How to Select a Contractor Management Service
Before selecting an independent contractor management service, here are 10 questions to consider.
1-How well does the contractor management software translate the thousands of data points we will be collecting into meaningful data that we can use for business decisions?
Collecting independent contractor and supplier qualification information is only as useful as it can be found and easily interpreted. How does the solution display which contractorsmeet your standards? Can you quickly view the deficiencies of an individual contractor? Do they have real-time reporting of the compliance and registration of your supply chain?
2-How well does the contractor management software accommodate the vastly different types of contractors and regulatory requirements for our entire supplier population?
As companies become more sophisticated in their supply chain risk mitigation and compliance management activities, they’re quickly discovering limitations in their information systems. For example, some supplier management services and contractor qualification solutions rely on generic “one-size-fits-all” questionnaires to screen all suppliers. This approach can be problematic because such solutions do not accommodate varying levels of information detail and the diversity of your contractors. Make sure the contractor management software is configurable to address the dynamic elements of your supply chain including 1) diverse corporate, regulatory, and social compliance requirements, 2) differing risk profiles across your supply chain, 3) industry-specific business practices and compliance needs, and 4) managing supplier qualification information across diverse geographic locations and multiple languages.
3-Can the supplier management service be configured to your specific business and information requirements? Or does it take a one size fits all approach to qualification?
A wide range of dynamic factors – your industry, applicable government and regulatory authorities, differing tiers of contractor risk, global operations, multilingual requirements – all combine to create a unique compliance mandate for your business. Choosing a solution with a one-size-fits-all approach will limit your ability to effectively meet your goals, corporate values, and the unique needs of your supply chain.
4-How secure is the solution? Has the solution and its architecture been validated by third-party certification groups?
By selecting a supply chain qualification and management solution, you are entrusting business critical data to that provider. Is all data encrypted according to industry standards, is there strict access and authentication for users, what information security measures and controls are in place? In addition to online security, how secure is the physical location of the data? Finally, how is sensitive information handled by the support staff; have they been trained in information security and awareness?
5-How reliable is the software? Has the solution experienced significant outages? What back-up or recovery plans exist in the event of a catastrophic incident?
System reliability and availability is critical to keep your business running. Does the provider have a disaster recovery plan, do they have redundant systems at a separate physical location in case of disaster, what is the actual uptime of the system, does the system have any single points of failure?
6-Can I control the access to information and the ability of users to override information? What auditing capabilities will the supplier management solution provide?
Does the contractor management system allow an administrator to create custom tailored roles that are assigned based on the need to access, view, and edit data? Does the solution allow users to override a compliance status and maintain an override history for auditing purposes? Does the solution log system changes including who made the change, when the change were made, and also retain the previous data value?
7-Can the solution integrate with your current ERP and other in-house systems?
Are you currently using ERP systems such as SAP, Oracle, Maximo, Emptoris, Open Text QAD, Gating Systems, or perhaps a proprietary solution? Integration enables you to have automated, streamlined workflows and “one version of the truth” across all systems. Be sure that the software can establish two-way data integration with any software or ERP systems that you are currently using.
8-How solid is the infrastructure behind the supplier management service and software?
Solution providers that are serious about their infrastructure will document the technical architecture behind the software which outlines the components, communication protocols, security measures, scalability and redundancy details, and software development lifecycle. One way to assess the technology is to perform a site visit to inspect the infrastructure and interview the professionals that build and maintain it.
9-What kind of implementation support will be provided to my organization? How will my contractors/suppliers/vendors learn to use the system?
Technology alone won’t make your qualification program a success. Effective implementations of contractor and supplier qualification solutions take a partnership between you and the solution provider. Will the solution provider offer best practices for your program, will they act as a liaison between you and your suppliers, and will they train your users to use the solution? Finally will you have a long-term partner to help you improve and manage your program on an on-going basis?
10-Is the contractor management system easy to use? Web-based? Will my users have 24/7 access to up-to-date information? Do I have to buy a license for each user who needs to access our compliance information?
An easy to use web-based platform is essential to have high adoption of the qualification program within your internal departments and throughout your entire supplier base. A web-based platform means no software to install, updates to maintain, and availability 24/7 365 days a year. Software solutions that require a license for each user can get very expensive.
Contractor management services provided by BROWZ, LLC address all of these questions and are the right fit for your business.
The BROWZ product suite addresses your supplier management needs related to qualifying new suppliers, identifying risk within your supply chain, managing employee-level data, conducting safety auditing, and sourcing new suppliers. Click here to learn more about BROWZ contractor management services.
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