Choosing a Managed Service Provider? Make sure you check all the boxes.
It's no secret that fuel logistics management is complicated and volatile. Companies struggle with tight margins, fluctuating customer demand, and increasing IT requirements. Not to mention the effect that the global pandemic is shifting us all to a distributed workforce. All of these different struggles lead companies to consider the question, "should we be looking for a partner to help offload some of this?"
For those of you starting to consider utilizing a managed service provider or if you are already using one, there are three things everyone should keep in mind when selecting a vendor.
Breadth and Depth of Offering
We are in a highly fragmented market when it comes to services. Company X does delivery. Company Y does fuel ordering. Company Z does something else, and now you're right back where you started trying to deal with several different systems and providers to get one job done.
While some of the larger players in the market have started to consolidate these services giving customers a one-stop-shop, you should be mindful that it's not always their greatest strength. Lack of depth on these services, again, puts you right back at the beginning.
Only one company in the industry, Insite360, provides the best of breed services for all the offerings your business needs. Our team is built with the top experts in the industry. From reconciliation to supply and logistics, our in-depth knowledge as the industry leader puts us in a unique position to help our customers with what they are facing today and tomorrow.
Public vs. Private
I know many people are saying who cares about if a company is public or private. Indeed, plenty of privately held managed services providers are very successful, and there are plenty of public companies that are not. However, when it comes to your business, what you need to look for are companies in a transition state.
The issue at stake here is change management. Change is difficult for many businesses, and the switching costs for managed services are some of the highest around. Not only do you need to integrate with new systems, but you also need to build a new relationship every time you move.
So what does this have to do with privately held companies? The rub with privately held companies is they tend to be owned by private equity firms. While this isn't inherently bad, most of these groups work to "optimize" their margins, often forgetting there is a customer at the end of the product line. Every decision made by the firm maps back to generating profit for the owners. This can mean a lack of innovation, a reduction in support, or even the sale of the business so they can turn a quick profit. By contrast, publicly-traded organizations like Insite360 make decisions and take action for the long haul delivering strategic value not just to our investors but also for customers.
Price vs. Value
Have you ever gotten a great deal, something that feels almost too good to be true? We all love to get a great deal but when things seem too good to be true, more than likely, there is a reason. When a service provider cuts the price significantly below other competitors, it's usually because they are trying to buy your business, not because they are the best provider for your organization. Discounted services are great for your bottom line at first but usually, come with unexpected costs.
When you look at managed services, you are, in essence, augmenting your staff with the vendor. If you were making the hiring decision, who would you hire? If you wouldn't hire them for your internal team, why would you use them as a vendor? When buying, make a list, and make sure that your wants and needs match the provider. Is the solution DIY, is it partially managed, is the $20 per month per site today going to actually cost you $100 per site tomorrow?
Insite360 isn't the cheapest on the block, and we know that. Our customers come to us because they know the solutions, service, and support they get is world-class without the unexpected costs that other providers hide behind a low price.
Not all partners are created equal. Do your research. Does the provider have everything we need? Can they demonstrate their commitment to long-term innovation and value? If the price is tempting, is there a reason that it's so low?
Every company wants to make decisions that are going to benefit them. Still, when that choice introduces risk and uncertainty, it can dramatically backfire.
Smart investments always balance short- and long-term priorities. When you decide with whom to trust your business, make sure to keep the big picture in mind.
With over 20 years of experience in technology, Rachel Collins is currently the General Manager of Insite360, the platform and analytics business unit of Gilbarco Veeder-Root (a Vontier company). Insite360 is an industry-leading software as a service (SaaS) provider for retail and commercial fuel technology solutions.