Jan 23, 2017 1:42:00 PM
You are thinking ahead to the weekend and planning how best to recover from a challenging week. You...
Words like digitalization, Industry 4.0, cloud computing and the Internet of Things are quickly making their way into our everyday language. Articles on these subjects abound, with many authors pointing out that these technologies are just the tip of the iceberg.
It is true that, for the last number of years, technology has greatly influenced how we function, in both our personal lives, with such innovations as online payments and GPS, and our working lives, with enterprise resource planning (ERP) and customer relationship management (CRM) systems, for example. This new wave of technology has likely already hit your organization, but how can you capitalize on it to better manage your contractors?
Here are the main reasons you should incorporate technology now to manage your contractors.
You frequently have to contact dozens of companies on a timely basis—i.e. in real time—to choose qualified contractors for a specific job.
Do you really have time to do this by email? Checking every address, sorting out which of the contractor’s employees should receive the information? Going through your contractor profiles one by one to figure out which is the most qualified? Emailing reminders for them to send you their insurance certificates? Basically, making sure your contractors are compliant?
A contractor management system centralizes and automates your communications with contractors in addition to handling contact and insurance information updates, and more. No more spending hours of valuable time emailing manually!
Sometimes, the responses submitted during the contractor qualification process don’t initially meet your requirements. Back and forth correspondence with your contractors is a reality and these exchanges can be just as critical to keep on record as the final responses. Indeed, if you ever have to demonstrate your due diligence, you will need those full conversations. So saving each part of the exchange is essential.
How do you keep a trace of these discussions? With an online system, you can easily record all communications and their dates and look up information using powerful filtering tools.
Ensuring contractor compliance entails checking their employee training and is key to risk management.
In addition to managing the contractors’ general files, you also have to manage their employee profiles to make sure that you are dealing with qualified, competent personnel who can do the job safely.
Contractors’ companies use dozens, if not hundreds of workers, who are often members of professional bodies. They are mobile workers who change employers from contract to contract.
By using a SaaS solution for outsourcing management, a worker’s individual training and skills file follows them, regardless of the contractor employing them, and even if they change employers. This simplifies updates and follow-ups.
A computerized system provides the hierarchy and all the programming for file management. Employee information is automatically compiled in an established format so that you don’t have to create templates, scan documents, develop filtering tools, etc.
Managing document updates for the qualification of a single contractor is easy enough, but for dozens or hundreds of them, it’s a much more labour-intensive exercise.
Technology allows for automatic notifications. So instead of managing deadlines manually by creating piles of priority files or using sticky notes, a calendar or an Excel spreadsheet, the system sends a notification based on the timing you have established, be it one month in advance or a few hours prior to expiry.
Technology becomes your guardian angel. It allows you to spend your time on other tasks and to only be alerted at the appropriate moment, when something is required of you. And if you would prefer to not be disturbed, the technology can also be programmed to send the contractor an instant message when the notification is sent.
As with most industrial sites, orientation or induction training specific to your site is probably required before a person is allowed access to your facilities. If this isn’t the case, you have cause for concern.
If you use classroom training or site tours to give contractors specific details about your business, you know that this takes up your resources’ time, incurs significant recurring costs, and can be more or less effective from one day to the next depending on the supervisor on duty and the operational context at the time.
With technology, this orientation process can be easily converted into e-learning. E-learning induction training courses can save you time, money and resources. What’s more, proof of training is recorded in the worker’s electronic file in real time.
It’s impossible to cut corners. A test is automatically added to the end of each module to validate what the trainee has learned. The contractor’s training file is automatically updated upon successful completion of the course. If the contractor fails the initial training, their site access card does not get activated.
Thanks to technology, data is hosted in the cloud and can be accessed from anywhere, with any computer, tablet or smartphone with an Internet connection. Managers can access the same files simultaneously and each make changes without worrying about overwriting another person’s work. Every change is saved in real time. You no longer need a system for managing files by version date, by person, etc., or complex IT infrastructures: the technology handles everything!
Transferring files by email or USB key becomes a thing of the past. Everyone can therefore make decisions based on the same up-to-date information.
Technology does away with a lot of paperwork and allows you to get more done in less time and assign resources to the field instead of relegating them to a desk. So what are you waiting for?