Brand Protection Considerations While Working With Contract Workforces

There are many interpretations of brand protection. While some companies focus on solely preventing hacking or counterfeiting products, we’re focusing on the brand protection risks that arise when your company is forced to use large numbers of contractors to get the job done.

Heavy monitoring and screening are necessary to ensure that you’re working with legitimate team members. Contractors that will hopefully, if properly screened, have a solid working history and provide you with great results. This situation is becoming more prevalent in the US since it’s expected that by 2020, 40% of the workforce will be “freelance.

Remember the words of business mogul Warren Buffet that it only takes one horrible event to crush a brand’s reputation that took 20-plus years to establish.

Vendor Tracking and Its Impact On Brand Protection

To ensure you’re working with reliable contractors, and can mitigate issues if and when they arise, it’s crucial that you take the time to track your vendors and their personnel consistently and accurately. It only takes one major incident to cast a negative shadow on your brand and could take years to build back your reputation.  This is even true for government-run events as well.  A prime example of poor vendor tracking was in the news recently when a phony sign language interpreter was on TV during a very sensitive Tampa police press conference recapping developments in a multiple murder case.  This damages the credibility of the Tampa police, was extremely disrespectful to the victims’ families, and was easily preventable with proper workforce management systems and tooling.

According to Security Magazine, the top three brand threats in 2017 are:

  1. Workplace Violence and Active Shooter
  2. Terrorism
  3. Theft and Investigations (Think Equifax Breach)

These are very real and ever-changing threats that will undoubtedly have a direct impact on your brand.

Unfortunately, active shooter situations and violence in the workplace show very little recordable trends. It also takes many different shapes and forms, ranging from threats to actual violence in which there’s loss of life. The lack of trends makes it extremely hard to manage and mitigate but we know that it’s a problem, with more than two million workers affected by workplace violence each year, according to OSHA.

Terrorism, as we all unfortunately know, is becoming more prevalent in modern society. There are many forms of terrorist activities, whether explosions, driving cars through crowds, or cyber attacks. Be sure to monitor your vendors, especially those sourced internationally, to ensure their team is well documented and has clean records.  You must also make sure that vendors are qualified to complete the security duties they are being hired for to mitigate this threat.

Finally, theft and investigations is definitely an issue that can affect businesses in the rail, event management, and utility industries. Those industries collecting and storing critical data are especially at risk. Think about the Equifax dilemma that affected millions of people and their personal data. That breach was very damaging to their brand. Think about the Target hacking, where millions of customers had their credit card information stolen. Hacked credit card scanners put the retail giant’s brand protection at risk.

In all of these scenarios, an instance that occurs within minutes or days can negatively impact a brand’s reputation for years to come.

Most Effective Methods for Mitigating Risks

Whatever industry you operate in, you’re likely dealing with vendors and suppliers. Many times you’re also working with contractors who are actively visiting your job site. When you’re managing multiple relationships and temporary team members, risks increase. Mitigate the chance of negative scenarios by being proactive and building strong relationships with vendors from day one. The stronger your relationship, the more trust you build with the provider and are more likely to catch problems before they occur.

You can also mitigate risks and increase brand protection by taking the following steps:

  1. Background checks are critical. Work with a partner to help streamline the screening process to help you monitor your vendors and suppliers before they begin working with you. Background checks are an essential step to checking the quality and trustworthiness of your vendor partners.
  2. Location tracking and virtual site check-in are growing in popularity because of its effectiveness in monitoring contractors. Many companies are moving to digital vendor tracking for their contractors and subcontractors. There are now programs in the works which allows you to establish a geofence perimeter to know when the individual entered and exited a work site to help with billing and invoicing. They can also notice that individuals entered but did not leave the location which is an indication of potential security or safety concern.
  3. Ongoing screening is required to ensure consistent brand protection. You cannot perform an initial background check and forget about regular screening throughout the vendor relationship. Factors can change and if you’re not continually screening your vendors and suppliers, there could be critical changes, such as legal trouble, that can have a direct impact on your brand.

We are here to be a resource, especially for protecting your brand, for anyone working in the rails, utilities, and venue management industries. If you have any questions about ongoing screening and monitoring to manage your contractor and subcontractors, do not hesitate to reach out to here our team by clicking here. Thank you for reading!

 

 

**This article is for informational purposes only. It is not intended to constitute legal advice.

Managing Outsourced Service Providers as a Procurement Leader

We all know procurement teams juggle many responsibilities in the process of selecting and managing outsourced service providers. As vendor costs continue to rise, personnel value gets constantly evaluated, and compliance requirements change; it becomes increasingly difficult to keep all your stakeholders satisfied. Despite the challenges, there are plenty of resources and tools to help your team increase effectiveness as well as land better SLAs.

For example, to stay competitive today, businesses rely more and more on technologies like hosted vendor management solutions that are easily accessible on any device that’s connected to the network. Imagine members of your team being able to take care of all the primary aspects of their jobs, including managing outsourced service providers, from virtually anywhere. These hosted solutions are typically also less expensive and cause fewer issues for your IT department since they don’t have to worry about hosted servers or technical issues.

Reducing vendor costs and increasing efficiency helps your organization operate at peak level. By taking steps to streamline your processes with outsourced service providers, especially when you are managing talent across multiple locations or job sites, these goals become easier to achieve.

To help you continue to streamline the process of vendor management, we pulled together some great resources on the latest trends surrounding managing outsourced service providers.

Top Vendor Management Softwares Today

There are hundreds of software options for managing outsourced service providers. A simple search pulls up a number of competing services that claim to be the best. In short, an effective vendor management software should offer the features that your team needs to help improve the way you communicate with vendors and make your processes more productive than they are currently.  Choose a vendor management software that helps you achieve your business goals within budget and makes your life easier.

A few of the top solutions for managing outsourced service providers today include:

Connecteam: A mobile-enabled tool for managing and engaging your vendors and contractors.

Tipalti: A robust vendor information management system that specializes in payroll automation.

SAP Fieldglass: A cloud-based service that helps manage external talent and services procurement with built-in tools to find, engage, and manage all types of flexible resources.

ProcureWare: A supplier management, sourcing, bidding, and contract management SaaS.

Beeline VMS: Perfect for managing larger teams of contractors, this software offers automation of service procurement, contingent staffing, resource tracking and self-sourcing.

For more top vendor management software, take a look at this list.

Latest Training Resources from Chartered Institute of Procurement and Supply (CIPS)

Depending on your company’s area of expertise, always make sure you’re keeping an eye on the resources available from CIPS. There is a wealth of knowledge at your fingertips on everything from the latest news in your industry to trends in various fields, such as managing outsourced talent for specialized services.

CIPS also breaks down resources specific to every stage in the procurement and supply cycle such as initial plan development or continuous improvement. Get the most out of these resources by exploring the CIPS website to find information relevant to your needs and processes.

Maintaining Positive Relationships with Suppliers

Ensuring a great relationship with your service providers comes down to communication and attention. When you begin a new relationship with a vendor, it’s important to develop trust from the onset of the relationship. If you begin involving them in your processes from day one, they can start to understand your business and provide better service due to a clearer knowledge of your needs. And remember their concerns matter as well; it must be a give and take relationship.

Continuous Improvement – Definition and Resources

The goals of continuous improvement are essentially improving processes based on definitive results, increasing productivity, meeting KPIs, and maximize spend by reducing unnecessary costs. You can most effectively achieve these goals when your team fully understands your processes, ensures the service providers tasks are built around the business goals, and also by strengthening communication. Most importantly, continuous improvement should include a regular search for opportunities to improve areas of the process.

As mentioned above, data-driven technology is also becoming important in quantifying improvement with outsourced service providers. Procurement managers need to collect and analyze more and more data relative suppliers from many different sources. It increases the complexity of your job. Be upfront about your needs so you can ensure that you’re gathering the information you need and keeping costs down by reducing waste.

Benchmarking is another effective method for getting the most out of your processes. You can take advantage of this practice by setting a baseline, monitoring your organization’s current performance levels internally, and decide who you’re going to compare results to, such as the industry or a direct competitor. Learn more about benchmarking here.

For more best practices on continuous improvement for your processes overall, take a look at this report from APQC.


We hope these resources give you a few areas to check out to help you better manage relationships with outsourced service providers. If you have specific questions about contractor and subcontractor screening, training or badging, do not hesitate to reach out to our team by clicking here or below. We look forward to answering your questions!

 

 

 

**This article is for informational purposes only. It is not intended to constitute legal advice.

Assessing Your Mobile Workforce Tracking Systems

Now, more than ever, it is important to understand how to manage a mobile workforce. With remote positions on the rise and responsibilities to manage job sites in different locations across the country, it’s important to select tools that ensure increased safety, productivity, and work quality for all contractor relationships. This includes the goals of an effective mobile workforce tracking system, which should always include compliance management, accurate report-outs, and the ability to make adjustments in real-time.

Essentially, a worthwhile system should make operation managers’ lives easier because it’s equipped with tools to assist in the management of temporary employees on job sites where security and protocol are of critical importance. Additional best practices for mobile workforce tracking systems are described below.

Measurability Is Core In The Mobile Workforce Tracking System

Your mobile workforce tracking system should collect data and increase ease of processes so you’re able to have easy access to imperative KPI information. Aside from keeping track of time worked, your system should account for training data and compliance requirements, on-site costs, and loss.

By maintaining accurate data within the system, you reduce the risk of human error and create a simple solution for gathering information to provide an accurate account of return on investment when reports are needed.

Provides Real-Time Incident Awareness

The advent of technology allows virtually limitless possibilities for alerts and notifications on mobile-driven systems. Across job sites, in which multiple contractors are working different jobs at different times, real-time incident reporting is imperative to ensure safety and detect problems in an instant. Be sure to invest in technologies that increase the ease of communication and streamline reporting across all of your jobs.

Empowers Efficient Auditability of Data

Your mobile workforce tracking system should have the provide accurate results in data report outs. The auditability of the information entered into the system will be a direct reflection of the accuracy of your reporting. This also leads to greater transparency and job site efficiency.

Simplifies Compliance Tracking

Managing job site compliance, especially in unsecured environments like rails, utilities, and event venues, is a complicated task but with a proper system to track data, it doesn’t have to be. Using a mobile workforce tracking system with integrated compliance tracking can increase security and improve compliance management.

These systems can manage and keep track of all background check data, drug test results, training information, and time worked so it’s easily accessible when needed and can also be updated as necessary.

Provides a Great User Experience

The benefits of a great mobile workforce tracking system can’t be fully experienced if the workforce isn’t taking advantage of the system. Choose a platform that is easy to use so your contractors will enter their information into the system and your entire team can take advantage of the benefits of data tracking and compliance management.

Allows for Integration Capabilities

A mobile workforce tracking system isn’t effective if it can’t integrate with your already established processes and platforms. You should be able to connect time tracking and your training programs for contractors into the system to ensure all information is tracked and managed in a streamlined solution.

Each one of the items above is a baseline for what modern systems can provide today.
If your mobile workforce tracking system has less than five out of the six best practices listed above, consider it subpar.


We are here to be a resource for anyone working in the rails, utilities, and venue management industries. If you have any questions about finding the best workforce tracking systems to manage your contractor and subcontractors, do not hesitate to reach out to here our team by clicking here. Thank you for reading!

 

 

**This article is for informational purposes only. It is not intended to constitute legal advice.

5 Vendor Security Best Practices in 2018 for Security Leaders

Ensuring the security of vast areas — like rails, utilities, and venues — with limited resources can be a challenge for any leader, especially when it comes to contractor or vendor security. The rise of technological advances for contractor tracking such as digital onboarding programs and mobile identifications can help manage the quality, safety, and timeliness of your project’s employees, contractors, and subcontractors.

Security breaches or unprepared vendor personnel can wreak havoc on your job site, whether you’re dealing in the areas mentioned above or hiring temporary team members for any purpose. Read on to learn the top vendor security best practices for maintaining the highest levels of safety and security when working with a contract workforce.

#1 Demand Digital Onboarding for All Vendor Personnel

Leveraging the increase in available digital assets available for the onboarding process increases job site productivity, efficiency, and vendor security. The adoption of web-based training and certification programs for contractors/subcontractors — especially in the rail, utilities, and venues industries — provides safety and security leaders with greater assurance over risk mitigation and control during the verification process.

Digital onboarding applications provide real-time tracking of training completion for all vendor personnel and up-to-date mobile ID badges or centralized access systems.

Plus, mobile-driven training adoption is on the rise because it allows companies to scale quickly without the typically high costs associated with in-person training. Digital onboarding makes it possible to administer field training verification before the contractor is allowed to begin working for your organization, which leads to less wasted time and greater security on the job site.

#2 Leveraging Digital ID for Ease and Speed of Adoption for Vendor Security

With roughly three-quarters of Americans in total and nearly 92% of those ages 18-29 owning a smartphone, it’s clear to see that the future is based on mobile-ready technologies. As a result, the way you identify vendor personnel including contractors, subcontractors, and subs of subs, will be affected by mobile technology in the near future, if it hasn’t been already. The benefits of digital identification are vast but primarily revolve around streamlining the process for ease and speed of verification.

Digital IDs also allow for:

  • Increased ease of time expiration for ID badges, allowing quick access or termination of access to the job site. For example, if the contractor hasn’t completed or failed the proper training for the job, their access can be instantly suspended or terminated.
  • Hardware technologies like NFC and Bluetooth Low Energy in smartphones grants access without handing off a physical ID badge.
  • Access issues can be mitigated in real-time with a phone call and an update to the user’s profile for authorized access to a specific location that is managed via their mobile device.
  • Double or multi-factor authentication can be used to increase security in high-risk and sensitive areas. The technology includes tools such as:

#3 Monitor Training and Certifications through Digital ID

As we’ve learned, digital onboarding and mobile identification can increase vendor security by offering up real-time data and access to the most up-to-date status of your contractors/subcontractors on your job sites. Take your job’s safety a step further by leveraging digital identification to monitor training and certification.

Digital training and certification programs are on the rise as more and more companies automate their onboarding processes through integrated technologies. While some organizations see a risk in eliminating human, in-person training, there are many benefits including increased productivity, decreased risk, and higher standardization.

By connecting your contractors/subcontractors training and certification status to their mobile identification applications, you can ensure that only vendor personnel with the most up-to-date qualifications are working on your job site.

#4 Establish and Maintain Positive Relationship With Your Vendor

Maintaining an open feedback loop with your vendor is critical for positive morale and efficiency on your job site. Vendor security is critical and keeps your company’s valuable data, intellectual property, and entire team safe. By taking the steps to ensure your vendor personnel are accountable through secure background checks and necessary training, you can maintain positive relationships that keep your work running smoothly and reduce the number of incidents on the job.

#5 Streamline Security Protocols for Sub-Contractors for Increased Vendor Security

Not only do digital identification and training programs create greater ease of vendor personnel management, it also increases security, especially when your team develops repeatable security protocols. When your vendors have access to standardized security protocols for contractors and subcontractors, you can streamline processes and ensure vendor security.

The standard protocol can be ingrained in your digital onboarding programs so all vendor personnel are receiving the same information from day one. This information can also be verified and confirmed before the contractors arrive at your job site.


 

Increased standardization in onboarding and identification helps you create greater vendor security in rails, utilities, and venue management. If you have any questions about contractor and subcontractor screening, training or badging, do not hesitate to reach out to our team by clicking here. We look forward to answering your questions!

 

 

 

**This article is for informational purposes only. It is not intended to constitute legal advice.

5 Subcontractor Tracking Trends of the Future for Rails and Utilities

For operations managers, even the thought of managing their vast vendor workforce in the rails and utility industries can inspire a headache. The sheer scale of the number of contractors & subcontractors involved, as well as the unsecurable nature of the land they work on, can be daunting. Keeping safety and security up to par is just the beginning, how do you prove ROI when the executive team wants to see the latest KPIs? Luckily the future has some great solutions in store for contractor and subcontractor tracking, both in terms of general workforce trends but also specific to these spaces.

Contractor and Subcontractor Tracking Trends

Contractor and subcontractor tracking best practices are always top of mind for anyone who needs to manage these massive, ever-changing workforces. We put together a list of the trends of the future to help operations managers in utilities or rails know where the industries are going in terms of their respective vendor workforces. Take a look:

#1 Mobile App-Driven Digital Identification and Employee Badges

With smartphone adoption surpassing 80% in 2016 and the decrease in cost for exponentially more capable devices, no one can deny that the future is mobile-driven (or at least heavily facilitated). Vendor and subcontractor identification and access will be heavily affected in the near future. As the cost decreases, the overwhelming benefit of mobile identification and badges will change the space by streamlining and also increasing real-time control. Some of the major benefits include:

  • Real-time access-control with a centralized manager dashboard
    • This will eventually include workflow-driven access and notification
      • IE If the contractor has not completed training –> do not allow access
  • Hardware technologies like NFC and Bluetooth Low Energy in smartphones will replace key-fobs and will allow access to be granted without having to hand off a physical item more than once
    • Integrations with finance platforms and GPS tracking will allow for easier verification of work billed
  • Real-time access problems can be mitigated with a phone call and an update to the user’s profile for authorized access to a specific location
  • For high risk/sensitivity areas, double or multi-factor authentication can be used to increase security

#2 Online Training, Certification, and Onboarding

Along the same lines as using mobile apps for identification, we will also see much more adoption of digitally driven onboarding, training, and certification. In the rails and utility industries specifically, the deeper adoption of web-based training and certification for contractors/subcontractors will empower operations managers. Real-time tracking of training completion can dictate access of the (sub)contractor in combination with a mobile ID badge or a centralized access system.  Huge gains in efficiency will be seen as in-person training becomes less prevalent.

A bit further out, leveraging the mobile app for ID as well as a training platform will see some interesting value-adds. Mobile-driven training adoption is already on the rise. This will allow the latest training verification to be administered in the field before the person is allowed to enter. No more wasted days of in-person training or excuses when it comes to contractors or subcontractors not being up to speed.

#3 Location & Time Tracking Facilitated by GPS and/or Internet of Things (IoT)

GPS and IoT driven geofencing is a hot topic for both business and personal security/tracking. In the personal world, imagine if you could set a radius of 500 feet from your house for your child or pet. The child or pet has a smart device of some kind which is communicating with either GPS or an IoT beacon. When they pass the 500 ft radius you are alerted in a method you have defined, could be a phone call, a text, email, etc. This is geofencing in a nutshell. If you think we are being too Orwellian, well take a look at some of these child tracking and pet tracking technologies already on the market today.

The inverse situation becomes way more interesting for contractor and subcontractor tracking. Imagine when you can set a geofence to know when the individual entered and exited a geofence (think billing/invoicing) or entered but did not leave a geofence (think emergency safety protocols). The possibilities beyond these two use cases are endless. More readily available WiFi and cellular networks in remote service areas will be the limiting factor on these technologies, but there are big companies working on that.

#4 Wearables Coming Into Play for Communication, Tracking, and Safety

Smart watches, wearable body cameras, and Bluetooth headsets will be the big wearables in the vendor workforce space; Gartner shows just how rapid the adoption is. These devices will help monitor safety, location, and even potentially serve as an in-ear expert to walk individuals through tricky situations. As the cost of these technologies decreases, it will make post-incident reporting to OSHA, other regulating bodies, or contracting companies like Union Pacific a far less painful and costly process.

#5 Real Time Incident Reporting

This trend is really the culmination of all the previous trends. A core value of every one of the previously mentioned technology-driven advances is moving closer towards real-time incident awareness for operations managers and stakeholders. The real magic will happen as the system integrations become more seamless and cellular/wifi reach close to 95% coverage. At this point, predictive or even AI driven managerial notifications will change the face of field productivity.

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We are here to be a resource for anyone working in the rails, utilities, or even venue management industries. If you have any questions about contractor and subcontractor tracking or screening, do not hesitate to reach out to here our team by clicking here. Thank you for reading!

 

 

 

**This article is for informational purposes only. It is not intended to constitute legal advice.