Guest Blog by Jeff Niles – Vice President of Sales and Marketing at ShiftWise – A leading provider of hospital workforce management software and services in the healthcare staffing industry. This post orginally appeared on the ShiftWise blog ShiftWise Exchange.
This is part two of the “Top five reasons why staffing agencies should (and do) embrace technology-driven Vendor Management.” You can read part 1 here.
3. You will get paid quicker and your payroll costs will go down.
On average, it takes more than 60 days from the time a shift is worked until the check from a hospital clears the bank when using a paper-based billing process. Yet many vendors pay weekly and often daily. This delay in payment costs staffing agencies hundreds of thousands of dollars per year in “factoring” or other borrowing costs in order to make payroll. In addition, there are operating costs that go into generating and processing paper invoices such as data entry, postage, ink, envelopes, and time on the phone disputing charges.
With a VMS, all a vendor has to do is approve an online statement once per week and wait for payment which typically occurs within 30 days. It’s no surprise then that one company owner said to me “If I could get all of my clients to use ShiftWise for the payment process, I would save enough in other costs to hire several more people and further expand our business.”
4. You will be able to get more staff working at accounts quicker than ever before.
In a manual process, the vendor sends staff profile information via email or fax which is typically a huge .pdf containing pages and pages of documents and information. This results in time consuming and frustrating paperwork and background checks making staffing managers less willing to “try a new person.”
With a VMS system like ShiftWise, the agency loads staff profiles and supporting documents ahead of time. When sent to a hospital, the information is front and center for easy review and approval. And since the system will track expirations and send out warning notifications, the hospital no longer has to maintain multiple spreadsheets. Hospitals love this.
By relieving the burden from the hospital, a staffing provider makes it easy to introduce new staff and is more likely to get business from a hospital that has less work to do by choosing your staff.
One staffing provider summarized it like this:
“It’s a lot of work to create that profile but once we get it in, we can send it to all of the other hospitals that use ShiftWise. We have gotten many new staff into hospitals where they used to tell us that they never accept new people.”
5. You will be forced to be good at providing real value to your customers.
I have met many staffing suppliers around the country and while there are cosmetic differences, all staffing providers essentially do the same thing.
- They recruit staff.
- They hire staff.
- They put staff to work with their clients.
Yet staffing providers spend lots of time and money trying to communicate how they are “different” from all of the other vendors out there. From a marketing perspective, it makes sense to draw out the differences between you and your competition. However, buyers mostly could care less about most of the “differentiators” that make your company the best of the best.
The truth is that health systems are like any other consumer who is warily spending precious dollars on much needed services. They want value for their business. When I talk to hospitals about what makes a good vendor, it almost always comes back to three traits:
When I talk to hospitals speaking about preferred vendors, I hear things like:
- “They have the right people when we need them.”
- “They don’t waste my time.”
- “They always have all of their profiles completed.”
- “They understand our policies and follow them.”
So in a marketplace where you provide a service that is essentially the same as the next guy, the way to grow your business is to get really good at providing real value to the client.
A VMS forces you to do that. Here’s an example how:
I have heard ShiftWise called many things over the years but my favorite came from the CEO of a small staffing provider who said:
“ShiftWise is the great equalizer. I can compete with the big boys by beating them to the punch which isn’t typically possible in most accounts.”
A few years ago, her company got a contract with a large ShiftWise account and set a goal within their organization to be the first vendor to present a candidate through the VMS for every order that came down the pipe. This was no easy task and naturally there were times when they had nobody. But over time they grew from a minor player in this account to the #1 vendor in a period of 12 months. By working smart, not just hard, they figured out that response time is valued by this customer and they were the best vendor at providing it.
A byproduct of a VMS is that it often takes out the favoritism and other noise that is part and parcel to the staffing process and reduces everything down to productivity. In order to get ahead in an account using a VMS you are forced to produce results and provide true value to the customer. This is not only good for you; it’s good for the industry and encourages customers to seek your services.
Now go hug your computer.
About Jeff Niles
Jeff is the current Vice President of Sales and Marketing for ShiftWise and is based in Chicago, IL. He joined ShiftWise in 2006 as a Regional Sales Director bringing over a decade of experience in health care recruitment and workforce management. An early promoter of technology driven contingent workforce management, Jeff has developed and delivered several high impact and innovative healthcare staffing solutions to forward thinking healthcare organizations nationwide. Jeff holds a BA from Miami University and earned an MA from the University of Cincinnati. He is also an active member of ASHHRA, SHRM, CHEF and CAHR.