I n the last year, I traveled to Singapore and Australia twice and Manila once. My primary purpose for these visits was to assess the region in terms of receptiveness to a vendor management system, commonly known as VMS.

For me, the region represents two significant opportunities:

• First, we must help our multinational clients who have non- employee labor working in the region
• Second, we must endeavor to introduce the region to the benefits of sourcing and managing their non-employee workforce via a VMS

When I visited the region last May, it was clear that we, in the industry, have a responsibility to educate procurement organizations on the virtues and benefits of optimizing their non-employee workforce with a VMS. Unfortunately, many technology providers use the term to mean any software product that performs at least some of the functions a true best-in-class VMS provides. Thus, there is confusion in the marketplace and a genuine need to invest time in helping organizations understand the opportunities and differences that come from our space. Having just gotten back from the region, I believe progress has been made but there is considerable resistance due to the normal fear of change we saw in the States ten years ago.

While in Asia, I noticed a greater understanding and receptivity from the procurement professionals. However, they face, as did their US counterparts, resistance from their colleagues as there remains a general lack of appreciation and understanding of the benefits a VMS can provide. By no means has the region embraced a VMS completely, but we are now talking with CPO’s and their teams who are seeking advice on selling the concept internally and helping them recognize that Beeline VMS offers several solutions, no matter the complexity.

Much of this momentum comes from multinationals that may have a VMS in the States, the United Kingdom, or in the Netherlands. The challenge is that the US model isn’t a simple “plug and play” for their SE Asia environments. For example, A US firm utilizing a VMS may have 2,000 contractors in the States but only a few hundred in SE Asia spread across 7 – 10 countries. The need for visibility is keen but many fear that they “just don’t have the numbers to justify a VMS.” It’s true that the composition of their non-employee workforce may differ from that in the States but of course, that doesn’t mean a VMS isn’t right for them.

My latest travels were very rewarding as I saw opportunities for our friends in SE Asia to start addressing their statement of work spend or simply capturing their non-employee labor. I’d like to close this post with stating the point that there are definitely needs in SE Asia and there are solutions in place that will provide great benefit. As an industry, we must invest in educating the market and moving forward with an approach that starts out gradual and accelerates over time.

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