Using a contractor management system (or contractor safety management system as they are sometimes called) is a relatively new phenomenon in Australia and can be quite daunting to both the business owner and the contractor. While initially time consuming to set up, there are significant potential benefits for the contractor and the employer- especially if it guarantees them preferred supplier status for larger ongoing contracts.
Why use a contractor management system?
For the contractor:
For the contractor, signing up with an online contractor management system such as Avetta (formerly PICS), iProLive or CM3 is increasingly a prerequisite to getting lucrative, ongoing work with Government or large corporates.
This trend looks set to continue and increase in the coming years as organisations choose to outsource aspects of their recruitment processes to third parties to save on time and resources.
While being prequalified doesn't guarantee that you will win your tenders, it certainly positions you well to become known within the industry, to connect with important companies (the ones who regularly seek tenders) and to win the jobs you prefer.
For example, a client recently required registration with the Avetta contractor safety management system to be considered for any work with Metro Trains. Since going through the registration process with us, they have been pre-registered for several contracts, not all with Metro trains. Once on the database, they are visible to other clients who may want the same service and can find suitable people who already meet the minimum criteria.
In Avetta, the average contractor ends up working with three unique hiring clients.
For the client:
For the client, contractor prequalification schemes are part of supply chain management. They are designed to minimise an organisation’s exposure to risk when they seek contractors by ensuring that all applicants are screened first as part of the procurement process- particularly in terms of their safety requirements and records required. The client then knows that all contractors brought into their supply chain have met all the requirements for the role.
For example, if a company is looking for a crane operator that works in specific region, they will be easily able to find them just by searching online via the contractor safety management database.
Yet how do they know that the crane operator has the appropriate licenses, is carrying the appropriate insurance, has the appropriate health and safety training, has the appropriate corporate social responsibility practices, and maintains their fleet of cranes appropriately and safely?
Prequalification with the contractor safety management system, for example, eliminates the risks and minimises the time and cost the client has to invest in recruiting the right service provider.
The Tasmanian Government website says “Prequalification is an assessment of a consultant's or a contractor's financial, managerial and technical resources and competence to execute and complete work required. Prequalification classifies the consultant/contractor according to their expertise and capability in specific work categories within a specific financial range.”
Contractor prequalification is intended to streamline the tender process, and make it easier for both parties to get on with the job.
How the contractor management system process works
There are a number of online contractor management systems (or "prequalification schemes") in place through which contractors can register to become pre-approved to undertake work for large corporations and government agencies.
A contractor management system such as Avetta, Pegasus, CM3 and iProlive helps companies to monitor and manage their supply chains. They each deal with specific clients and range of industries and take care of the vendor screening process, making sure that contractors meet the exact requirements of each job.
They (ideally) make supply chain management a less stressful process for contractors and companies.
Different systems reflect differing client requirements- often to do with site specific requirements (under water/ rail etc), OHS and insurances and increasingly around Quality and Environmental as well.
Apply for registration on the website
Most systems will have a dashboard which indicates questions to be answered and the format of documents that are required to be uploaded. There is also support available in terms of live chat or email.
Contractors are required to complete prequalification questions and supply documentation which will help the assessor measure their capability against specific criteria including technical ability, qualifications, QMS, OHS and EMS systems and financial controls.
They may be required to submit evidence in support of statements made in the prequalification documents, such as proof of their activities, records as evidence of use of their system, their competence and training qualifications. They might also need to have their business operations audited.
Once all the documents are submitted, the application will be assessed and contractors will be notified of the outcome.
There is normally an annual review requirement where some or all of the above will need to be done again.
In most cases, once you are successfully registered, your details then become visible to all the other companies recruiting through that prequalification scheme. There is then an opportunity to leverage the time and effort put into registration, by securing work with clients without further effort.
Tips to choosing a contractor management system
There are a number of contractor management systems available, so before registering, you need to know which contractor management systems your ideal clients are working with. Those are the places you need to apply through.
For example, Pegasus is recognised for working within the mining industry, CM3 is a key player dealing with councils and shopping centres such as Westfield, while Avetta handles contractor management on a global level. Avetta looks set to increase its market share over the coming months and years as larger companies operating outside Australia look for a global solution.
For more detail about the individual schemes, please click here
Still too hard?
Admittedly, there can be a significant amount of work involved in setting up or prequalifying for a contractor management system.
If your business does not currently have a documented Safety management system, Environmental Management system or a sound Quality Management System in place, you may have to put in the time and effort initially to understand the requirements and get the documentation ready so your company can be approved as successfully registered.
(Shameless plug) A pain-free alternative would be to engage our company, Integrated Compliance Solutions to manage the entire process for you. ICS specialises in helping companies become successfully prequalified with all the major players including: Avetta Auditing, CM3 (Greencap), Ipro Live, Browz, Rapid Induct and others.
Our prequalification support services remove the pain from this process by taking care of ALL the details for you so you can go on with running your business.
To read more about the current opportunities in contractor management, please read our blog article: "Contractor Prequalification Schemes – Discover the hidden advantages for your SME"
Alternatively, for a no-obligation chat about our contractor prequalification support service or any other compliance matter, please contact us or give us a call on 1300 132 745.