Quality control. Verify that your potential VMS partner has a total quality management program that fairly evaluates vendors. Pharma executives
should confirm that their partner has a method of determining exactly which companies get the best people at the best price
and in the most efficient manner.
Labor laws. Your partner should have demonstrated experience in issues concerning 1099 independent contractors. Many of your workers
may come from this pool, and the IRS is keen on corporate compliance in this area. In today's regulatory climate, it's also
important that your partner has expertise in overtime laws and other issues related to the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA).
Industry knowledge. Look for a partner with experience in the pharma arena because they'll need to walk the walk as well as talk the talk with
Financial foundation. Prospective vendors should have financial backing that is not venture capital. During the past few years, many VMS providers
built on venture capital have gone under. Your company needs a partner with solid financial footing.
References. Ask your prospective vendor for at least five long-term client references, and speak with them directly. Find out if the
VMS has ever lost any clients, and if so, why. If the company can't provide references, run—don't walk—to the nearest exit.
Infrastructure. Make sure your potential partner has the infrastructure to successfully handle your needs—and to do so expeditiously.
Investment. Don't base your choice on price alone. Trying to cut corners will only result in spending more money and time later.
Sarbanes-Oxley Act. Work with a partner who has a good understanding of the maze of Sarbanes-Oxley regulations regarding corporate transparency.
No executive wants to be the next one led out of his or her office in handcuffs on national television. If you don't get a
handle on your staffing process—and staffing costs—you might be in danger of failing to meet the accounting standards in this
complex new law.
The End Result
When VMS works, it has a positive effect on the organization. According to one pharma client of PrO Unlimited, "It was like
coming in from the desert after 40 years of wandering. Before, the entire process was chaotic, and there was no accountability.
Now, we get the right person at the right price. And we know we're getting that person through an unbiased process."
These days, when vendors swarm a staffing requirement like sharks in a feeding frenzy, VMS can be an invaluable tool. If companies
employ a vendor-neutral model, they'll be amazed at how well it works.