– By Rob Wilson –
I’ve previously written about the outsourcing decision process and the need to make sure your service providers are up to the task. One way to do this is to pre-qualify suppliers.
This might be achieved through the very structured and detailed process of preparing specifications and contract documents, going through a market testing process, such as tendering and then assessing and validating the supplier’s capabilities before including them on your approved supplier list. It is very important this kind of structured and rigorous process takes place for high value, high risk activities.
For more day to day requirements, for example contractors for routine panel and mechanical repairs, it is still important to ensure the supplier is not only up to the job but also meets your organisation’s contractual and risk management obligations. Remember you can’t outsource your Health and Safety responsibilities.
One way to reduce the risk of sub-standard performance is to develop and use a check list to make sure the supplier adequately meets requirements. The checklist approach not only ensures relevant areas are considered but also forms part of your organisation’s records and an audit trail to demonstrate due diligence if the need arises.
The check list should include as a minimum:
- The skills and competencies required to deliver the service (e.g. qualifications of trades staff, experience in servicing the relevant type of equipment, currency of skills)
- Approvals and licences (e.g. Licenced Vehicle Tester)
- The capacity to provide the service and associated records in a timely manner
- Availability, including hours of work and geographic location
- Customer service capability
- Environmental performance (in particular work practices and the selection, storage, application and disposal of products used in the servicing of vehicles)
- Health and Safety systems and practices
- Quality systems, and
- Commercial competitiveness
You should also obtain copies of required qualifications, licences and certifications to form part of your records. Once a qualification process occurs it should not be set and forget. The supplier should be periodically reviewed to ensure standards continue to be met and that qualifications, skills and competency remains current.
A structured and robust approach to qualifying suppliers not only leads to better service outcomes but can also provide a record to demonstrate due diligence.