Contractor management can be fraught with difficulty and often gives rise to what we call ‘pain areas’. At Pragma we have developed a contractor management process that helps to smooth over these difficulties. During a live broadcast, Vangie Mari, Business Area Manager presented an overview of the process that we follow at Pragma, both for our company and when managing contractors on behalf of our clients. Here are some of the elements Vangie elaborated on.
Engaging contractors: getting it right, from the start
Finding the right contractors starts with something that seems very basic but is often overlooked: assessing the needs of the business and clarifying the scope of work. “The first step is to look at exactly what needs to be done. This is critical to ensuring that the contractors that we’re sourcing are accredited to do a particular kind of work,” says Vangie.
Only once the scope of work is established can the work of sourcing contractors begin. At this stage, it’s important to ensure that they have the correct resources to do the job and will be able to cope with the capacity of work. Their compliance levels and competency are assessed, and any necessary training and tools are provided.
“Once contractors are on board, we start the actual contractor management process. The first thing is to establish measurements. We cannot manage what we cannot measure!” says Vangie. “We establish KPIs and SLAs, and we put all that information onto an asset enterprise management system so we can manage it automatically. This enables us to pick up performance issues as they arise and address them.”
Supply chain management support
This is an ongoing process, and it’s an area where ‘support’ is the key word. “The contract has been signed, but now we want to continuously make sure that the agreements are clear. Does anything need to change? Let’s have a formal conversation about that. Are there changes to a contractor’s rates or scope of work? Let’s make sure that we understand what those changes are so that we can include them in the contract,” says Vangie.
Pragma is also passionate about transformation. “If a company needs help in its transformation journey, we will provide support and have the necessary discussions,” says Vangie. “We will help you to identify the level you’re at, establish your aims and track your progress so that you achieve your B-BBEE goals.”
Technology has advanced, and in contractor management there is much to gain from making the most of digitalisation. “We used to say that change is coming, but change is already here. In the work management process, the applications and tools that we use can be run on tablets or mobile phones. There’s no paper waste, and traceability is so much more reliable,” says Vangie.
“Here’s an example of how technology works for us. A client logs a call through our 24/7 call centre or through our mobile app. We review that request and determine the scope. Then we allocate it to a contracted company that has the required skillset and is in the geographic region. The contractor uses our Contractor Portal app to assign a technician to a job, track when that technician arrives at the site and record how long the technician takes to complete the work. The app can also be used to review the permit to work and the HSSE documents, to quote, and to invoice.”
Some people might feel daunted by the use of technology, but our tools are user friendly and we provide training and support. “Another advantage of our technology is that performance is easily measured and can be tracked and reviewed at any time. Audits are therefore no longer something to be feared, as issues will already have been picked up and addressed,” says Vangie.
To find out more about our contract management process, view the full webinar on Webinar | Contractor Management – YouTube