As Director of BCP’s Technical Services Division, I have had many opportunities to interface with potential clients that were not familiar with using contractors to satisfy peak work load demands. As first time users, they simply didn’t realize the full benefit of using contractor services. After explaining the following features, they were able to choose a course of action best suited to their particular needs.
Contractor services typically are provided in the following formats:
Staff Augmentation: The client hires a contractor/consultant on a “time and materials” basis to perform under day-to-day direction of a client supervisor, as would a company employee. This scenario is widely used in industry to supplement permanent staff in periods of peak loading requiring additional manpower.
Managed Tasks: The client applies contractor staff to a defined activity or set of activities such as backlog reduction, program or procedure updates, database validation, etc. This support is typically negotiated with the service provider on a “not to exceed” cost basis with obligations on both sides to assure successful task completion. The service provider and the client both share the risk.
Firm Fixed Price: The service provider submits a bid for a clear scope of responsibility with well defined deliverables, quality standards, and schedule requirements. The service provider/contractor assumes a financial risk for performing to the contract requirements.
Effective use of contractor services provides for the following benefits:
- A means of comparison of best available relative value. Example: Staff Augmentation – review resume and analyze relevant experience, use personal interview, reference checks and compare with other candidates. Candidates that most directly match job requirements and possessing the professional drive to accomplish difficult tasks will bring the most value.
- An element of competition to bring forth the best resource to accomplish a task.
- Contractor/Supplier typically maintains industry awareness that the client manager is often unable to attain due to time commitment and expense incurred for involvement in activities outside normal responsibilities.
What Service provider / Contractor needs from clients:
- A clear definition of need with scope clearly defined or a job description and performance profile.
- Good communication is essential throughout the process. Provide the supplier feedback throughout the proposal evaluation, negotiation and work phases of the contract.
- Expedite the purchasing process. This will prevent loss of available talent to accomplish the task.
- Mutual respect and trust will go a long way toward achieving goals. Develop and maintain a “win – win” attitude. The client has a right to expect top performance and value; the supplier has the right to a fair return on the services provided.
At BCP, we believe the client has a right to expect premium performance. We strive to provide the best possible response to meeting the clients’ needs. Sometimes that means admitting the inability to meet that need where suitable contract staff is not available.
We stay engaged with the client throughout the business relationship to assure expectations are met and constantly strive for improvement in our processes and resources available to our clients. BCP will accept responsibility should expectations fall short and will take immediate action to correct shortfalls.
To get the best out of your contractor services, please remember to communicate promptly and openly. Using contractor services can be positive experience if you work closely and timely with your service provider.