Today we welcome Heather Bienefelt, Principal of Integrated Consulting Solutions, with a follow-up to her previous post on contractor prequalification. In this post she presents a Q&A about the PICS supply chain management system.
Contractor prequalification is becoming a more normal process for government agencies (local, state and federal) wanting to streamline their procurement practices. To take advantage of this, businesses must be aware of the contractor prequalification schemes used by the organisations they do business with.
This blog provides an overview of the requirements for PICS, which is used, for example, by Metro Rail. But I encourage you to speak to your target clients, local councils and agencies such as VicTrack and VicRoads, to understand whether you need to become prequalified under a certain scheme to do business with them.
And now over to Heather…
In my previous post, I discussed contractor prequalification. One of the problems identified was the struggle for buyers to monitor and manage their supply chains and take care of the contractor screening process. This has led to the emergence of contractor management systems, which help companies monitor and manage their supply chains.
One of the biggest contractor management systems is PICS, a global business which now has a presence in Australia. In a recent interview with PICS representative Jeffrey Muto, we got answers to the following questions:
Why should our clients know about PICS Global Supply Chain Management System?
PICS is the fastest-growing contractor management firm in the world and the company is now operating here in Australia. PICS simplifies the prequalification process by helping organisations to create a safe and sustainable prequalification program for their contractors, vendors and suppliers using a simple, online system.
The main intention behind PICS is to assist contractors to find and earn more business by helping them gain and show evidence of the correct qualifications for the jobs.
PICS can service the needs of their clients with what is essentially a supply chain risk management solution, while also providing for the needs of the supply side – the suppliers and contractor – through a platform by which they grow and market their business.
What are the main reasons Australian organisations are purchasing PICS services?
New PICS clients are interested in accessing a supply platform where they can very quickly source from tens of thousands of contractors/suppliers on the PICS database. Clients can find the types of organisations they’re looking for; organisations that are available to conduct work in the location where they require them. PICS enables organisations to save time and find contractors who are ready to go.
PICS provides their clients and hiring organisations with the confidence to make sound partnering decisions, while providing the supply side of the equation with unfettered access to an abundance of business opportunities.
The globalisation of organisations has meant that the need for risk management within the supply chains has grown, but so have the dynamics of the risks. Modern business needs to consider corporate social responsibility, such as sustainable procurement, human rights, working conditions, health and safety, and more.
Yet, for logistical reasons, global enterprises need to outsource much of this risk management, which means they have almost no control over the organisations operating on their behalf. PICS services enable organisations to engage with their network partners directly, review their operational processes and have an effect on the outcomes.
Also, during times of expansion, organisations are looking to evaluate their current supply chain, and optimise their footprint. They require fast assistance to rationalise and optimise their exiting supply chain, rather than have the added expense of searching for new contractors along with assessing their capabilities.
Organisations try to manage the entire process themselves; however, most end up spending an inordinate amount of time and money in the process. Many organisations do not have sufficient technology to accomplish the task, and it can also be a distraction from other competing priorities.
In terms of ROI, large industrial organisations can earn somewhere between two and five million dollars per annum. PICS handles the entire process for the organisation.
What are the priorities for PICS in Australia?
- Health and safety is always a driver.
- Insurance, just from a general risk management perspective.
- Environmental practices are becoming more and more important.
- Organisations are looking for a balanced scorecard.
In an ideal world, organisations can evaluate their potential and current partners on a whole host of qualifications. Then, once they have a pool of talent, they can determine the ideal pool, based on whatever’s important at this point in time. They can then assess the gaps and determine whom to engage and not to engage.
Which industries does PICS represent?
Any industry that engages contactors/suppliers including:
- Oil & Gas
- Pulp & Paper
- Property/Facility Management
- And many more
PICS is a solution that is truly universal in its applicability. It’s suitable for any organisation that has a contractor/supply chain network they want to have better visibility into. PICS has grown out of the industrial space, and the reason for that is it’s high-risk work.
What is the smallest size of organisation that would be suitable for the PICS solution?
PICS does not have a minimum or maximum size requirement. Any organisation that engages contractors/suppliers will find PICS very useful. For an organisation engaging 300-400 contractors, constant monitoring and assessment is a real operational challenge. Many organisations find that it costs them a LOT of time and money, because they don’t have sufficient technology for the job.
The PICS operational benefit on the client side is immeasurable, with $2-5M as a common return.
Why do organisations currently choose PICS?
PICS is a web-based solution anywhere in the world, and has 24 by 7 in-language support. So, independent of what time zone, in what region, or what language, organisations are able to seek support from a dedicated customer care representative team member.
For organisations the relationship doesn’t end once they’ve found their preferred contactor. It continues through education and on-boarding of suppliers and supporting them through qualification process.
Is it difficult for an organisation to move to the PICS solution?
As many organisations already own the contractor/supplier prequalification data, it’s a simple process to access and move it into the PICS system. For contractors, PICS will capture the data and move them across, making transition simple. Even better, contractors often find they are already part of the PICS system simply because they contract to organisations that have are registered with PICS. For those contractors there is no transition to worry about.
Is prequalification really worth it?
What’s really unique is it’s actually not a generic qualification. PICS clients have the ability to pre-flag or pre-qualify based on whatever level of data those contractors and suppliers have provided. And so, for example, if a client does not require an insurance certificate or an audit of a contractor’s safety program, as a contractor, you will not have to provide that information.
However, if another client wants to search on PICS for your organisation, and they do have an insurance requirement, and they do have a health and safety program audit requirement, they can in essence pre-flag you based on the data you have and the PICS system will project whether or not you’re likely to qualify for those attributes where you’ve given the opportunity to provide the data.
How does PICS add value to contractors and client organisations?
PICS invests very heavily in not just new technology from an innovation and diversity perspective, but also in new services to assist those contractors and suppliers to enable them to better promote themselves and gain greater access to business opportunities.
More often than not contractors do not meet the prequalification requirements of clients. They might be missing health and safety programs. They might not be carrying requisite insurance certificates. The list goes on and on. PICS provides assistance to these contractors and suppliers, at no incremental costs, or guide contractors on where to find the right training.
What makes the PICS service different in your opinion?
One of the big differentiators in the PICS model is that every supplier that comes into the PICS system, brought in by clients or through opt-ins, gets a dedicated customer service representative who understands their organisation and who works with them directly. There’s a single point of contact that allows both parties to understand the needs of the other.
PICS has successfully built a critical mass on the buyer’s side now, and that increases daily at a faster pace than any other contractor/supplier prequalification system globally in this space. The next challenge is to market directly to contractors/suppliers so they discover the opportunities that are awaiting them.
How ICS works with PICS to benefit you.
Integrated Consulting Solutions specialises in helping organisations become successfully prequalified with all the major players including PICS auditing. For a no-obligation chat about PICS, prequalification or any other compliance matter, please give ICS a call on 1300 132 745.
About Heather Bienefelt
Heather Bienefelt, the Principal of Integrated Consulting Solutions, has been training, consulting and auditing for over 15 years in sectors as diverse as education, food manufacture, printing and packaging, automotive parts, healthcare and a wide range of other manufacturing, distribution and service industries.
As a Lead Quality and Food Safety Auditor, she specialises in the development, implementation, maintenance and auditing of ISO 9000 quality management systems and food safety management systems from inception to certification and beyond, including: development and management of audit schedules, development of documentation, internal auditing and reporting and preparation for external audit.
As a qualified Certificate IV trainer and workplace assessor, Heather has extensive experience in the design and delivery of training programs and workshops as well as the training and mentoring of internal audit teams.
This post first appeared on the ICS blog.