SI Review: July/August 2014

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Expert’s Corner: VMS On-the-Go

Using portable technology effectively to improve results

By Edward Jackson

Mobile access to the tools people need to get work done increases efficiency and effective engagement, which improves employee productivity in firms of all sizes. By leveraging a mobile vendor management system (VMS), staffing companies can achieve significant gains in productivity, slash sales costs and grow revenue.

The benets of a mobile workow. A mobile VMS offers a simplified user interface that enables staffing companies to accomplish important tasks, including filing staffing orders, on- and off-boarding, submitting timesheets and invoices, and — perhaps most important — supporting their customers’ needs through highly responsive delivery.

Mobile technology provides many benefits to all parties engaged in a staffing arrangement. Take mobile time sheets, for example. Temps can enter and submit them on their terms, reducing delays in processing and improving time-to-pay. Managers can quickly and easily review timesheets and submit approvals, which in turn allows quicker reconciliation for accounting and faster payment for the resource. Customers can also leverage mobile timesheets as part of the evaluated receipt settlement process and create invoices on behalf of their supplier. This can accelerate cash flow and improve accounts receivable from the industry average of nearly 60 days down to net 10 — or even immediately.

A mobile solution helps reduce the cost of sales by providing improved access to demand. Rather than manually searching for requisitions and orders, the system provides complete visibility into positions and candidates. The tool can also automate various aspects of the hiring and payment process, from eliminating the need to email résumés back and forth to automatically generating invoices when timesheets are submitted.

The right tool for the task. Mobile technology enables staffing companies to address specific business challenges through simplified processes. A user-friendly interface and the streamlined workflows associated with a mobile tool encourages greater adoption, particularly for infrequent, peripheral tasks.

Overall, mobile applications are ideally suited for intuitive tasks that require little training and time to accomplish. Smartphones’ additional features, such as location services and camera functionality, can also be beneficial — for example, users can take a picture of a receipt and submit it as part of an expense report.

How can a mobile application improve staffing company workflows? Mobile technology streamlines the approval process for timesheets, invoices and job requisitions. Through a basic interface, users can simply scan the information and tap approve or deny as appropriate. Immediate exposure to demand while mobile enables a supplier to be more effective in their candidate submittal response and, in turn, yield higher sales for their organization.

When implementing mobile technology into your business process, be sure to plan for periodic review of business intelligence data. It is easy to track key performance indicators that support business goals, from submittal rates to time-to-fill statistics, and develop process improvements based on real- time results.

The future of mobility. As mobile functionality continues to evolve, the ideal mobile VMS solution will integrate with other key business systems to provide a full picture of operations and enable a completely mobile work- force. This will include integration with the applicant tracking system to stream- line the hiring process, the customer relationship management application for sales and support, a storefront that enables staffing customers to engage within the system and ultimately marketing and lead generation systems to help deepen customer exposure. The goal is to extend these capabilities and provide further value-added features that go far beyond the standard “req-to-check” processes that are supported by the VMS itself and take advantage of those key features that are ideally suited to mobile devices rather than desktop (for example, location-based activities like providing a map).

With time and software that continues to develop, it will become commonplace for staffing companies to conduct their business entirely from these systems. Product developers are increasingly developing solutions under the assumption that users will never use the desktop version of the application. Mobile VMS solutions enable organizations to conduct the entire end-to-end staffing process from anywhere in the world, freeing up resources to do what they do best: cultivate strong client relationships while providing the ideal candidates for each position.

Edward Jackson is president of Provade.

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