From the Experts: Key Takeaways on Contractor Management Made Easy

If you missed our recent webinar, we got you covered! And, we have a great Top 10 List .. keep reading to learn more.

Attendees heard from facilities management expert, Joel Elsea from CURO Financial Technologies and ServiceChannel thought leader, Bashir Abdallah, on how contractor management can be made easier – with simple tips, tricks and ways to efficiently manage your contractors.

During the session, they highlighted some key topics, applicable to most any facilities manager:

  • Contractor management challenges and opportunities
  • The importance of proper contractor management
  • Top tips on effectively managing contractors
  • Best practice results

Contractor Management Challenges

CURO covered a number of challenges when managing a set of contractors. When asked by the audience, “How do you manage the compliance of a large network of providers if you only have a small staff?,” Joel responded, “Our system allows us to store critical data about our vendors in one place. We communicate all aspects of our business that are important before they even become a part of our network.”

There are a number of challenges that FMs face related to contractor management and taking care of their locations. The number one challenge is finding and selecting the right contractor. In the age of unlimited information, there’s almost too much data to make a decision and rarely is that data objective, especially if you’re using the internet to find a qualified contractor.

“Brands and contractors have to talk the same language and in the same medium – need to ADAPT for success. It’s the key theme in facilities management today.”

Why is Contractor Management So Important?

The commitment to locations and their satisfaction, coupled with the contractor-customer relationship, ultimately creates overall company success and results in operational efficiencies. Contractor management is a large part in creating these positive results.

Joel notes that you have to be flexible when deciding on the frequency of performance reviews with your contractors. “I suggest an annual meeting with your primary contractors. Or, if you’ve got performance issues, you might have to tighten that up a little bit and meet more frequently.”  Bashir concurs, “at minimum you want to do once a year, and if possible have that conversation in person if you can.”

“We want our fleet to operate as professionally as possible – we need to manage location success.”
— Joel Elsea

 Top Ten Tips for Effectively Managing Your Service Providers

  1. Determine your FM philosophy early. This may include contractor consolidation, expansion or adding an internal team member to service staff and customers.
  2. Contractor performance decisions should be data driven. Based on established, hard data including KPIs, spend, response times, scorecards, NTEs.
  3. Use a “single tool-box” system or CMMS platform (service automation) that is adaptable to some degree and has the ability to evolve when needed.
  4. Set up retailer alliances and peer groups with similar FM needs and goals. Investigate best practices occurring outside your immediate FM universe.
  5. Involve other departments in the process. Share your contractors and your system. Contractors see it as an added business opportunity they weren’t aware of.
  6. Be direct and engage with your contractors. Don’t waste their time and make sure that they are considerate of your time as well. Communicate your needs and pressure points.
  7. Have at least one annual review with your primary contractors. Compare scorecards and discuss issues that will help you both perform better.
  8. Move as much work into a “preventative” or “scheduled” maintenance program as possible. It should help you control costs and extend equipment life but also improve service.
  9. Implement a “Contractor of the Year” award and/or retreat. Make the award meaningful and publicize it. Make public the criteria for winning the award all contractors are aware.
  10. Lastly, be realistic in your expectations and get the facts about failures when they occur. No company or individual performs flawlessly. Understand that both parties need to succeed.

The Results Are In

In CURO’s case, the oversight of 18,000 work orders a year is essentially covered by four people in three countries. There’s really no way to do this without implementing some of the ideas Joel discussed, coupled with the use of a service automation (facilities management software) solution.  Not only are the work orders more manageable, but the cost savings are significant and aren’t just applicable to the facilities department —  there is impact on other departments as well.

“Our accounting and compliance departments have benefited. We operate in a very transparent manner. Meaning, that anyone who wants access to our system can get into our system and see what work orders we’re processing, how much our spend is, what our average invoice amount is, see who our contractors are, see how we select them.”

“Advice on being a better FM – engage with other departments and figure out how to solve shared problems = goodwill”

The Dual Perspective

Joel has a unique perspective on the industry. Not only does he have the FM experience, but he has previously worked on the contractor side of the business. Joel’s advice to contractors is to find a way to differentiate yourself from the rest of your competition:

“If you’ve won any awards for contractor of the year or for innovation, that weighs heavily for me. I’d rather have a contractor lead off with that, prior to who they currently do business with.”

On the facilities management side, Joel recognizes there are a lot of FMs that don’t want to engage other departments as much as they should.

The more interaction you have with your accounting department, your IT department, figuring out their pressure points, you can look for adjustments that you can make that will benefit them and create goodwill. You can’t be afraid to engage with your contractors. In most cases contractors are trying to help you resolve an issue you have.”

Learn more by watching the replay of “Contractor Management Made Easy.”

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