Building a Contractor Prequalification Program: The Value of Continuous Support

Contractor Prequalification and Vendor Management

The implementation and building of a contractor screening program can be a large project that requires considerable resources. Effective and sustainable programs require the support of a group of people who are dedicated to helping set up a certification program and are responsible for its continued success. Organizations should consider whether they have the internal resources to support such an undertaking or whether they will need the support of external specialists.

According to OSHA “Most successful injury and illness prevention programs are based on a common set of key elements. These include: management leadership, worker participation, hazard identification, hazard prevention and control, education and training, and program evaluation and improvement.”

Organizing the screening of potential contractors, suppliers, or vendors on the basis of experience, financial ability, reputation, and work history takes planning and team effort. Successful programs involve key stakeholders early in the process in order to ensure that appropriate standards are implemented. Failing to define these standards early on may cause frustration within the supply chain if adjusted past implementation or if there are inconsistent expectations among internal resources.

The components of a successful contractor management program will combine both the principles outlined by OSHA and the support necessary to follow through with the development, implementation, and utilization of the program.

Whether you choose to manage contractor prequalification in-house or use an external provider, below are the key elements needed for an implementation and support team that will be capable of building and maintaining an effective contractor prequalification program. By following these steps you will be ensuring the programs’ long-term success.

Management Leadership

A project manager is necessary to:

  • Provide guidance in determining the safety standards and requirements that are going to become part of the contractor management system.
  • Establish the goals and expected outcomes of the program, and offer advice on the necessary tools for planning.
  • Identify internal stakeholders that should be involved in the planning and implementation of the program.

The management team helps to create the strong foundation upon which the other building blocks of the supply chain management program will be placed.

Worker Participation

A team is needed to introduce the program to all contractors, offering specific support and resources in order to:

  • Ensure contractors learn about and understand the necessity of, and the process involved with the implementation of the contractor management program.
  • Facilitate communication of training and other requirements to the contractor.

When contractors understand your expectations, they are more likely to participate and expedite the delivery of your requested data.

Education and Training

A support team must facilitate the program in the following ways:

  • Train users to understand standard protocols and operation of system tools to ensure that the contractor safety management program is being followed.
  • Provide a dedicated support person who is available with answers, and can assist with any difficulties encountered.

When the system is understood by all who need to use it, then the program will succeed in being useful and accessible to everyone. It is critical that appropriate resources are available to both internal stakeholders and the members of your supply chain as questions arise throughout the implementation process and beyond.

Program Evaluation and Improvement  

In order to determine effectiveness and to guide further improvement it is important to:

  • Assess the program by use of reports and the compilation of data provided by the support team.
  • Maintain the current program and follow through with the day-to-day usage. When utilized consistently, it will be easier to identify necessary improvements.
  • Discuss program enhancements to perfect or change the contractor screening program to best suit developing needs.

Evaluation of the program allows for the continual upkeep and improvement of the structure of the contractor management system.

The decisive edge to having a successful contractor safety program includes steady support during implementation, and lasting support after the program has been established.

The effective building blocks of a supply chain management program will be shored up by a team who supports these concepts. This allows the intrinsic parts of a screening program to be combined into a whole that will benefit all suppliers, contractors, and corporations.

When there is a group of dedicated individuals who are there to answer questions, provide feedback and guidance, as well as reporting on the progress of a system; the finished result will ensure contractors, suppliers, and corporations utilizing the prequalification program can go forward with confidence in the structure that the screening process provides.

For additional information on Injury and Illness Prevention Programs please see:  https://www.osha.gov/Publications/OSHA3665.pdf

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