By Gary Plant, Managing Director of supplier assessment and compliance specialist Altius
Outsourcing can help tightly stretched public sector budgets stretch further and free up resources. But it can go spectacularly wrong if your supplier assessment and compliance systems are weak, or you don’t have good visibility of your contractors and their sub contractors.
Say no to spreadsheets
You don’t need superpowers to cure supply chain blind spots and reduce risk, but you do need modern software systems. Spreadsheets and questionnaires are the ‘kryptonite’ that weakens effective outsourcing and supplier management. These manual processes are slow, cumbersome, time consuming, and inflexible.
By making use of specialist software, public sector managers can simplify the task and minimise the cost of compliance management. This will mean that managers can focus on developing supplier value, rather than supervising and ‘policing’ the contract.
Modern software systems, such as Altius’ Exigo, can keep pace with rapid change and contract growth, and can be used collaboratively. The flexible software package also integrates with other back office systems to retrieve audit evidence and generate quick management reports.
Three steps to compliance
Managers can follow a three-step compliance process, which is underpinned by Altius’ Exigo software solution.
- Assess capability
- Supplier information is needed to establish capability to carry out the service or deliver the product required. But there’s little point in gathering the same information for each supplier. It must be pertinent to the service they are providing or goods they are supplying.
- Verify the supplier information – don’t take the claims of a supplier, always verify that their credentials are valid. Checks that are carried out on supplier information should always be evidence based and may involve verification with certification bodies or insurance companies. This evidence shouldn’t just be checked once a year, it should always be live, up to date and instantly retrievable.
- Authorise the information – once a supplier is thoroughly checked and approved, ensure that only approved suppliers are used by all departments. All too often the reality is that different departments stray from the approved suppliers list to appoint non-approved suppliers based on cheaper price. This can prove very costly if that decision also ‘buys-in’ risk.
- Manage supply contracts
- Set clear policies and rules – for clear mutual understanding of expectations. Share with the supplier and their employees exactly the kind of work that they have been verified to carry out – in granular detail. Don’t permit them to do work outside of the scope you’ve checked them for.
- Contracts and specification – formalise your requirements so that nothing is left to chance.
- Controls and restraints – ensure that suppliers understand any control processes that need to be followed, e.g. site access control on construction sites, exposure to heat, radiation, etc.
- Monitor suppliers
- Behaviour – don’t let the robustness of your monitoring lull your suppliers into complacency and remove their sense of responsibility for their own compliance and performance. It’s important to be clear about where accountability lies, particularly where sub contractors are involved.
- Audit – while physical audits have their place, technology can be used at lower cost to provide an audit trail This can replace sprawling spreadsheets – minimising timescales and maximising efficiency.
- Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) – it’s often said that what doesn’t get measured doesn’t get done. It’s important to gather, measure and analyse statistics that illustrate whether the desired outcomes and objectives were achieved, e.g. . % delivered on time, % fixed first time, % call outs achieved within target time.
How Exigo software helps
The Exigo software can be configured to assess performance and compliance for many business areas, such as health and safety, bribery and corruption policies, CSR, quality, environmental and employment law, and information and data security compliance
It is cloud-based, so requires no hardware or software installation, and integrates with existing enterprise systems. It provides automated report generation and data exportation compatible with other business formats, such as Excel.
Control and transparency
Unlike spreadsheets and questionnaires, Exigo allows you to formulate your company’s requirements and convey these quickly and easily to your suppliers. Changes can be factored in quickly and easily and you and your suppliers can work collaboratively..
Exigo provides a real-time view of compliance, enabling you to check the current and past status of any supplier at any time. It instantly highlights your weak points and potential issues, allowing you to resolve them before they become a risk.
When things go wrong you need to be in a position to identify how and why. Exigo tracks everything automatically. Its built-in audit trail enables you to retrieve the exact status of a supplier from any previous point in time, along with the evidence and rationale for the decisions made.
Take a look at the Exigo video and request a demo of the software: resources.altiusva.com/request-a-demo-of-altius-exigo-software
Further information www.altiusva.com/software