Sometimes, seeing the work that you do from a different perspective sheds light on what you can do better, or what you can change to develop a better working relationship with stakeholders. For anyone that works as a supply chain manager or a position to that equivalent, understanding what your contractors and suppliers go through can bring about similar thoughts and feelings.
Here at Altius, we help our clients to understand better and manage their supply chain by assessing, profiling, auditing and monitoring their current processes together. Using the Altius supply chain compliance framework, client suppliers go through a three-step journey that approves, manages and monitors their performance throughout a year.
Here’s a breakdown of this best practice approach over a 12 month period:
Request for information
For new suppliers, in particular, they should receive communication from yourself to request their vital information. A questionnaire outlining basic information such as their address and financial contact should be completed alongside specialist information, such as physical evidence of certifications for working at heights.
Insurance documents to carry out the work they said they can do, should be copied and sent across to your business in order for you to carry out the necessary checks. If you require references, suppliers should provide you with contact details to support their actions.
After checking through all documentation and evidence that the supplier can complete the jobs you require, it is now up to you to authorise the company and let them know that this is the case.
Understand and complete the job
Following authorisation, the supplier should receive contact on the work you wish to be carried out – whether this is a one-off project or ongoing service. Suppliers should get a copy of the policies and rules that they have to abide by while completing their service, before signing and sending them back to accept that they understand what is being asked of them.
This is also the case for the contract associated with the output of their service. The contract should list all actions the supplier is to undertake, and this should be clearly set out, understood and signed by both parties. Additional services should be recorded on a separate contract.
Finally, before proceeding with the work, suppliers should also understand the controls and restraints they are under, especially if they’re working on your site. Suppliers should pass on this information to their operational team to ensure output and restraints are followed to the letter.
Together with the supplier, you should assess what requirements they will need to undertake the work. If this requires electronic passes, cordoned off areas, or the electricity supply to be cut for 60 minutes, this should be agreed by both parties. Work can then commence.
Ready to be assessed and improve
Depending on the amount of work the supplier is doing, depends on how often you assess their work. Suppliers should be open and work with you to assess their behaviour and audit them efficiently.
Together with the operational team and the key contact at the supplier, you should ensure that all policies, rules, contracts and restraints are being met – while keeping a high standard of quality at the same time. Following this audit, suppliers should be invited to assess their performance against the KPIs set against them – allowing them to see progress and improve on their work already.
Ready for re-assessment
If suppliers haven’t been updating you with information already that may have expired, such as certifications and insurance documents, they should be prepared to hand over this information every 12 months as part of your re-assessment of existing suppliers. Together with the approved supplier, you can work to keep your supply chain more efficient and reduce the risk of poor quality work at the same time.
Assessing your suppliers
While these three steps make the process sound easy, we know it’s a hard job chasing just one supplier for their information. To help you improve your supply chain management, Altius has created the free 'Supply Chain Compliance Self-Assessment Guide'.
Within 12 questions you can assess the performance of your own supply chain and see which areas you need to improve. Download your free copy of the self-assessment guide today.
Photo credit: Dafne Cholet