Head2Head for the Supply Chain Nail

During my last Toronto trip, I had the chance to sit down with Wayne Burgess, Head2Head‘s Supply Chain practice lead and discuss Head2Head’s rather unique supply chain recruitment solution. Head2Head was founded in 2000 by two guys in a basement who thought an innovative approach was required in recruitment. Today, they have roughly 30 employees and are still growing.

Starting in Human Resources, they soon found out that their clients tended to have specialized needs in two disciplines, Procurement and Information Technology. To that end, they sought out practice leads and starting building specialized capabilities in supply chain and IT, but I’m going to focus on supply chain – since, in all honesty, specialist IT recruiting shops are still a dime a dozen, whereas specialty supply chain recruitment firms are still quite rare, especially north of the border.

The Head2Head approach is to augment the client’s human resources and / or recruiting team with one of their own experts on the client site on an as-needed basis. Furthermore, whereas most recruiting firms force you to completely outsource the recruiting process, and keep all the resumes and data gathered once a candidate has been placed, a Head2Head recruiter works as an extension of your team, on your own site, and you get to keep all the data gathered when the Head2Head recruiter leaves. Furthermore, whereas most firms work on a contingency fee, which usually falls in the 20% to 30% range, and higher for key positions, they work on a flat fee basis, based on the amount of time you want one of their recruiters to augment your team. This can represent a large cost savings if you need to hire multiple supply chain professionals to help you with your supply chain transformation, which can all be sought at the same time. Instead of paying 100K to 150K in contingency fees for five hires for two to three months of work, you can instead pay 30K to 50K, for a 3X to 5X cost savings. Furthermore, if you need multiple positions filled across your organization at various stages, you can bring in multiple recruiters and scale the team size up and down as needed.

One of the things they’ve found is that many companies have a hard time identifying what makes a good sourcing professional, as they often have trouble understanding what supply chain is. As a result, they work hard on explaining to HR and internal recruiters what supply chain is, what makes a good supply chain professional, and how you go about landing one. To this end, they maintain and produce newsletters and other materials for their clients on a regular, monthly, basis.

They also provide traditional, tactically focussed, Vendor Managed Services where they will manage your entire contingent labor force, and typically save their clients 10-15% when they do so. They also support a “marketplace”-based vendor management approach to help their clients get the best value for their money. Finally, they also provide market intelligence and data mining solutions. However, it is their specialist supply chain recruiting division that, in my view, sets them apart.