Jun 8, 2018

Managing Utility Contractors? Your Top 3 Challenges Solved Through Automation

If your utility company is struggling to keep pace with managing a growing number of third-party contractors in the workplace, you’re not alone. Too often, outdated or manual processes pose significant administrative burdens for hiring organizations who find themselves bogged down in day-to-day inefficiencies.

So, here’s the good news: automating some of those efficiencies with software helps a whole lot. (I mean, who doesn’t love easy and reliable shortcuts that put time back into your day?) In this blog, we’ll take a look at some commonly cited pain points for utility organizations and discuss how you may be able to automate them with the right software.

Challenge 1: Too Many Moving Parts After Pre-Qualification

Feel you’ve got a good handle on “pre-qualifying” your contractors? Great! When you hit the hiring jackpot, you’re likely to get some good mileage from your third-party contractors. (Also great!)

But when contractors who stick with you for a long period of time, hiring organizations often have a hard time keeping their records up to date. Many still rely on manual processes like spreadsheets to manage it all -- and when this happens, record-keeping gets unruly. It is a major challenge to stay current on each contractor’s credentials, insurance, requirements for employee training, and so on -- and when things slip through the cracks, it exposes your organization to compliance risk.

How to automate: Some compliance software will automatically keep track of such updates by alerting users on critical things like expiry dates and renewal periods.  When a key item is coming up for renewal -- or is past due -- the software automatically flags both the hiring organization AND the contractor to let them know.

Example in action: Are your contractors in compliance? Contractor Compliance software sends automated alerts to help you AND your contractors stay on top of items that need updating.

Challenge 2: Your Data Is Here, There And Everywhere

As utilities contract out more work, your pool of contractors expands. Those in charge of this process often struggle to keep contractor data in one centralized place.  Additionally, input errors (for example, a contractor’s day-to-day contact information might be different from the Purchasing or H&S contact information) result in a highly fragmented database that become impossible to manage over time.

How to automate:  A software solution can give hiring organizations one centralized, consistent place where all contractor details can be found. Multiple users, across multiple departments, can log in to see a contractor’s  information in real time. Everyone is always on the same page, even if they are in different geographic locations.

Example in action: Contractor Compliance software ensures you have a centralized source of data. Contractor details can be viewed at a glance and updated by multiple users within your organization, reducing the chance that data will exist in multiple places.

Challenge 3: Finding Specialized Workers Happens at a Snail’s Pace

Some struggle to find contractors that are uniquely qualified to perform specialized jobs. It often becomes a highly inefficient and time-consuming task to find the right contractors (or enough contractors) to perform a specific type of work -- a problem made worse when a speedy response is needed -- for example, a mass outage caused by storm damage.

How to automate:   Compliance software can narrow the contractor pool for a faster, more efficient search. Hiring organizations can search a database quickly and easily, filtering contractors by type of work needed or NAICS code. This enables organizations to react quickly in the event of emergencies.

Example in action: Contractor Compliance software helps you narrow your search based on certain specializations, helping you quickly locate your most  viable options.

In Summary

Just as utilities will benefit from using contractors as part of their workforce model, they too will face the challenges that simply come with the territory when managing them in high volumes. All in all, a software solution won’t  be the magic bullet that solves for every single one of your contract-management woes -- but it can be a game-changer in creating efficiencies that put time back into your day.

Care to see more than just a sneak peak of Contractor Compliance’s free software? We’d love to walk you through more time-saving features in addition to the ones listed here. Feel free to schedule a brief demo at any time.

About the Author

Addison Moore
Director of Marketing at Contractor Compliance

Addison has spent the last four years learning from and participating in the Health & Safety community. He has travelled to numerous EHS conferences, trade shows and events with the intention of helping organizations with their contractor management programs. Addison is also responsible for curating the collection of white papers, case studies and eBooks that provide real world insights into the workforce safety space.

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