The use of independent contractors – hired for their own specialized skills and experience – is becoming more popular for a number of reasons. Contractors offer companies the agility to upscale quickly and reduce the number of employees needed for a project. It also gives companies access to skills for short periods of time, without having to take on the risk of employing someone directly. Contractor management software is the best way for companies to optimize their use of a contractor workforce.
Contractor management refers to the selection, management and analysis of these outsourced employees and their work for one company.”
Managing contractors is a multi-step process, with each stage an important step in achieving success. The greatest resource of any company is its workforce and contractor management should aim to maximize the capabilities of this resource. This is not always an easy task because projects in the heavy industries often require large numbers of workers across a number of sites, leading to logistical headaches and efficiencies throughout the process.
Implementing a checklist is key to successful contractor management:
- Pre-job Planning – It is vital that the requirements of the job are established before beginning any search for contractors. A good way to do this is to work backwards from the final goal of the project until you can establish the tasks required by the contractors.
- Prequalification of Contractors – A customized prequalification form (PQF) is the beginning of efficient contractor management, giving prospective contractors a list of all the details they are required to provide. The prequalification stage can also include checking a workers references and employment history.
- Auditing – Once prequalification has been carried out, it is crucial that contractors have a clear understanding of the job they’re applying for and any risks involved. The auditing process should be a close examination of the health and safety program to ensure it is adequate for the project’s needs and is being implemented properly.
- Induction and Training Sessions – This is a hugely important component of contractor management given the hazards that exist in heavy industry projects. High standards of inductions and training can increase workforce productivity, while helping to keep your contractors safe from harm.
- Risk Assessment and Management – Projects in the hard-hat industries contain a variety of risks that can lead to project delays, cost overruns and worker injuries. Identifying, assessing and managing these risks is key if your contractor management is going to be successful.
- Giving Feedback – Employers need to listen to their contractors to maximize the efficiency of their workforce. There should be a system that allows for continuous feedback between management and contractors so that hazards can be quickly identified. Feedback works both ways and workers should be congratulated for good work, but constructively criticized if indications point towards the need for potential changes in work practices.
Successful Contractor Management
It is crucial that the chosen contractor suits all the relevant requirements for the new position. Contracts are a crucial aspect because misclassifying workers and independent contractors can have big financial and legal implications for your company. It’s important that you start the process of contractor management well from the beginning. If a suitable worker is chosen for the job, all parties involved will understand their obligations under the contract and fewer problems will occur over time.
It’s important to build a good relationship with independent contractors and contractor companies. This helps create a positive work environment, as well as creating contacts that will make recruiting a contractor workforce a lot easier for future projects. Regular inspections and feedback are key to ensuring a high quality workforce, as is monitoring worker behavior so safety standards are universally high.
Traditional Methods of Contractor Management
In the past, contractors were traditionally managed using a paper based process using spreadsheets. While a paper based process made sense in the past, It makes a lot less sense now with contractor management software available on the market but is still commonly used in heavy industry companies. This traditional method has many drawbacks that affect efficiency and productivity. Paper is messy, time-consuming and expensive; not things you want in a project!
There are also gaps in the traditional contractor management process. Worker details are not easily accessible and are easily misplaced or lost because everything is done on paper. Contractors end up slipping through the cracks, with workers who don’t have the right documentation still managing to access the site, putting the workforce as a whole at risk of injury and the employer at risk of massive fines.
Contractor Management Software
If you find yourself chasing expired documentation from contractors and cross-checking safety orientation dates, then it’s probably time to consider online contractor management software. Online systems give you the ability to pre-approve contract companies before they can add their workers to your online induction. Everyone arrives on site ready to hit the ground running.
Contractor management software has several key benefits compared to traditional training methods. Online training is self-paced, with the ability to repeat and revisit course information, ensuring that no workers are left behind. Traditional inductions include quizzes only at the end of a course, while online training has quizzes at the end of each course chapter, improving retention rates among workers. Contractor management software is also more flexible, allowing for an easy to customize mix of generic and site-specific content. Contractor management is a huge part of any project and digital tools now allow you to achieve higher levels of productivity and efficiency than ever before.