The Top 5 Things that Make Managing Contractor & Subcontractor Information a Pain

Stressed Professional

While there are probably a heap of little things that make managing contractor and subcontractor information both painful and boring, I have assembled my top five.

1. Theoretically, you should check that the business details that your providers sent you is correct. The only problem is you have a million other things to do. Checking this information would require you to go to the relevant government body website and do a search. Navigating the maze, that most government websites usually are, you’ll probably conveniently forget this little step.

2. Assuming the information is correct, you often don’t find out it’s been changed until you try to contact your provider. At that point the phone number is dead, the email bounces and they are no longer at the same address – at least the yellow pages and google can help. But again, wasted hours.

3. Managing the currency of insurances is a nightmare. If you enjoy this, then you’re as rare as snow in Sydney….on Christmas day.  If you can get all the insurances you need on the first try, which isn’t as easy as it sounds, then theoretically you should be making sure they are kept current for the length of your contract, and probably a period of time after the contract ends, depending on your company or client requirements. Good luck with that.

4. As likely as it is that the sun will rise tomorrow, within a few weeks of any of your provider insurances expiring you’re probably going to get audited by your company QA manager, or worse still, an external auditor.

5. Entering all of the relevant subcontractor information into your company’s database or spreadsheet is as fun as getting poked in the eye with a blunt stick.

There we have it: the top 5 reasons that I hate managing contractor and subcontractor information. Why not leave a comment and share your reasons.

Mark Evans

 

How to waste 4 hours as an Engineer or Project Manager

Miserable professional

Would you email each person in your professional network every few months to find out if their information had changed? That would take a ridiculous amount of time. Then, assuming they respond, would you like to invest hours of your time putting the information into your personal database or spreadsheet, only to have to update it again in a few months? Probably not. Besides, LinkedIn has taken care of this for us. Thankfully. Why is it then, that so many of us spend hours collecting the business and insurance details of our contractors?

If you are one of the hundreds of thousands of engineers or project managers around the world who work with subcontracts and providers, you probably know how frustrating this little task can be. The conversation usually goes something like this:

You: “Hi Jim, the insurances we have on file seem to be expired. Any chance you can send me the current versions?”.

If you’re lucky, Jim responds: “Sure. No problem”. And then you wait. Sometimes a few hours. Sometimes a few days. Perhaps after a phone call to remind Jim.

If your unlucky, Jim might respond instead: “I already sent you my insurances last week. I sent ‘em to Rob. I seem to be sending you this stuff every few weeks.”. Who knows, maybe he did send them to Rob, or maybe he sent them to the Rob who works for our competitor. As with the Loch Ness monster, we may never know the truth. Either way nobody likes this contractor management, risk mitigation and compliance task.

Side-note: Let’s agree that contractors, subcontractors, consultants, subconsultants, service, providers, tradesmen and suppliers all provide us with goods or services, and for that reason can be referred to inclusively as “providers”.

In a time when all of our social and professional relationships are networked (Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram etc) so many project managers and engineers still spend up to 4 hours each year collecting and maintaining details from their contractors, consultants and service providers. For almost a decade as a civil engineer and project manager, I too found myself losing countless hours each year collecting provider information, entering it manually into my company’s database, and then periodically checking that it was up-to-date. I will never get back those hours which could have been spent working on real problems, or even better relaxing at the beach. Either way, although necessary,  I hated the task and and always sensed it felt like a bit of a waste of my time.

After speaking with over 20 engineers and projects managers, it seems that I’m not the only one. Anecdotally, professionals, including engineers and project managers, spend between 2 and 4 hours each year collecting information from providers including:

  • Business names
  • Business registration numbers
  • Business addresses
  • Contact details
  • Professional indemnity insurance
  • Public liability insurance
  • Workers compensation details

Given how time poor we are, spending even 2 hours collecting and maintaining some other business’s standard business information feels like a massive waste of time. In saying that though, your heart must go out to the poor providers, who waste hours sending this same information to each one of their clients.

If you’d like a faster way check out www.cyrra.com

Up and Running – Cyrra.com: Contractor Management made simple

Today marks the official launch of cyrra.com, a site dedicated to making it easier for people to collect and manage details about their service providers. A site dedicated to removing double up of effort and making contractor management and subcontractor management faster and easier than ever before. Our goal is for cyrra.com to save project managers, engineers, and their service providers significant time, and make it easier for them to work together. Head over and take a look at the site, and tell us what you think.