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By Kelli Simpson   |  
April 7th, 2017

Use Audit Data To Save Contractor Relationships: A 3 Step Guide

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Positive relationships with third party firms or subcontractors make up the labor landscape today. Whether you’re working with food vendors in the hospitality industry or subcontractors in construction and manufacturing, these are the relationships you rely on for day-to-day dealings. Auditors have access to more data than ever before. People on both sides of the relationship, companies and contractors, are asking for the auditing data. How do companies ensure they’re ahead of the analytics game? How can you as the health and safety manager ensure site managers and contractors alike can track the right metrics?

Note: Not sure which auditing metrics you should be tracking? Check out the 6 questions you should be asking of auditing data.

Decide which auditing metrics to track and stick to them

With all the data noise from various services, we can be easily distracted by vanity metrics or metrics that don’t contribute to overall company goals. Before you even establish a relationship with your contractor, make sure they know which metrics you’re tracking and what goals contribute to your bottom line. They’ll know exactly where to focus when you give them data-backed expectations. Even better, if you have photographic evidence to support your goals, this will make sure there is no room for miscommunication. Coles for example, the Australian supermarket giant, uses photographs in audits to display expected produce quality. This lays out expectations with vendors immediately. If contractors don’t meet standards, photos also provide the evidence you need to have a productive conversation with vendors/contractors.

audit analytics

Another essential conversation with your contractor should revolve around how auditing analytics are pulled. Ensure that each location, team and contractor has standardized audits. This will allow you to compare apples to apples and maintain standardized auditing. To simplify this, pull all your auditing data into one tool to centralize documentation. Through a digital auditing platform, you can also update auditing templates automatically so you don’t have to worry about outdated paper templates.

 Communicate benchmarks clearly and frequently

Along with keeping auditing data in a centralized location, make sure it’s accessible. Ensuring it’s updated and accessible cuts down on emailed auditing reports with various attachments that could have outdated information. Ideally the auditing metrics will not just be contained to the office headquarters, but communicated to managers on site as well. With that enhanced visibility they can work directly with the involved contractors to make sure the organization’s safety and quality standards are front of mind.

By ensuring that everyone has access to dashboards that contain key insights, you leverage the knowledge and experience of everyone on your team. One site manager may have a piece of the puzzle that not everyone else has. They may also have suggestions for how to improve contractor relations or point out process flaws.

Use the data insights to make organizational improvements

Now we’ve ensured that site managers and contractors are very familiar with organizational standards. Next, tap into all the data generated from your various locations and look for process improvements. This is the step most frequently overlooked because we can sometimes see auditing as a necessary evil rather than a way to generate a huge amount of valuable insights about our organization. With a centralized auditing software, you can see the areas where vendors are falling short with something similar to Failed Items:

audit data

Then, involve your site managers. If you see a common theme, get feedback on what processes could be contributing to that. The idea of having clear auditing analytics is not at all to catch vendors in wrongdoing. It’s more about identifying areas for improvement. Perhaps the organization needs to provide more support in one area. The auditing analytics will point to the problem, but not to the “why” behind it. That’s where you lean on the relationship you’ve established with your vendor. Look at it as a partnership and pick their brains for ideas.

Relying on auditing data as the backbone for conversations with contractors allows companies to set clear intentions from the beginning. It also keeps everyone, from site managers to the contractors themselves, focused on the same metrics the company values.

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