A community of any size will employ services from general maintenance contractors to the undertaking of larger capital projects. So how does a corporation go about best managing their resources and service providers for optimal value?
With vendor management, a standalone art on its own with vast reading material available online or in classrooms with crossover teachings into areas such as project management, supply chain, quality control or many others, a successful resource manager will be able to guide you to the creation and development of a system that best serves your corporation.
It is most effective to first establish and encapsulate the “why” value for the corporation. Generally this is a crucial first meeting exercise with new Board of Directors. This is to establish agreed upon values and using it to set expectations, create systems and managing projects of any size.
In this article we provide important tips for the creation an objective vendor management system that is generic to both approaches.
Keeping this specific to managing outsourced resources, we recommend considering the following approaches for varied project sizes specifically:
- Current state – What is working? What is not? List them next to one another and obtain feedback from all members.
- Ideal state – Explore the limitless possibilities in correcting the issue. This is to draw out common values/issues, technological advances and to simply get you thinking “outside the box”. This can be an interesting exercise even if you are only looking to do an upcoming landscaping program versus replacing the building envelope.
- Future state – Identify what can be addressed and achieved today within the budget you have and this is where you will aim to be at.
- Engage stakeholders – Send surveys, notices and absolutely consider holding information sessions – a must for larger capital projects. Forming committees depending on the circumstance can add tremendous value. Perform physical walkthroughs of the areas of concern both with and without your stakeholders. Obtain expert advice from your snow removal contractors to building science engineering firms as applicable. Your experts will have working relationships with proven contractors; get their input. These processes will further enhance your understanding of the future and ideal state; tweak accordingly.
- Create the plan – Create a scope of work, assign resources and obtain a schedule and contract. Obtain multiple quotes, references and corporate resumes as required and compare the bids to their respective deliverables.
- Execute the plan – Advise your community and include your resource experts as required. Ensure you have a proper binding contract, WCB and insurance with negotiated payment terms – consider phased approaches for larger projects. Use your communication tools to deploy status updates. Monitor and control the schedule and plan for contingencies for unplanned or unforeseen issues. Keep track of issues and put them into a format that allows for measuring performance metrics or standards expected. Provide regular feedback to parties involved to promote commitment and engagement.
- Lessons learned – Upon conclusion, identifying what worked and what didn’t and share these learnings where appropriate (eg. Contractor, board, ownership, etc). This feedback offers insightful growth and development opportunity for those involved. For larger projects, celebrate or acknowledge the successes with the owners and residents.
Although the above may appear to be too much for smaller type projects, the steps still exist but simply in smaller and quicker successions. It is important to be familiar and comfortable with these steps as it simplifies and flows to capture the important takeaways for any scale.
Having board or committee members familiar with the project at hand will assist not only in validating requirements and need but also ensuring that the right questions get asked. A great example of this might be a preventative maintenance program for HVAC/plumbing – what’s covered exactly? What can the building manager do to keep costs down? Etc. Once you have a good grasp on what project needs to be undertaken and why, a system to manage expectations allows you to make the right decision for the community.
Understanding that the ultimate purpose of a corporation is to maintain or increase property values, establishing meaningful values will ease the flow of governance from which projects can be managed and systems can be created, such as a vendor management system.
Blueprint Condominium Management Inc.blueprintmanagement.ca