Did you know that contractor management software can reduce the time spent on clerical tasks that have no added value by 80% compared with what happens when compliance management is performed manually in-house?
This “saved” time can be used for risk prevention and management.
But not all types of software are equal. It’s important to make the right choice in order to reap maximum benefits.
These days, it’s not enough to just have a cloud-based mobile-accessible solution—actually, those are the minimum requirements. Here are 10 things to consider when you’re shopping for a contractor management solution, to help you choose the software that will provide a sound return on your investment.
The chosen vendor must be able to advise you on the compliance programs that best meet your industry’s legal and regulatory requirements. Find out whether the team behind the software has expertise in occupational health and safety, especially the management of contractor risks, rather in software development alone.
2. Experience in Implementation and Change Management
Successful implementation is often the key to a rewarding experience. Do some research on the expertise of the team dedicated to the project and the types of services provided by the company before, during and after implementation.
What are the vendor’s responsibilities?
What aspects will the vendor take care of?
What tasks will your team need to lead?
Make sure that the vendor can carry out the implementation at the time that suits you, and not the other way around.
Is the vendor open to extending or shortening the timeline by a few weeks to adapt to your company’s needs?
Does the vendor show a willingness to divide the implementation into several phases and have a flexible work method? Perhaps you would like to prioritize a site that will soon be on shutdown as it represents more risk in the short term.
3. Risk Assessment
Ask yourself which contractors you would like to manage with the system. Ideally—and this will help you to have a consistent procedure that meets the highest standards of due diligence—you should manage all the different types of contractors with the same system. All workers, regardless of their stature or area of expertise, deserve to be treated in the same way and safely.
Does the qualification questionnaire enable you to validate all the critical elements that need to be considered in a risk management program?
Does the software provide you with a clear overview of the companies most at risk?
4. Integration of Different Types of Contractors
Depending on the nature of the work, there may be a need for different types of contractors. Does the software you are considering allow you to integrate the different types?
From the grass cutter to the electrician, how does the software integrate the different types of contractors? Can the software vendor easily segment the qualification questionnaires to accommodate a smaller landscaping business that would not need to provide an industrial production program?
For riskier projects, large corporations often give special importance and more careful consideration to the profiles of bigger contractors to make sure they have a spotless record in order to minimize the potential for serious problems. However, it’s important to keep in mind that small contractors also present risks.
Even if the damages may be different depending on whether an accident is caused by a large or a small contractor, your company will need to demonstrate due diligence in both cases. Consolidating the records of every contractor reporting to your sites enables you to have an overview of the situation and save time.
How are the small contractors integrated?
Is it possible to have several levels of questionnaires?
What level of support and service is offered to the smallest contractors?
5. Meets Your Expectations
Complies with your short-, medium- and long-term operational needs
The decision to implement this type of software is often made the day executives realize that contractor management takes considerable time and resources, and that not doing it can involve substantial financial and reputational risks.
The purpose of acquiring such software is to facilitate more efficient work processes.
That’s why it is important to determine your expectations from the beginning. Write down your current process and see where it could be more efficient. Where are the issues?
What would you like to improve with the software?
What information do you want to gather?
How do you want to consult the information?
Would it be beneficial to integrate the software with your other software, such as your ERP?
How many people in your company will be using the software?
Will the software be used for other sites?
Meets the needs of several stakeholders in the company
These systems impact a number of different stakeholders. For example, health and safety officers will wish to review contractor incident/accident statistics and consult contractor prevention programs. Purchasing agents will be interested in contractor qualification from the standpoint of company standards, risks and quality of work provided, including insurance certificates. The legal and communications departments will focus attention on documentation needed to demonstrate due diligence on behalf of the company in the event of an incident/accident.
Think about involving the other departments in your organization that could benefit from this software in order to find out in advance how it could meet their needs.
6. Security and Reliability
Often forgotten or neglected because they are considered boring, security considerations, in fact, have a very big impact. For instance:
What is the vendor’s privacy and data protection policy? Find out if the vendor’s solution is modelled on principles set out in the National Standard of Canada entitled “Model Code for the Protection of Personal Information” (CAN/CSA–Q830–96) and takes into account the provisions of the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (“GDPR,” entitled “Regulation (EU) 2016/679 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 27 April 2016 on the protection of natural persons with regard to the processing of personal data and on the free movement of such data, and repealing Directive 95/46/EC”).
Where will your data be stored?
Will the data be hosted on a secure server, or on the cloud, etc.? Is it a SaaS type of software?
What security measures are in place to protect your data?
Does the software vendor carry out regular security updates?
Is the solution available on mobile devices?
7. Price Structure
Is there a set price by module? Is there an annual licence? Is the price set according to the number of users? Is the invoice entirely passed on to your contractors? Are there additional costs for implementation, training, terms of service, etc.?
Take note of this information, but assess the pros and cons of each option based on your criteria and needs. Before making your selection, consider each element and its added value. In many cases, foregoing something because of cost results in having to spend more time completing the task some other way. Time is money.
There’s no way around it: acquiring contractor management software will require an investment by the company. However, if cost is a key factor, make sure that the savings that result from choosing a less effective solution will not penalize your company in the long term.
8. Functionalities Available
Choose a system that offers functionalities that you need now and in the future. The main functionalities of contractor compliance management software are: prequalification, employee management, e-learning training, work management and evaluation.
Look closely at the functionalities and modules available and ask yourself the following questions. Do they meet an actual need?
Does the software have modules that are adapted to meet the specific requirements of your industry?
9. Flexible and Customizable
Ask about which options are customizable.
Does the structure allow you to customize the questionnaires, the document categories and the approval process?
Can the solution be configured based on, for instance, the specific needs of your sector of activity, risk levels and your different worksites?
Can the software be integrated with your other management software?
Also, what is the vendor’s position regarding the development of new functionalities? Are they open to suggestions and new ideas for functionalities that would better meet your needs?
10. Service Provided to Contractors
Implementation of this type of software depends a lot on the collaboration of the contractors.
Will the software vendor assist your contractors at each step of the implementation, or will you be responsible for transmitting the various communications to them?
What services are offered to contractors? Will they be provided with training sessions? Will the vendor’s team be able to advise them on matters related to their qualification? Will the contractors have access to technical support following the implementation? Who will they be able to contact if they have questions on how to use the software?
After you have very carefully assessed your needs and determined your must-haves, don’t hesitate to request demos of several solutions to get a better understanding of the various options so that you can make an informed decision. Also, this first contact will enable you to establish a relationship with the vendor, evaluate their expertise and determine if the team is the right partner for your company.