Who Are You?
Do you really trust the copier machine repair people that you let run around your office?
My guess is that you regularly issue contracts (and I also mean purchase orders) that authorize seller employees to have access to your facilities. In addition to workers, you might also have delivery persons in the office or personnel checking stock in the tool crib. Whatever the reason, when we reach an agreement with a seller that includes access to Buyer facilities, proprietary data, valuable property and personnel, we expect the seller to send only bona-fide employees. We presume sellers have verified their employeesí identities, confirmed they are legally employable, confirmed they are not abusing illegal substances, have no violent criminal record, will not sexually harass our personnel and are CPSMs [o.k. maybe thatís a little extreme]. But you get my point.
Our tacit assumption that seller's personnel are legitimate and donít pose a risk to our company raises serious questions:
It seems like legitimate businesses would go a long way towards making sure they only employ personnel who will properly represent their business. With 10% unemployment, itís hard to imagine otherwise. In fact, the U.S. Immigration and Reform Act of 1986 (ICRA) Ė over 20 years ago Ė requires as a minimum that employers verify the eligibility of applicants for employment. Among other things, the ICRA requires employers verify applicant data using an I-9 form. http://www.uscis.gov/i-9
Surprisingly, a recent Department of Energy Inspector General report found that some subcontractors working at the DOE Savannah River site, were not in compliance with the ICRA. Based on this report, Iíd guess non-compliance with ICRA is widespread. Itís worrisome because ICRA compliance is only a small part of employee verification. It doesnít cover additional employment concerns such as criminal background, substance abuse, adequate training, safe work history, authentic credentials, etc.
Read the IG report: http://www.ig.energy.gov/documents/INS-O-10-01.pdf
Over the last year, Federal agencies and contractors have also started using an automated system to verify candidateís eligibility for employment. The E-Verify system is now becoming mandatory for government contractors and also their lower-tier contractors. Even though the E-Verify system does not address many of our concerns about seller's personnel, it is a start. Using the E-Verify system is free, relatively easy and makes good sense for all companies. After all, compliance with ICRA is already Federal Law, so why not go to the next step and use an automated tool to help ensure compliance. www.uscis.gov/
Even if you donít require the use of E-Verify, at the very least I suggest you review language in your standard contract terms to make sure they require adequate assurance about sellerís personnel. I also highly recommend you discuss the subject with sellers who are providing personnel that might be considered high risk (performing hazardous work, have unescorted access to all buyer facilities, could adversely affect safety, etc.).
While we donít want to get in the middle of an employer/employee relationship, but it is our obligation to protect our company and ask a few questions of our sellers. If you donít like the answer, or sellers canít convince you they have a good employee validation process, then maybe itís time to look for another seller. Try these discussion questions:
Even if it doesnít change much Ė the simple act of asking questions will raise awareness of the seller [and your staff] about the potential issues. In this case, anything that initiates detailed discussions about contract requirements (explicit or implied) before there is a problem, is a good thing.
Plug and Play Negotiating
Sorry, negotiation can't be automatic. However, with a few tips and some preparation - you can get a head start and greatly improve your chances for creating good agreements. How? Take a look at a recent presentation I made on this subject then read more here.
Three critical aspect of your Professional ImageÖ.
From an article by the same name in eSide Supply Management is
Nobody hates a good listener! As an old proverb says, you have two ears and one mouth, so you should use them in the same proportion. When someone is talking, are you really listening? Active listening is a skill which, once learned and practiced, gives you extreme focus and clarity when communicating with others. Its return on investment has enormous benefit for your professional image.
Good, effective writing is generally only appreciated in its absence. People can only interpret what you're trying to communicate by reading your words. Your writing stands alone ó sometimes forever.
Here are some newsletter articles of mine along the same lines:
A lot of useless items end up at your desk. This isn't one of them.
Career advice. Research results. International business tips for when you travel. Social responsibility case studies. Negotiating strategies. eSide offers all this information ó and more ó exclusively to ISM members.
Here is an excerpt form the November/December 2009 Issue
Top 5 Negotiated Terms of a contract
ÖÖÖ For example, confidentiality/nondisclosure moved farthest up the ranking of terms, occupying the No. 5 spot in 2008 versus a No. 10 ranking in 2007. "If anything, the focus has become more protective and risk-averse," the researchers explain in their report, The Top Negotiated Terms: Negotiators Admit They Are on the Wrong Agenda. "[This is] oddly symbolic in an era when public pressure is for increased openness and transparency."
Confidentiality's leap up the list speaks to the most startling finding of
the 2008 results, they say: The terms that negotiators most laboriously
deliberate are out of step with the current business need to create a framework
for successful business outcomes ó to drive transactions that deliver economic
value. In contrast, they add, the top negotiated terms of 2008 focus on
Leadership Workshop 2010
The 2010 Affiliate leadership workshop will be held in conjunction with the ISM International Conference in San Diego. Starting at about noon on Friday April 23 and ending at about 5 on Saturday April 24. Leadership workshop participation is free and will be handled about the same way as last year.
The leadership Workshop Planning Committee will be considering program ideas for the 2010 affiliate Leadership workshop.
Please send me your Leadership Workshop program suggestions before August 25 and Iíll pass them along to the committee.
Last yearís program topics in Charlotte were well received. You can find copies of the presentations in the ISM members only pages of the ISM web site at www.ism.ws/ . The programs were good and we had some useful discussions.
Leadership workshops are a great place to train, encourage and energize key members of your affiliate. Officers, Committee Chairs, Board members, and other active volunteers all benefit from the information about ISM and networking with other affiliate members. Encourage affiliate members to plan on participating.
I highly recommend new officers and active members of the affiliate attend the leadership workshop. Given the location, I expect it to be a well-attended and fun event. Even if you donít yet know who a new officer will be, budget the cost to attend, make a TBD reservation and initiate travel plans
Contemporary Issues in Subcontracting
The ISM Federal Acquisition and Subcontract Management Group (ISM FASMG) is proud to present a Web seminar.
This event will take place on Friday, February 19, 2010 at 1:00 PM, Eastern Standard Time (12:00 Noon, Central Standard Time; 11:00 AM, Mountain Standard Time; 10:00 AM, Pacific Standard Time).
Among the topics covered will be:
Your presenter will be Ernest G. Gabbard, JD, CPSM, C.P.M., CPCM. Mr. Gabbard currently directs all strategic sourcing for Allegheny Technologies, Inc., with a $4 billion spend. His previous experience includes positions with Hughes Aircraft and Litton Industries; he also has served as a Contracting Officer within the US government. Mr. Gabbard has given presentations on Federal subcontracting issues for both ISM and the National Contract Management Association (NCMA). He is currently on the Board of Advisors for the Supply Chain Management Program at Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and on the Board of the ISM FASMG.
You may register now for this event by using this link. Information about accessing the Webinar will be sent to you early in the week of February 14th.
I've received several common software questions lately. Here is my response. Take this advice with a grain of salt - I'm not a techie - just an interested user
Looking for Something?
Are you trying to find an article or program on a particular subject? You
can search all of the items on my web site using Google with this link:
Glossary of Insurance Terms
Even if you are not facing an audit, knowing how contractor costs are prepared and audited, is a powerful tool when you are negotiating.
Provide Feedback and suggestions for future newsletters at any time. I'll try and use what I can.
I really do appreciate those of you who take the time to write and comment on this newsletter! As always, you are welcome to use my articles or presentations for educational purposes. Just as long as you are not charging for the materials and credit the source.
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