Period of the Contract
Once the contract mobilisation period has ended and the contract has been implemented, you will move to the normal working period of the contract.
As you would expect, delivering to the Scottish public sector is very much like doing business with the private sector. The basic principles of good business apply:
- Ensure you meet deadlines/timescales;
- Meet with the procurement officer and the users regularly to ensure they are happy with the product delivery and response times;
- Respond quickly to queries or problems;
- Submit invoices on a regular basis, in accordance with the conditions of contract;
- Ensure that you are meeting any Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) agreed with the procurement officer at the outset of the contract and taking any remedial action if any KPIs are not being met;
- Ascertain if the customer is:
- Satisfied with the product or service;
- Satisfied with your overall performance during the contract;
- Don't be afraid to suggest new products/solutions. Innovation is welcomed.
The frequency and method of the meetings/communications e.g. face to face, video conferencing, teleconferencing, by written correspondence, during the life of the contract may change from those held during the mobilisation period, and will vary from contract to contract depending on a number of factors e.g. :
- contract risk;
- contract complexity;
- contract value involved;
- current issues being encountered;
- the stage of the contract e.g. less communications may be required if the contract has been running well for some time;
- geographical location of key representatives.
On-going communication, by whatever method(s), during a contract is key: it will help to improve and sustain the relationship you have with the Procurement Officer .
The management information and reporting/scorecarding schedule agreed at the mobilisation stage should continue throughout the life of the contract. Meetings should have a pre-agreed agenda so that all involved parties are prepared for the meeting and can provide the information required on time.
Problem Solving and Innovation
Throughout the life of the contract, or indeed other contracts that you have been involved in, you may encounter issues that need to be solved and/or have suggestions for ways or changing or improving the way the contract is working e.g. moving from manual invoicing to electronic invoicing.
Such ideas should be encouraged as they may improve contract efficiency. Any new suggestions should be fully discussed and agreed with the Procurement Officer, including any proposed changes to ways of working and the potential costs involved, before any kind of implementation. It may be a good idea to hold a small pilot or trial first before committing to a full implementation.
Some examples of things to consider when working on an existing contract are:
- can the use of tools help e.g. communications or IT systems help?
- can distribution costs be reduced?
- would using subcontractors be beneficial?
- could you work with others e.g. are there any collaboration opportunities?
- what about reverse engineering e.g. can you replace, change, remove components?
- could you replace, change, remove, reuse, sell on or scrap packaging?
- map out your end to end supply chain – what links can be changed? Removed? Improved?
- benchmark other organisations to see what works for them;
- use score-carding to identify areas which need improvement and then promote innovation.