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When Exclusivity Equals Efficiency

Why Catch won a single sourcing agreement to resource Microsoft Dynamics AX team for Kuoni GTS.

The world of IT recruitment can seem like an anomaly in today’s difficult job market. Demand is largely shaped by product or application-based skills – and in some sectors, experienced and knowledgeable candidates are still regarded as the business equivalent of gold dust.

Consequently, IT recruitment consultancies operate in a highly competitive environment. Some appear to have the sole aim of getting as many CVs on a client’s desks as quickly as possible. This still leaves the client with much of the time-consuming work, scrolling through endless emails and documents and interviewing more candidates than necessary.

This is why when the Global Travel Services division (GTS) of Kuoni wanted to resource and recruit a team of contractors for a two-year project implementing a new ERP system, it chose to work through a single sourcing agreement with Catch Resource Management.

Both Sides of the Fence

Kuoni acquired GTA (Gullivers Travel Associates), a long-term client of Catch, in May 2011. GTA needed to replace its old JD Edwards financial system and as its parent company Kuoni was already running a Microsoft Dynamics AX system, the decision was straightforward.

So the choice of system was the easy part – the next stage was to recruit a project manager. This task wasn’t so straight forward as those IT professionals with the required experience in working with such systems are not necessarily readily available. Catch specialises in resourcing and recruiting mid- and senior- level ERP professionals for some of the leading companies in the UK and Europe and as GTA had already worked with the Catch team on JD Edwards resourcing, they were an obvious first port of call.

Catch was able to put forward a candidate who is considered in the industry something of an ‘ERP guru’, according to Sales Director Philip Barker. “We knew that Graham Lockhart had a wealth of experience in Microsoft Dynamics AX and other ERP system implementations and well known within the industry as the kind of person that could run the project extremely efficiently.”

Thankfully, Kuoni GTS thought the same and offered Lockhart the job. Once on board, he began to define the project structure and to recommend the level of internal and specialist resources needed.

Lockhart had worked with Catch several times in the past both as a candidate and as a client. “I’d seen them work from both sides of the fence and knew that I could trust them to supply the right candidates in a way that would enable me to build a strong, motivated team,” he says. His experience in recruiting teams and dealing with agencies led him to recommend the single sourcing arrangement. He explains: “The Catch team know the ERP market inside out and I recognised that they could really help me by recommending only those candidates they knew could do the job and they thought I would want to hire,” he says.

If I had asked three agencies to do the job, there would have been the likelihood of candidate overlap and at least one of them would make the decision to ‘break ranks’ and send CVs without thoroughly vetting them first themselves. This would be unfair to Catch who make it a policy to meet all candidates when at all possible.

I could see that a single source agreement would give them the time and space to source the right people and properly qualify their list of potential candidates, talking to them face-to-face and only supplying me with a very brief shortlist of those they knew could really do the job and fit well into the team.

Lockhart supplied Catch with clear detailed job specifications, knowing that, having so much experience of the ERP project environment themselves, they would understand exactly who would match the specifications. As a result, a five-strong team was quickly appointed, without time being wasted sifting through dozens of CVs and interviewing unsuitable hopefuls.

He believes the “experts working with experts” set up at Catch has worked particularly well for Kuoni GTS. “In general, you find that clients sometimes don’t realise how competitive the marketplace for ERP consultants can be. It’s the one case where the employer doesn’t hold all the cards. To get the right people, you might have to change some procedures, be flexible with interviewing and move quickly when necessary. I could discuss this with Catch as we both understood the situation – it just made the job that bit easier,” he says.