Transition planning

Implementing the contract starts with transition planning as the routines for supplier management are established.

In this section you will learn:

  • How to develop the transition plan in-line with the strategy and contract objectives
  • How to assess capacity within the ministry of health to effectively manage the new vendor relationship
  • How to identify capacity gaps and develop the closure plan
  • How to appoint a dedicated cross-functional contract implementation team to guide transition till the contract goes live
  • How to prepare a kick-off meeting with stakeholders (ministry of health, vendor)

Managing the transition process

Outsourcing creates a shift in the role of the ministry of health from direct operational management to one of vendor oversight. This transition of a supply chain functional activity requires careful management and engagement to mitigate risks. Technical guidance is a critical and overarching requirement for an effective transition to outsourced arrangements.

There are five focus areas that a ministry of health needs to consider when transitioning to vendor oversight. These focus areas begin by developing a strategy, assessing readiness for a transition, developing a plan, identifying if the ministry of health has the capacity and capability to manage the vendor relationship and finally onboarding stakeholders. Each of these focus areas is discussed in more detail below.

Develop a transition strategy

Start by identifying and documenting the goals and vision for the transition. This helps align the ministry of health and vendor partner around the objectives and scope outlined in the contract.

Once there is agreement on the goals and vision, appoint a dedicated transition team to guide the transition process until the contract goes live. This defines key roles and responsibilities for both the ministry of health and vendor parties for the transition to be effective.

Undertake a Transition Readiness Assessment

The Transition Readiness Assessment (TRA) provides a detailed description of the factors more directly related to the implementation and management of the solution, including solution design, resource availability, financial management, government strategy, policy and regulations, and organisation.

The TRA findings allow stakeholders to identify which dimensions require support and action to improve solution readiness for transition. The necessary action items identified by the TRA should be detailed in the transition plan.

An example of an approach to assess the readiness of an organisation to transition smoothly to outsourcing.

Design a transition plan

The transition plan includes required actions and associated timelines to address any issues identified through the TRA. The plan aids stakeholders to develop, update, and maintain the transition through to the ‘go live’ date and handover to the operations team.

Identify capacity and capability of people

This step involves assessing capacity and capability within the ministry of health to effectively manage the new vendor relationship, including identifying gaps and developing the closure plan.

Risk mitigation to allay fears within the ministry of health as to the impact of outsourcing on the organisational structure of the ministry of health, individual jobs, and ways of working is critical. This may require a change management approach that is developed and managed in parallel.

The capability matrix (in the Enabler Tools: People) is a useful tool to guide this activity.

A change management process like Kotter's Eight-Step Change Model1 can assist and guide the organisation in outsourcing arrangements. Kotter's model provides a guide to manage and support organisational change effectively by establishing buy-in to outsourcing, removing threats against outsourcing and implementing outsourcing changes successfully.

It moves through eight steps which are broadly split into three phases. The first is the need to create a climate for change. In this phase, it is necessary for the organisation to develop a shared understanding of the purpose of the outsourcing initiative and the benefits of the changes. Once there is an understanding, key stakeholders can be aligned behind a common strategic vision.

Secondly, engage and enable the organisation by developing further buy-in and participation from key stakeholders to the outsourcing initiative and changes. This can be done through strategic actions and quick wins to build organisational momentum and accountability.

Finally, implement and sustain the change. Secure and anchor new outsourced functions or services as ‘normal’ practice. Do this by drawing up new policies and practices that reflect the change and by communicating outsourcing successes.

Onboard stakeholders

The final step to assist the ministry of health with the transition process to outsourcing is to prepare a kick-off meeting stakeholders (the ministry of health and the vendor) to make sure that everyone understands the transition plan and can meet the team that will managing the outsourcing.

1Source: Kotter’s Eight-Step Change Model, available:;