A term used to describe a model in which a managed services or VMS technology handles its tasks (e.g. order distribution or candidate selection) based on client-defined policies that mandate that all (or a pre-defined set of) staffing suppliers (vendors) be (a) given an equal opportunity to fill each order, and/or (b) selected for each order based on the same criteria. Under a vendor-neutral model, a managed services or VMS provider could not, on its own accord, push orders to itself or any other staffing vendor. The presumed advantage of a vendor-neutral model is that the best supplier with the best candidate will fill each position. The term is sometimes used in a stricter form to refer to an independent managed service provider that is completely autonomous, or semi-autonomous, from the staffing suppliers.
A common alternative model is a combined MSP/master supplier approach. Here the master supplier also acts as the MSP, and, with the full support and knowledge of the client, pushes a disproportionate share of orders to itself. Orders it cannot fill itself are sent to other staffing suppliers. The presumed advantage of this approach is volume pricing discounts for the client, and potentially a supplier that gets to know the client’s needs more intimately.
Source: Staffing Industry Analysts