Team Buying Club – Amanda Morley
You have completed the procurement process, awarded the contract to the successful supplier and, if applicable, finalised the TUPE process. What’s next? Ongoing contract management. Why? To make sure that throughout the lifecycle of the contract it remains fit for purpose, you obtain additional value and that your suppliers are meeting all the deliverables.
Here are our top tips for a successful contract management process:
Tip 1: Set your standards high
The key to any successful procurement is a strong specification and the key to a successful service is a strong contract. Within your contract you should define exactly what you need from the service – how, what and when. The only way you can hold your providers to account is if
a) your expectations are recorded and b) you know exactly what is in the contract. The clearer you and your suppliers are on the expectations and obligations, the more likely you are to not only achieve your desired outcomes but receive best value and quality on them.
Tip 2: Measure what is important
To keep your contract on track you need to set achievable and realistic Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) and Service Level Agreements (SLAs); these are your objectives and targets to manage the supplier’s performance against. Keep track of these measures, otherwise you might find the service standard slips; this will keep your supplier accountable for their deliverables.
Click here to read Contract Management: Setting your KPIs and SLAs The Article is HERE
Tip 3: Communication, communication, communication
How do you ensure your contract’s ongoing success? Communication! At the start of the contract, schedule regular meetings with the supplier to discuss the performance against the KPIs and SLAs to confirm that the agreements and expectations have been met, or to raise any concerns. Don’t be afraid to be flexible with these meetings, at the start of the contract you might wish to schedule them monthly and once your relationship with the supplier strengthens change it to quarterly. Alternatively, if your supplier is not performing against the contract, schedule more frequent meetings. It is vital that you keep an open dialogue with the supplier to ensure you receive the best possible outcomes.
Communication also means remaining transparent; take minutes at all meetings and circulate them with the supplier to make sure that they are agreed on and then actioned. Keep a record of any complaints and successes so the supplier can resolve them. (This will also come in handy when your contract is due for renewal and you review the specification).
Tip 4: Ask for feedback
Remember there are two parties in the contract – you and the supplier – and it is important to ask them for feedback. This can range from how you are managing the service reviews, advice on how to receive extra value from the service or adjusting SLAs so they are more achievable. For your relationship, and therefore your service, to be as successful and beneficial as possible both parties need to be heard.
The more you put into your contract management process the greater the rewards. The process ensures the best service delivery and reduces the chances of any risks, all whilst assuring compliance.