A NEW Approach to Managing Temp Labor

Procuring and administering non-employee workers can be a tough challenge for any company, let alone a multi-billion dollar global enterprise. Business communications system provider Avaya elected to use a services e-procurement solution to let someone...


Basking Ridge, N.J.-based Avaya produces a variety of advanced solutions that help many of the largest corporations in the world manage the complexities of their telecommunications. But until recently, Avaya itself did not have a solution in place to optimally manage the temporary labor force that helps produce, deploy and service the call centers, voice messaging, IP telephony and other solutions available from the company.

Avaya spun off from Lucent Technologies in October 2000, and today the $4 billion company is a leading global provider of business communications software, systems and services, employing about 20,000 people in more than 50 countries around the world. In addition to its own labor force, Avaya also uses close to 500 temp workers to fulfill a variety of roles, adding up to an annual spend on non-employee workers ("NEWs") of more than $30 million globally. As of just a few years ago, more than 250 different suppliers were providing temp labor to Avaya. And therein lay the challenge.

"We did not have the knowledge of who was actually working at Avaya, how long they had been here, or whether or not they had the appropriate coverages, such as insurance, in order to do business with us," says Janine Battaglia, global procurement manager at Avaya. "And we had little in the way of a tracking mechanism for managing this type of budget." So when Battaglia took over management of all temporary labor at the company a few years ago, one of her first assignments was to assess Avaya's spend on non-employee workers and identify a solution that would allow the company to better manage this segment of its spend both within the United States and around the globe. "Avaya felt very strongly that we needed to get our arms around not only the spending but also who was working here," Battaglia says.

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Battaglia first surveyed managers responsible for sourcing NEWs to understand their diverse requirements, and then she researched various models available in the marketplace to support this spend category. Avaya's goals for the effort included reducing the amount of time that managers had to spend recruiting temp labor, encouraging competitive sourcing of NEWs, consolidating its supply base for temps and achieving cost savings. In addition, the strategy that Battaglia and her team drafted called for identifying and capturing all of the company's spend in this category; implementing best-in-class processes and tools to source and manage temp labor; and increasing compliance across the enterprise with Avaya's temp workforce policies.

With regard to the available tools, Battaglia reviewed options available in the marketplace before focusing on a group of temp labor service providers that potentially could meet the company's requirements. After putting out a request for proposal, Avaya selected a company called ProcureStaff, a division of Volt Information Sciences that offers a Web-based platform for what it calls managed service programs, or MSPs. According to Battaglia, ProcureStaff's core competencies around providing temp labor fit Avaya's requirements, the provider's value proposition won approval from Avaya's finance department and, moreover, ProcureStaff demonstrated a willingness to share in the risks and to be flexible as Avaya moved to the managed service program. "Their whole company philosophy fit the scope of our needs," Battaglia says.

Avaya began working with ProcureStaff in April 2001. As Battaglia explains it in a presentation she gives on the initiative, "ProcureStaff is Avaya's outsourced administrator of 'The NEW Procurement Center,' which is a customized total procurement and payables solution for the sourcing, acquisition and administration of all technical, management and clerical non-employee workers required by Avaya managers." ProcureStaff offers Web-based tools for services requisition management and e-procurement, time-keeping and vendor management — as well as consolidated invoicing, so Avaya receives a single invoice from ProcureStaff for all temps working through the center.

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