Working with multiple staffing suppliers is tough. From different contracts and terms and conditions, to managing all the compliance and legal paperwork, it’s enough to make you consider a new career as a dog walker. But it doesn’t have to be so complicated. Enter the Secondary Supplier program. Keep reading to learn what this is and how it can make a big impact on your workforce program.

Secondary Supplier Success Story

What Is a Secondary Supplier Program?

A secondary supplier program is a way to vet, process and manage suppliers quickly and consistently, ensuring compliance and elevated performance standards. This frees up time, allowing both MSP and hiring managers to focus on the prime vendors.

Success Story 

Why They Reached Out for Help

One of our customers, a multibillion dollar media company, had hundreds of suppliers. Some were great, some not so much. There were so many that tracking was not only disorganized but virtually impossible. The legal department’s vetting and approval process became a bottleneck, it could take six months or more to process a new supplier. Our customer either had to completely halt production while waiting for legal, or proceed anyway, taking on the risk of a tax/compliance exposure. They couldn’t issue a check for a supplier that legal hadn’t been approved, so some suppliers waited almost a year for payment. (You can image the frustration on the part of the suppliers too.) And since there was no consolidated, streamlined way to vet new suppliers, some were unreliable. Bottom line is it was a mess.

The Solution Roadmap

We implemented a secondary supplier program to clean up the supplier messiness. This included:

  • Outsourced Administration: for contracts, statements of work, invoicing and payments
  • Insurance verification and tracking
  • Corporate governance enforced
  • Streamlined process through the MSP program and utilization of the VMS tool
  • Uniform process and controls established
  • Increased Diversity spend
  • Single point of contact
  • Supplier funded program

The Path to Success

The transformation of their secondary supplier program was successful because it addressed each problem with one tailor-made solution. Once they handed over the keys, we rehabbed the program like an episode of Fixer Upper (Chip and Jo-Jo would be proud). Here’s how we did it:

The Problem: Too Many Suppliers and Lots of Inconsistencies

  • Too many suppliers in the program
  • Disorganized (if any) tracking methods caused more confusion and
  • Many suppliers weren't participating in MSP program
  • Small to mid-size suppliers weren’t part of their long-term solution…they were just there

The Solution: Cut and Consolidate

We moved major suppliers into the MSP, or through Populus Group. This gave Procurement visibility and consistency. The MSP and Procurement Teams then had full control over suppliers (new and existing) on a go-forward basis.

Our customer’s goal was to cut about 400 suppliers:

  • Phase 1: cut 200 (many had no active resources)
  • Phase 2: sent about 50 suppliers to Populus Group to eventually be “sunsetted,” or phased out of the program

We cut suppliers based on the following criteria:

  • Spend
  • number of positions filled
  • compliance with current program
  • metric issues
  • Decreased cycle time

The Problem: Too Much Exposure

  • Too many business units were contracting with suppliers without the approval of Procurement
  • Contracts w/ inconsistent terms and conditions were executed
  • Suppliers were working without a fully executed contract
  • No visibility into potential liabilities and financial/compliance errors

The Solution: Transparency & Documentation

  • Small to mid-size suppliers that passed assessment were moved into the MSP program, via PG with new, consistent contracts
  • As a result of our contract, MSP and Procurement had visibility and control over spend
  • MSP had much more control over who was let into their program
  • With net new suppliers, we are able to include them in our program for a “trial” period. This decreased compliance risks and avoided the lengthy legal process. If supplier passed the vetting process, the MSP and Procurement teams had a clear path to a direct relationship. This allowed suppliers to provide services until the direct contract was in place, minimizing disruption to the business.


Secondary Supplier BONUS: Diversity Spend

By partnering with PG, a certified Minority Owned Business Enterprise (MBE), our customer also began earning toward their diversity spend goals. Yahoo!

The Good Result

Our customer’s secondary supplier transformation was pretty significant. After we completed our assessment and the implementation of a streamlined secondary supplier program, we were able to create a lot of peace of mind for all parties involved, from the program office to the suppliers and sub vendors in the field. Cycle times decreased, terms and conditions were simplified, and overall everything just made more sense. From tracking to issuing payments, things were easy to find and execute. The customer already had a program in place, which helped the consolidation be smooth as butter.

  • 55 suppliers asked to come through PG 
    • 5 moved to payroll
  • 33 suppliers completed the transition to Populus
  • 17 were cancelled by the customer or no longer had any active workers
  • 184 workers transitioned

By creating streamlined processes, we’ve been able to support significant growth of new suppliers and headcount in the program. Take a look:


# of Suppliers

Total Headcount











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