An Agile MSP to Match a Complex Worker Population



Our client is a complex healthcare and pharmacy retail company that provides many different types of goods and services within the healthcare industry. Its core products include Wholesale Medical Supplies, Pharmaceutical Distribution Services, Pharmacy Services & Technology, Specialty Practice Solutions, and Biopharma Solutions. The company is an undisputed industry leader, delivering to more than 50% of U.S. hospitals and 20% of physicians, as well as one-third of all medications used daily in North America.

With such a wide-reaching operation, our client must hire a vast and varying contingent workforce to support. The MSP program has nearly all available labour categories in scope, including:

  • IT
  • Professional Services / SOW
  • Clinical
  • Light Industrial / Distribution
  • Call Centre
  • Admin / Clerical
  • Legal
  • Professional
  • Accounting/Finance

In addition, the client is often acquiring and divesting smaller companies that must be quickly on-boarded or off-boarded from the MSP program.  Each acquisition brings its own challenges and often new worker types in to the program.

The MSP program needed to evolve from transactional to strategic to support the quickly growing company and solve for the complexity of increasing labour categories and skill sets.

Our Approach


It was clear with such complexity that the MSP program needed better adoption, improved branding, increased stakeholder support, and a more comprehensive and streamlined solution.

The team went through an impressive rebranding exercise that included relaunching the program and educating hiring teams on contingent hiring processes.  We expanded our relationship with procurement, senior leadership, and stakeholders. We worked with the procurement sourcing partners to help them develop their category strategies and areas of focus, as well as participate with them in RFPs to better understand the needs of their internal customers and stakeholders.  This has allowed our team to gain extensive knowledge of the business landscape in order to consult on their behaviours, policies, and drivers around contingent hiring.

To keep up with acquisitions, our team has developed a library of templates to quickly on-board and improve implementation from new hiring teams.  The Pontoon acquisition project plan includes transition strategies, change management, training materials and communication protocols.  The team is agile and flexible but has a strong framework in place at the start of each acquisition, which has built significant trust in our team and the confidence that Pontoon can support the always-growing organisation.

There are been several instances where new skill sets have been brought in to the program as the client invests in a new good or service.  These skills, such as home health nurses for instance, require very different processes to on-board and employ versus traditional MSP labour categories.  Our team worked with the existing technology to create complex workflows, new naming conventions, and invoicing automation, all while keeping the technology interface simple for the end users.

The Pontoon Program Director completed Six Sigma training which has led to optimised processes across labour categories, job titles, and companies, as well as reduced inefficiencies and redundancies.  We will expand training to the rest of the program team in 2019.

With such complexity, Pontoon’s Supplier Partnership team plays a key role in the equation.  Some significant areas of focus for supply chain strategy include:

  • The supply chain was optimised and evaluated to make sure Pontoon could source for such varying roles like nurses, warehouse distribution, pharmacy technicians, medication distribution, cyber security, and call centre representatives. Skills gaps are constantly evaluated, and niche suppliers on-boarded as needed.
  • With Professional Services SOW in scope and a significant portion of the program spend, the Program and Supplier Partnership teams continue to develop streamlined processes for contract review and on-boarding.
  • The Program team has an enhanced acquisition strategy to quickly educate new suppliers on terms and on-board or transition their worker population to an established supplier.
Client Results


Through program adoption and company acquisitions, we have seen the MSP program quadruple in spend in the last 5 years from $100 million in spend under management to over $400 million.  Every ten months, up to 10,000 workers are cycled through the program.

“Every ten months, the Pontoon MSP program on-boards the size of a mid-level Fortune 500 company.”
Client Executive Stakeholder

The client stakeholders now rely on Pontoon’s consultation for internal strategic hiring initiatives.  We are invited to their internal HR roadshows to further program adherence and process comprehension.  We provided consultation project services for their VMS bid to market.  We had a seat at the table during a recent organisation transformation and redesign.

Despite complexities in worker population and ever-changing business units, the Pontoon program has been elevated from a hiring player to a true strategic partner that the client depends on.