If you are in the utility industry these days, you are probably familiar with the process of hiring contractors, or working with contracting organizations, to supplement your internal staff. As you know, hiring contractors gives you the ability to ramp resources up and down as needed, granting you agility.
Selecting a good contractor management system (like ARCOS’s Resource Assist) to manage your contractor workforce is as important as finding qualified resources. Integrating contractors into your typical workflow ensures that they do the job the way you want it done. This allows you maintain processes and culture by making outside employees feel like part of the team. Inconsistent performance leads to risk of reputation and income. Contractor management systems help keep control of these factors so work is done efficiently and correctly. It tracks all the workers’ efforts, guaranteeing complete and accurate reporting. It also provides for the welfare of those contractors coming in. It’s a holistic approach to using third-party workers.
Importance of Contactor Management
Outside companies often aren’t familiar with the way you do things. This can expose them to hazards and makes communication difficult. Efficiency and optimization are major concerns. You already take a lot of care to confirm your own employees are aware of cost and waste. Contractors must be held to the same standard. Otherwise, their poor performance can reflect poorly on your organization. This could lead to waste and the loss of consumer confidence, costing you opportunity and money.
With ARCOS’s suite of solutions, you can take the contractors brought in from Resource Assist and load them right in Crew Manager, alongside your internal crews. In this way, you have a single management system. Your operations are cohesive and streamlined. Grievances are virtually eliminated and you no longer have to worry about inaccurate data entries or mismatched fields.
What are the Key Elements of Contract Management
The key elements of managing independent contractors are selection, training, and oversight. The right external workers must be selected. They must be taught the way you’d like things to be done. You need to keep tabs on their efforts with quantitative data to be sure the work is going well. You’ll want to maintain the same performance standards and efficiency benchmarks you hit internally. For the best results, third-party companies should be provided with honest feedback.
The more parties that are added to a situation, the more complex managing workers becomes. You must put in place a clear hierarchy, including safety professionals, to avoid costly mistakes. You’ll need to lay out responsibilities and expectations to ensure your goals are achieved. Occupational safety concerns and regulations must be respected so your standing in the industry is not tarnished. You’ll also want to invest time in getting to know them and what they expect so that they will feel valued. If you make contractors feel their worth, they are more likely to perform as you would like them to, taking greater ownership of the responsibility placed on them.
Effective contractor management systems, like ARCOS, enact complete control without needing to micromanage. This will make your working goals easier to achieve, resulting in higher productivity and profit.
Thousands of contractors are already using Resource Assist. You can connect with these existing users through your Dashboard, establishing resource sharing links with them in just a few clicks. If your go-to companies aren’t already in Resource Assist, they can add themselves in minutes. Then, they can fill your resource requests in seconds. Once in your system, all the tracking and reporting is automatic.
How to Manage Contractors Effectively
Optimize vendor network. It’s important to find the right contracting firms to partner with. Technical capabilities are important, but so are safety records; contractor mistakes reflect poorly on the partner utility. Steps can be taken ahead of time to research which contractors are most likely to be successful for you. Potential partners can fill out a prequalification form. This will help you make informed decisions. Optimize which companies to continue working with based on experience and practical data to streamline your operations.
- Automate work order dispatching. When calling in contractors, waste is a concern. An automated system (like ARCOS Callout) can be put in place that knows which workers should be called in any given instance. It ensures those called have the correct skills and are closest to the problem.
- Implement cost controls. Once a contractor crew is sent out, you need to know if they’re using time and resources wisely. You must also be able to measure effectiveness to know how to manage them. ARCOS’s Mobile Workbench goes into the field, providing an easy-to-use application for your crews and total transparency to your office. Reporting data can be used to identify where efficiency is lacking and improvements can be made. ARCOS has built-in, automated reporting.
- Ensure contractor compliance. Boundaries must be clearly set so contractors know what is expected of them. You won’t want to keep working with contractors who aren’t doing things the way you want them done. Noncompliance with your established safety program leads to unnecessary risks and business rule violations. To get the right outcomes, even a high performing contractor will need feedback periodically.
- Initiate periodic data-driven performance reviews. At the end of a project, you’ll want to analyze your contractors’ efforts. It’s vital to know how well they performed the work, how closely they followed your guidelines, and how any incidents that arose were handled. This information shapes whether you will continue to work with the company. Make sure to use data to make objective decisions. Do this on an ongoing basis, as performance metrics do not usually remain static. As mentioned, ARCOS has many pre-built reports. You can also work with our team to design your own.
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Selecting the right system is important. The software you select should provide for all of the above and be easy to use. You’ll want one with strong customer support. You’ll also need buy-in from all the stakeholders. Without solid participation, even the most perfectly implemented solution will not work.
ARCOS’sResource Assist makes it simple to add contractors into your workflow. Callout is designed to quickly call the right workers with the right skills. Crew Manager lets you manage them alongside your full-time staff. Mobile Workbench gives you real-time visibility into the field. All are part of our integrated suite of resource management solutions.
- What are the basic principles of contractor management?
- Contractor management involves the business of managing independent contractors or third-party workers. As an extension of your company, they should be accountable for the same safety standards and business needs as your traditional employees. Contractor management software such as ARCOS’s Resource Assist provides a framework for communicating with the third-party vendors and their workers. This allows you to make informed decisions and adjust your process as needed.
- What are the benefits of contractor management?
- Contractor management is beneficial because by using contractors, you can supplement your internal staff as needed. This means you can keep your payroll flexible, expanding or contracting it as needed. It also means you can seek external skillsets for tasks that aren’t performed routinely. It allows you to be an agile company, leading to greater efficiency and cost control. ARCOS offers a contractor management system integrated with the rest of our suite of solutions.
- How to become a certified contract manager?
- There are many different programs which offer contract manager certifications. . Most will require you to, at minimum, complete coursework and pass an exam. Others may require ongoing, continued education to maintain certification. The certification you will want to earn will depend on the type of work you may wish to do. For instance, if you want to work with the federal government, you’ll want to get a FAC-C certification, which has several levels based on experience. We recommend connecting with a local authority for more information and further guidance.
- What is the purpose of contractor management?
- The purpose of contractor management is to ensure compliance with your needs and rules. You want to monitor and qualify the external workforce as you do your internal one. It allows you to apply full visibility into their actions in order to mitigate risk. To avoid time consuming oversight, systems like ARCOS automate continuous monitoring and reporting.