February 2017

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54 Mobility | February 2017 Ben: With both of our backgrounds focused in global mobility supply chain roles, I thought it would be interesting to compare best practices for managing suppliers. Would you like to start with your role and responsibilities? Brad: I've been with TRC Global Mobility for about a year, and my role is as the supplier relationship manager. I work with a wide variety of our suppli- ers, including van lines, corporate housing, lan- guage training, international destination services, visa and immigration—you name it. Our supplier manage - ment relationship focus is to make sure we develop good partnerships with our varied suppliers. We don't want them to feel like they are commod - itized vendors. We truly value the relationships with our supplier and want to make sure that services are focused on what is best for the client and the transferee.They are an extension of who we are as a company. Ben: In my previous role as Accenture's global mobility consulting practice lead, I fre - quently helped our corporate clients evaluate their mobility supply chain. Most of my time was spent evaluating the influ - encers of spend, like policy, domestic and international household goods (HHG) moving, temporary housing, mobility tax, immigration, and destination services. Let's start with temporary housing. What have you done in the corporate housing space that you would consider best practices? Brad: With corporate housing, there are a plethora of suppliers out there, and many of them want to do business with you. Some are national and will reach out to their network on a national basis, and others focus on a specific market. We have just recently implemented a new platform that sources from a wide variety of suppliers. I can control the ones that we work with, while having access to many more. We had previously only had a handful that we partnered with, so this opened up a lot more opportunities and has created greater competition. But it doesn't always boil down to pricing. While it is positive that there are many different suppliers that we can source from, it has opened up the network quite a bit, and there are obviously some that you have a better partnership with than others. Ben: Is it possible, within the tool, to control the number of suppliers and focus on only a small subset with whom the relationship is strong? Brad: Yes, my role is to control which suppliers we want to have in there. There are some with whom we don't feel the elements of a strong partnership. And there are some that are cli - ent-directed. If they are set up in the platform, they will receive business from those specific client initiations. I can also control the market that suppliers would be focused on. The majority of the time, the suppliers indi - cate the territory that they can represent very strongly. Some of the national sup- pliers indicate capability in every territory, but in reality, they may not be strong in every market. If they source with other suppliers to round out that capability, it can just add layers on top. Ben: I've found that a lot of corporate clients will give the business to their relocation management company (RMC), and they work out an arrangement where they share in the revenue. If that company then hands the work off to a large national [tem - porary housing] player that may have some core inventory but then has yet another partner, it can create a situation where the partner that has the core If you have a lot of temporary housing volume in a few markets, you want the direct relationship with a company that has the core inventory that your transferees are staying in.

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