplier if they were struggling in our programs and provide them with key guidance and support in order to be successful.”
Hough has seen first-hand the changing supply chain and procurement landscape, particularly in the way the company works with client partners. Historically, AGS would make supplier recommendations to its clients based largely on existing or previous relationships.” But, as Hough notes, while the importance of relationships has not changed, the methodology AGS uses to select its suppliers has evolved. “The relationship is still a key component for us but what’s important to procurement are proof points. With each recommendation we make to add, remove or even realign suppliers based on geographies or skillsets, our recommendations are driven mainly by data,” she says.
“The strategies that we implement with our supply chain consistently aligns with our data analytics. The value of relationships is not eliminated, as we know when a supplier’s team is demonstrating a strong partnership to both AGS and our clients. The data simply paints a more complete picture and allows us to make the best business decision about their success or lack of success within one of our programs.”
Hough acknowledges that industry wide we are experiencing digital transformation of both staffing and procurement. Technology, she notes, is changing the way procurement and hiring managers are attracting, motivating and retaining the right talent in the marketplace. “What we are seeing is growth in artificial intelligence and automation in order to meet the needs of our clients. We are educating our hiring managers to think differently about the way that work gets done,” she says. “They might look at a role that is knowledge driven or has repetitive tasks as one that can be completed by a robot, or artificial intelligence.”
“The digital transformation we are experiencing in our industry will enhance our service offerings and streamline our processes to make AGS more efficient. This will not eliminate the need for a human to be involved. Roles that require relationship building or a consultative approach would still need to be completed by a person,” Hough explains.
Both AGS and its clients must navigate this changing landscape and so it is integral that AGS identifies trends and understands the digital impact in order to continue providing the best talent and maintain those leading relationships. Hough admits as much and notes that as AGS works across multiple global sectors, the best way forward for both AGS and its clients is to invest, collaborate and share knowledge. “Supply chain and procurement are evolving and we are experiencing those changes across all of the industries AGS supports. In order to stay on top of these changes, we have an innovation team that is constantly seeking out and testing new ideas,” she says.
“We're also partnering with our suppliers to gain an understanding of what they are experiencing in the market. We are attending industry conferences to learn more about the evolution of the industry, artificial intelligence, chat bot and the gig economy, so that we can be better prepared.”
A key example of how AGS has embraced technology and innovation is through the implementation of a proprietary workforce system called QUANTUM. The QUANTUM Platform acts as a single point of entry to all types of workers including contractors, consultants and full-time employees. QUANTUM simplifies the hiring manager experience and enables AGS’ clients to make data driven/fact-based decisions more efficiently. Backed by robust data and the consultation of a talent advisor, QUANTUM has created a whole new user experience for hiring managers and is improving time to fill, cost and quality.
“AGS’ talent advisors can work with the hiring managers to understand what their tasks and business objectives are and then create and develop a resource plan based on those specific needs. This approach coupled with client-specific data, comparative benchmarks and external market insights ensure that our hiring managers have evaluated the options and they have been advised on the best talent in the right location for the best price”, she says.
One example of how QUANTUM creates efficiency – “It helps to highlight quality candidates that will be coming available and allows them to be redeployed within the same company, rather than them ending an assignment and having them sit on the bench to wait for another opportunity to come along. For example, if a particular candidate is rolling off of an assignment and is perfect for another opportunity within the same organization, we can redeploy them and have them back to work the next day with a simplified onboarding process,” says Hough.
Implemented last year, QUANTUM is already showing great results: better than 50% reduction in time to fill, time to submit went from an average of 48-72 hours down to less than a day (usually a few hours) and an improved user experience through technology and the interactions with the talent advisors. By removing the antiquated process of waiting to see what talent is out there or waiting for a hiring manager to detail their needs, AGS can provide access to the best talent of today and tomorrow.
This is but one example of how AGS has transformed its procurement process through technology. Hough points to the implementation of artificial intelligence that helps suppliers with their pre-screening processes and removing “black holes” that seem to exist after candidates are submitted. Another key technology that AGS now utilizes is the ACUMEN system. The ACUMEN system is a platform that displays and monitors key performance indicators across the entire AGS ecosystem of suppliers, clients and AGS’ internal teams. It highlights spend activity, as well as quality and speed metrics for a program. With this tool, AGS has been able to create automated scorecards that provide real-time performance analytics. “From an operational perspective, our clients and our internal teams can identify trends and start forecasting. Our strategic suppliers have access to this system and they're able to benchmark their performance in comparison to their competitors within a particular program,” says Hough.
“It also gives our program officers, our clients, and our suppliers the opportunity to make immediate changes as they start to see trends going in the right or even the wrong direction.”
Industries all around the world will continue to evolve and so too will the skillsets needed to serve their needs. AGS embraces these changes by providing universal access to all forms of talent. The ACUMEN and QUANTUM systems are two examples of this. “We must continue to position ourselves as thought leaders in our industry, embrace change and approach our clients with strategy and innovation by implementing technologies such as ACUMEN and QUANTUM. This will allow us to continually impact the lives of others by matching great talent to great organizations,” says Hough.