updated - September 20, 2021 Monday EDT
Just because your business started as a one-man operation in your basement doesn't mean you'll rely on yourself and only yourself as the years go by. As you become more successful, you'll have to hire others to help.
That's a good thing, but it does come with some liabilities. That's especially the case if you're working with third party suppliers or vendors.
Whether it's a contractor, soft drink suppliers, or manufacturing partners, if you're working with other companies, it's important to know how to work with them safely to protect yourself, your employees, and your business.
Think it would be so much easier to provide your suppliers with access to your systems so they can just enter what they have done themselves? Although it may be more convenient in the short-run, it can be catastrophic in the long-term.
One of the quickest and easiest ways for others to get access to your system is through a third party. There are many supply chain attack prevention tips, but one of the best is not to give them access in the first place. Have your suppliers and vendors report to you or one of your employees. Then, you can enter the information in the system yourself.
The Experience Modification Rating (EMR) is a rating that is assigned by insurance companies that uses the company's history of injuries to predict their future risk. All companies are required by law to report accidents to the state, which informs this score. The lower the score, the less likely that company is expected to experience some type of accident.
When looking for new vendors to work with, look for this score. A score of one is ideal, but it's also a good idea to look at the company's score over time. This tells you if they have been taking safety more or less seriously over the years.
Don't be afraid to outright ask for this rating when considering suppliers and vendors. Those with a low score will be happy to tell you, while those with a higher score may not. That just means you should move on to the next candidate.
Training and development is important in every workplace. It can make employees much better at their jobs, but when it comes to suppliers and vendors, it also makes employees safer.
When interviewing a supplier or vendor, ask them about their training procedures. What kind of training do employees have to have when they are first hired? How often do refresher training courses take place? Not only does a strong training program keep their and your employees safe, it also demonstrates their seriousness in providing the best service possible.
In addition to asking about training procedures, you should also ask about any emergency plans they have in place. General business preparedness recommendations by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) for general, construction, and maritime industries include:
Fire prevent plans
Means of egress
Wearing appropriate protection, including foot protection
Hazardous supply communications
Focus on what emergency plans they have in place when their employees are working with clients, and who is responsible for what. For example, all of their employees may be required to wear appropriate protection during the delivery of sensitive items, but it's up to you to provide fire protection in your building when they arrive. Companies that take your emergency plans just as seriously as their own are good to have on your team.
Even if you do your due diligence and hire who you think will be the right vendor, you may decide they aren't right for you after all. It might not be so dramatic. In some cases, you may realize you no longer require certain services from a vendor.
No matter what the reason, it's good to know how to get out of a professional relationship without burning any bridges. Although there are many tips, the best is to keep things professional. Avoid making things personal and make it all about business instead. You're more likely to receive a positive response and a high quality of service until your contract ends.
Vendors and suppliers can make your job a lot easier, but only if you hire the right company for the job! Follow these tips and you can keep you, your employees, and your business safe when it's time to hire a new vendor or supplier.
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