VMS and WMBE - A double-edged sword for staffing?

As the acceptance levels of vendor management systems (VMS) and managed service providers (MSP) are increasing, the depth and breadth of their offerings is also broadening. They are entering new markets or service lines to fulfill the needs of users.

For instance, they are encompassing more geographies or covering additional worker classifications such statement-of-work (SOW) consultants and independent contractors. Recently I heard that some VMS providers are also accommodating users' need to source a diverse population. Some corporations have goals that a fixed percentage of their suppliers will be from women-and minority-owned groups. And it looks like some VMS have incorporated this feature.

This is great news for staffing companies that are women- and- minority-owned businesses (WMBE). This is yet another way to get their foot in the door of clients that would be difficult to access under normal circumstances. Our list of women- and- minority-owned staffing business keeps growing every year and we are waiting to see how many are on that list this year. (If you weren't on last year's list but would like to be included this year, please e-mail Craig Johnson at cjohnson@staffingindustry.com.)

Confirming this trend, I heard from the grapevine that WMBE staffing firms tracked by  some VMS providers are getting reqs almost a day in advance before they are sent out to other staffing companies. It makes me wonder how this is affecting the whole vendor neutrality issue. I know, I know, I just keep coming back to this topic, but I just can't let go! But I was just wondering if any of you are seeing this happen and what is your take on this? As usual, I would love to hear your thoughts on this issue.

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