A PSL (preferred supplier list – also referred to as a preferred supplier agreement or preferred supplied framework) can be beneficial for many businesses . It is viewed as a win/win scenario for both parties for several reasons including

  1. Managing costs
  2. All suppliers are working to the same terms and KPIs
  3. A barrier of entry for other suppliers.
  4. Building mutually beneficial relationships with a business to really understand them.

I’m not the greatest fan of PSL with large corporations if I’m honest – PSL’s have a downside, which is a race to the bottom in terms of price and quality.  To quote John Ruskin “you get what you pay for.  Period.”

I find that what we supply may not fall under the traditional PSL; Our relationships with customers are at the forefront of what we do. The customer is able to purchase certain skillsets directly when the circumstances require a more tailored approach. I think its important to ask the question “is the existing PSL able to support senior/executive level recruitment or niche requirements?”

Where we excel, is the blending of the relationship and a PSL with SME/businesses that are looking to invest in the growth of their business through recruiting and retaining key roles and want a recruitment partner.  This is not an overnight process – the relationship and trust is a key factor. I’m passionate about the businesses I work with because its I’ve made an emotional investment rather than just completing a transaction.

If I’m preparing to apply for a PSL I

  1. Capture as much information about the business as possible to help build a picture of the past, present and future.
  2. Check the evaluation criteria.
  3. Understand what is working or not working. If something is not working, why? And more importantly how we would overcome them.
  4. Provide evidence of our ability to deliver – facts & figures, case studies, examples of similar projects delivered, testimonials, verbal references.

Essentially, applying for a PSL is a long process and not a decision I take lightly; for me it’s asking and understanding what the business wants/needs? knowing what we can and whether we can help and support through a PSL arrangement? do we share the similar values and beliefs?

I recommend potential businesses who are looking to put in place a PSL to consider all of the options and include hiring managers in that process. A PSL works when you put your people at the heart of it.