Questions every company should ask to improve safety, and compliance risks, including those related to third-party contractors and vendors.
By Jeff Muto, Chief Marketing and Strategy Officer, Veriforce
As companies adapt to evolving and often complex health and safety measures and regulations to protect their workers, companies, and communities, they must ensure their entire workforce is up to speed. This includes the third-party contractors and vendors they increasingly rely upon. Ensuring their safety readiness and compliance is essential to managing and reducing risks across the supply chain, yet it’s no simple task.
Many organizations struggle with the administrative burden of identifying and managing safety objectives and requirements across projects and geographies, and it’s become exceedingly complicated as supply chains become more globalized and elaborate. In fact, half of organizations surveyed before the pandemic did not have an efficient way to gauge the safety qualifications and compliance of their contractors and sub-contractors (such as a formal vendor safety prequalification program) before hiring. This left them vulnerable to a hotbed of risks that could potentially lead to injuries, disruptions, and damage to work product, reputation, security, and the bottom line. Adding to the complexity of risk management is the often overwhelming work of keeping policies and procedures in sync with evolving regulations, and making sure all workers, across all locations, maintain the required training, insurance, and certifications to safely do their jobs.
Undoubtedly, safety and compliance managers need an efficient, comprehensive approach to supply chain risk mitigation, backed by modern technology and safety expertise. Whether creating an in-house solution or outsourcing one, companies can maximize their effectiveness by first asking themselves three key questions:
- How do we ensure that our operations and supply chain are safe for all workers?
This question has always been a concern for organizations, yet it’s escalated with the globalization and complexity of supply chains and as organizations scurry to address new concerns brought on by COVID-19. Answers vary by industry and organization and may reflect unique circumstances related, for instance, to service lines, physical plants and locations, and complexity of supply chains, yet they have an important commonality at their core— programs must address company, worksite and worker level risks.
As organizations define and update their safety measures, the key for implementation is to consolidate them into a comprehensive risk management program that protects down to the worker level. This gives team members a single resource that can serve as the company’s definitive, go-to guide for every safety issue and requirement, from the technical specs and placement requirements for physical barriers around workstations, to protocols for sanitization and other procedures. Applications are nearly endless, and the right technology can encompass and manage them all.
- How will our program boost overall efficiency and smooth operations?
Lapsed compliance with health and safety rules can result in illness, injury, or death, incur costly fines or court judgements, and also damage a company’s reputation and business relationships. With so much at stake, it makes sense to reduce the opportunity for human error by leveraging technology.
The use of risk management platforms can simplify administrative tasks while giving employees and third parties systematic support for mitigating risks. Features such as vendor prequalification tools can provide the peace of mind a firm under consideration is up-to-date on its insurance and health and safety training. Over time, that same software can capture vendor safety data for analysis and guide organizations to make ongoing improvements to their safety program. Some risk management providers also offer services such as training, expert advice, and analytics to identify safety gaps and help to fill them.
- Does our program cover us as we expand into new geographies and industries?
As supply chains extend around the world and companies expand their operations to retain competitive advantage and to seize new opportunities, their risk management platform needs to keep up. Some management platforms have global networks of organizations and contractors, offering tools and services in multiple languages to manage supply chain risks and to expand operations around the globe. The right risk management platform should be able to evolve and scale for growth, serving as an important partner.
Modernizing Supply Chain Safety and Compliance Management to Manage Risk and Create Safer Workplaces
Time and effort spent creating a holistic approach to supply chain risk management by leveraging a reliable safety and compliance platform for support enables companies to identify, prioritize, manage and mitigate risks, including those related to their third-party contractors, while maintaining their brand and reputation. It’s an investment that pays off in the form of optimal business operations and a safer workplace for everyone.
About the Author
Jeff Muto is the chief marketing and strategy officer for Veriforce, a global supply chain and risk management solution provider.