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Category: Uncategorised

Why risk profiling your suppliers is vital (and how you can learn to do it well)

We’ve all got suppliers and contractors that pose a bigger risk to our firm than the rest of our supply chain. Electricians, gas men and contractors working at heights all provide your business with a risk and a potential headache should something go wrong.

While your supply chain compliance procedure should already be able to identify the most capable of new suppliers you employ, it’s important to still risk profile all of your suppliers, new and existing.

Risk profiling

Supplier risk profiling is created by plotting your suppliers on a matrix plotting risk against cost, like the diagram above, and using this to assess your most strategically critical suppliers. From this research, you can plan how to handle suppliers relative to projected risk.

By completing this process, and exposing potential risks with the most critical suppliers, you can then work towards implementing mitigating steps to minimise the cost of non-compliance. Here’s just three ways your supply chain will benefit from doing risk profiling.

Guarantee supplier capability

You should already be auditing your suppliers regularly to not only make sure they are accredited to do the job but also that they are good at what they do too. On top of this standard information, completing a risk profiling may make you think about how rigorously you assess suppliers and how you deploy your valuable resources to best effect.

High-risk suppliers, for example, could cause a revenue risk and collateral damage to both them and your business. To negate issues with employees, products or services they offer, you may think about putting contingency plans into place in the case of an emergency.

Best Practice Guide to Supply Chain Compliance Now Available >

Working with your supplier collaboratively on these contingency plans will hopefully give you a sense of their capability, and prove that if anything did go wrong, your both in a position to react quickly.

The opportunity to lower risk

Once you have carried out risk profiling across your supply chain, you will be able to identify whether or not you need to take more precautions with certain suppliers.

For instance, when carrying out your audits – you need to ask yourself, are there areas where you should be going into more detail, to discover whether both supplier and the clients are achieving the desired outcomes?

The result of your audits will no doubt show areas for improvement – but once you have identified what they are, you’ll be able to put arraqngements in place to mitigate any potential risks.  Any opportunity to lower risk within your supply chain shouldn’t be ignored, which is why risk profiling all of your suppliers is integral to your business.

Stay in control of your supply chain

Staying on top of your suppliers and their risks is one of the key aspects of managing a successful supply chain. Following your risk profile, you will know which supplier or suppliers bring the highest risk to your business, and are of the highest cost.

Once you have determined who these are, you will know how much time, you, or your team will need to dedicate to monitoring that supplier and their outputs. This supplier should be at the top of your priority list whenever you carry out audits to ensure that they’re on track. And whenever you’re updating any supplier information – they should be first on your list, so that all insurance or required certifications for the supplier to carry out work are up to date.

Following these points ensures that you’re always keeping on top of your business and your supply chain, enhancing its performance.

Discover the best practice of supply chain compliance…

Risk profiling your suppliers isn’t enough on its own to ensure that the management of your supply chain is efficient and effective – to do that, you need to combine risk profiling and compliance. Maintaining, or even achieving supply chain compliance can be difficult, especially if you’re unsure of the best practices that will help you to reach this point.

If this sounds like a position that you’re in, take a look at the latest and free Altius eBook, An Introduction to Supply Chain Compliance Best Practice.

After reading, you will have an understanding of how to assess the capability of a potential supplier at the start of the process, and explains how to manage and monitor them when they’re on your approved list – get your copy today.

Best practice guide to supply chain compliance

Free guide shows how to implement supply chain best practices

Supplier assessment and assurance specialist Altius has published a free guide to supply chain compliance to help organisations of all sizes focus on performance rather than problems when managing suppliers.

The guide covers strategies to address common problems, such as difficulties in sourcing good quality contractors and  managing supplier lists and supplier information; dealing with poor or variable performance or incidents on site; recognising and classifying levels of risk, and ensuring the right suppliers are used for the right contracts.

A three-step compliance process of: capability assessment, management and monitoring is explained.  This begins with gathering, verifying and authorising relevant supplier information and integrating it into procurement and ordering systems for full visibility.

The next step of ‘management’ is to set clear policies and rules, formalise contracts and specifications and set controls and restrains – so that suppliers are clear of what is expected and nothing is left to chance.

The final ‘monitoring’ stage involves measuring performance against key performance indicators, spot checks on behaviour, and  targeted auditing of areas that need improvement or carry risk – to assess that everything is working

Gary Plant, Managing Director of Altius, said: ” Effective supply chains offer rich rewards of lower costs, greater efficiency, innovation and improved quality, but they can also bring liability in the form of delays, problems, waste, cost and reputational damage.”

“By following the three core principles detailed in our guide and using smart technology and processes, organisations can minimise risk and gain better visibility of their  suppliers. This means they can then focus on developing, rather than defending their supply chain.”

Download the ‘Introduction to supply Chain Compliance Best Practice’ here

Best practice guide to supply chain compliance

A year in the life of an approved supplier

Sometimes, seeing the work that you do from a different perspective sheds light on what you can do better, or what you can change to develop a better working relationship with stakeholders. For anyone that works as a supply chain manager or a position to that equivalent, understanding what your contractors and suppliers go through can bring about similar thoughts and feelings.

Here at Altius, we help our clients to understand better and manage their supply chain by assessing, profiling, auditing and monitoring their current processes together. Using the Altius supply chain compliance framework, client suppliers go through a three-step journey that approves, manages and monitors their performance throughout a year.

Here’s a breakdown of this best practice approach over a 12 month period:

Request for information

For new suppliers, in particular, they should receive communication from yourself to request their vital information. A questionnaire outlining basic information such as their address and financial contact should be completed alongside specialist information, such as physical evidence of certifications for working at heights.

Insurance documents to carry out the work they said they can do, should be copied and sent across to your business in order for you to carry out the necessary checks. If you require references, suppliers should provide you with contact details to support their actions.

Self-Assess Your Supply Chain Performance Today. Find Out How >

After checking through all documentation and evidence that the supplier can complete the jobs you require, it is now up to you to authorise the company and let them know that this is the case.

Understand and complete the job

Following authorisation, the supplier should receive contact on the work you wish to be carried out – whether this is a one-off project or ongoing service. Suppliers should get a copy of the policies and rules that they have to abide by while completing their service, before signing and sending them back to accept that they understand what is being asked of them.

This is also the case for the contract associated with the output of their service. The contract should list all actions the supplier is to undertake, and this should be clearly set out, understood and signed by both parties. Additional services should be recorded on a separate contract.

Finally, before proceeding with the work, suppliers should also understand the controls and restraints they are under, especially if they’re working on your site. Suppliers should pass on this information to their operational team to ensure output and restraints are followed to the letter.

Together with the supplier, you should assess what requirements they will need to undertake the work. If this requires electronic passes, cordoned off areas, or the electricity supply to be cut for 60 minutes, this should be agreed by both parties. Work can then commence.

Ready to be assessed and improve

Depending on the amount of work the supplier is doing, depends on how often you assess their work. Suppliers should be open and work with you to assess their behaviour and audit them efficiently.

Together with the operational team and the key contact at the supplier, you should ensure that all policies, rules, contracts and restraints are being met – while keeping a high standard of quality at the same time. Following this audit, suppliers should be invited to assess their performance against the KPIs set against them – allowing them to see progress and improve on their work already.

Ready for re-assessment

If suppliers haven’t been updating you with information already that may have expired, such as certifications and insurance documents, they should be prepared to hand over this information every 12 months as part of your re-assessment of existing suppliers. Together with the approved supplier, you can work to keep your supply chain more efficient and reduce the risk of poor quality work at the same time.

Assessing your suppliers

While these three steps make the process sound easy, we know it’s a hard job chasing just one supplier for their information. To help you improve your supply chain management, Altius has created the free ‘Supply Chain Compliance Self-Assessment Guide‘.

Within 12 questions you can assess the performance of your own supply chain and see which areas you need to improve. Download your free copy of the self-assessment guide today.

Self assess your supply chain performance

Key takeaways from the Altius ‘Managing Your Contractors’ webinar

Altius’ Managing Director Gary Plant hosted a webinar in January 2016 to give viewers five top tips for managing contractors more effectively. The 25-minute webinar also hosted questions and queries from viewers on the biggest challenges they face, and how they can overcome them. Here’s just some of the key takeaways from the webinar:

Requirements are essential

As well as having a requirement in place for your sub-contractor to complete the work you require, you should also have requirements on health and safety aspects too. For example, any builder working above 3 metres should have the necessary training, equipment and insurance to carry out the job.

Evidence of capabilities

After working on the requirements of the job, finding the right contractors who are capable of doing the job should be your next step. It’s not enough to simply ‘take their word’ if they say they can do the job – if something goes wrong, it is you that will be in trouble. Examples of evidence could include insurance documentation or references from other businesses. These two pieces of mind can help to complete the job and negate the risk of working with an untried contractor.

FREE VIDEO: Top 5 tips for managing your contractors. Watch now >

Communicate requirements

No assumptions should be made when dealing with sub-contractors. Yes, they can do the job, but in terms of meeting your requirements for health and safety, for example, can they do it? It is not uncommon for contractors to be working to different standards than what you expect, hence, the reason why it is important to check. It is also worth highlighting and communicating the things you don’t want them to do, go, or touch.

Monitoring compliance

After setting out your requirements, how can you assess whether contractors are simply ‘talking-the-talk’ rather than ‘walking-the-walk’? Monitoring compliance is important to measure whether the job is going well. If something is going wrong, it’s obviously too late to do anything about the situation, but you can learn from next time as to how you communicate with your next subcontractor – regardless of whether it was their fault or yours.

Technology is your friend

Keeping records of sub-contractors and keeping on top of your paperwork is an incredibly difficult job, not to mention the audits you need to keep on top of. Technology now can assist those managing supply chains through the use of automation to ask for updated contractor details. This automation not only gives you more time to concentrate on more important tasks but also helps you to work smarter and only collect the information you need.

Watch the webinar

As well as covering the five above tips in more detail, the webinar included a Q&A session which can both be viewed for free here. The recorded 25-minute webinar will also give your further tips on assessing contractor capability and monitoring your contractor’s behaviour. Watch the recorded webinar today.

Sign up for our free webinar

Bishop of Derby supports launch of Altius Modern Slavery Report

The Bishop of Derby, The Rt Revd Dr Alastair Redfern, is a member of the Parliamentary Select Committee who published the report and subsequent draft Modern Slavery Bill. Following the launch of the Altius Modern Day Slavery Report, The Reverend kindly offered a foreword for the Report:

“Modern Slavery is alive and expanding. In times of tight margins, extreme poverty, routes for migration and political/religious instability, there are many vulnerable people who are easily exploited. The result is forced labour, sex slavery, organised begging, forced marriage and a trade in organs.

Modern Slavery is the second most profitable crime in the world, after drugs. It operates through highly successful business models. As so many of our brothers and sisters are brutalised and oppressed in these ways, there are a number of key responses. One is that of legislation and combatting crime. The United Kingdom passed important legislation in 2015 to enable response.

The legislation also recognised the important role of businesses – to ensure that they are not using slave labour, especially in supply chains and through agency workers. As public awareness and horror increases, investors and consumers are becoming more concerned that the businesses they support are operating good practices.

Further, criminal business takes a huge share out of the market and this needs to be isolated and stopped.

This report is a model of how businesses can be encouraged to recognise the realities of the challenge of Modern Slavery, and to identify areas for improvement and the development of good practice. Such responses will mitigate risk, improve standards and help to eliminate the presence of slavery in supply chains.

I commend this project warmly.”

Report – what’s inside?

The introduction of the Modern Slavery Act in 2015 has made UK businesses sit up and take notice of their supply chain more than they have ever done before. Following an extensive research period, the Modern Day Slavery Survey Report compiles the key findings as highlighted by survey respondents. Download your copy of the report today.

Download the modern slavery report 2017

How to end supplier and contractor management headaches

There are many ways of managing your suppliers and contractors effectively– as you’ll probably know from searching online. But just how many of those ‘software solutions’ that you come across will give you full control of your contractors, whilst being efficient and easy to use?

We know that in a business, you need to always be in total control of your contractors and have full visibility of what is going on and how they are doing – while also being efficient. Time is money after all. So we have designed our software, Altius Exigo with your challenges in mind – here are more details on how we can end your supplier and contractor management headaches.


Rather than spending a lot of your time managing your contractors through spreadsheets and questionnaires, let the software do the work. Altius Exigo is a smarter contractor management tool and is able to work more efficiently than the spreadsheets that you’re probably using.

Discover the all-in-one contractor management software >

And should you need to implement any changes due to an alteration in circumstance with your suppliers and contractors, the introduction of these into the Exigo software is simple and in your control. Which is better than searching through lines and lines of data in your spreadsheet – changes would also be visible to your contractors, so you’re always on the same page.

Plus, if at any time, a job with your contractors goes wrong for any reason – it is important that you’re in a position where you can say how and why. With the Exigo software, everything that you do with your contractors is tracked automatically. From this, you can access the status of any supplier or contractor, from any point in time, along with evidence and rationale for decisions made, which will help you should you ever need it.


Managing, assessing and just keeping on top of your contractors, we know can be extremely time-consuming, so why not invest in something that is more efficient if the option is there?

Ask yourself, how much extra time would you have to spend on other tasks that need your attention if you were released from the day-to-day managing of your suppliers and contractors? That is what Exigo Essentials can do for you – the software handles the day-to-day routine so that you can concentrate your efforts where they are needed.

As the Exigo Essentials system is designed and implemented by Altius you will have access to our Altius Eco-System which means that you can benefit from our knowledge and experience with managing problems, should you ever need it.


Making any changes to contractor information or requirements from a project, however minimal, can often seem like a nightmare for the person who has the job of communicating these amendments to all parties involved.

Using Exigo Essentials can take away this nightmare by giving you and your contractors a mutual platform for collaboration, ensuring that you both have an understanding of what is required, which helps everyone communicate that they are committed to producing a service that meets expectations. Therefore strengthening your relationships with contractors.

Being able to access accurate information about any of your contractors and real-time reporting is also a feature of Exigo. Being able to view up-to-date supplier and contractor information can highlight any weaker points that may exist and potential issues, allowing you to resolve them before they can turn into a risk to your business.

Altius Exigo

Interested in Exigo Essentials? Sign up today to get a free demo of the tool in action so that you can see first hand, just how much of a difference investing in Exigo Essentials would make to you.

See Exigo Essentials in action

Nine deadly sins of managing contractors and suppliers

Are you covering the basics of supplier and contractor management? Whether you work with 20 or 200 suppliers/ contractors, finding time to check they’re capable, manage and monitor them on each project takes time that you simply haven’t got.

As a basic standard you should have a robust management system in place to avoid committing one of these nine deadly sins of managing contractors:

1 – Missing contractor and supplier information

As the main starting point of managing contractors, you should have their information and have it available to you within a few clicks. Keep in mind that there’s little use in collecting the same information for every contractor. Depending on their service, depends on the information you will need.

2 – Irregular verification

When was the last time you checked your contractor or suppliers information was updated? You should be checking at least once per year and have access to this anytime to update and retrieve their information.

3 – Not updating your staff on authorised contractors

There’s no point going to the effort of collecting information and verifying contractors and suppliers if your staff don’t know about the new process in place and instead appoint a supplier or contractor not verified. Ensure the message of approving contractors and the new approval process is known and used.

4 – No policy, no rules

Policies and rules set the quality of work you would expect from your contractors. Without these, your company may be tarnished if a project goes wrong. Set out what is expected from the start and make sure your suppliers and contractors adhere to them.

5 – No contracts or specifications

Ever left a project to a contractor only to find it wasn’t finished properly?  Get your requirements down in writing and make sure they understand what you want right from the start. Changes in job requirements should also be followed by a renewed contract.

Discover the all-in-one contractor management software >

6 – No restraint updates

You’ve given your contractor the rules and a contract of work, but did you tell them about that access door or the exposure to heat they will endure undertaking the project? You’re responsible for all restraints and controls that could hinder your contractor’s work, so update them thoroughly.

7 – Don’t monitor behaviour

Just because you’re taking control of your contractors’ capability for your requirements, it shouldn’t lead to them putting less effort into their compliance and performance. But contractors lulled into complacency is a common occurrence, so monitor their behaviour and make sure they know where accountability lies.

8 – Poor auditing (or no auditing at all)

Technology provides a better platform for you to audit your suppliers and contractors over reams of paperwork. Saying that, a spreadsheet that is both huge and complex isn’t the solution either. Using a software, such as Altius Exigo Essentials, gives you the platform to audit better.

Remember deadly sin number one, audit the things that matter to each contractor – a sweeping report just isn’t going to give you the insight you set out to achieve.

9 – No goals to achieve

It’s often said that what doesn’t get measured, just doesn’t get done. Giving your contractors KPIs allows you to gather, measure and analyse statistics to reveal just whether you are getting value for money and the quality of service you wanted.

Don’t fall into the trap

It’s easy to be busy and procrastinate away from managing your suppliers and contractors more effectively and making sure that your compliance process is right for your business.

Spending time now on improving your supplier and contractor relations has been proven to reduce costs, boost efficiency and improve the quality of work. To find out how you can achieve this, and not fall into the trap of these nine deadly sins above, sign up to our free webinar to learn more tips on managing suppliers and contractors.

See Exigo Essentials in action

Introducing Exigo Essentials: The smart contractor management software

If you manage suppliers and contractors, you’ll be aware of just how time-consuming this task can be. Using spreadsheets and email is one way of managing contractors but wouldn’t it be easier if there was a system that automatically emailed your contractors, allowed contractors to manage their compliance profile online and provided you with reports at the push of a button?

Now is the time to stop looking – and no, it isn’t too good to be true. Introducing, Altius Exigo Essentials, the smarter contractor management software that helps to manage your suppliers and contractors online.

Don’t believe us? Watch this:


Exigo Essentials is a web-based solution for businesses wanting to ensure their suppliers are safe, certified and fully compliant. Designed for businesses with 10 – 10,000 suppliers, Exigo Essentials is the smart way avoid introducing risk into your business.

Automated processes and workflows

All processes and workflows within Altius Exigo Essentials are fully automated and will email contractors when they need to take any action, and include details of what needs to be done and when it must be completed. In the case that no action is taken, the alerts to you will be escalated to ensure that nothing is ever missed.

Discover the all-in-one contractor management software >

Real-time status tracking and reporting

Altius Exigo provides a current view of your supplier’s status so that you can see at a glance where any of your risks or potential issues lie – giving you the ability to act on problems before they happen. The advanced report design feature in Exigo Essentials allows the creation of scheduled report deliveries, which helps to keep the desired team members in the know with any developments regarding your suppliers.

Document control and versioning

Document management is included as standard as part of the Altius Exigo software. It provides you with one place where you can see all of yours, and your supplier’s, past and present documentation. The system will also inform your suppliers and internal staff members automatically when any documentation needs to be updated – which ensures that nothing on your system is ever out of date.

Ready-made templates

This cloud-based software provides you with an extensive library of contractor compliance templates, so you will have everything that you need to get up and running, quickly and easily. The templates that are included are anything from Health and Safety to Anti-Corruption and Bribery. No matter what your business needs, there will be a template for you.

Built-in expertise

Through the Exigo Essentials platform, you can access the Altius supply chain compliance knowledge and expertise we have built up over two decades. Our knowledge of industry regulations, compliance standards, procurement processes and risk management is built-in to every feature of the Exigo Essentials platform, so you spend more time working with your suppliers and less time focusing on contractor compliance management.

The next steps…

Do you like the sound of Altius Exigo Essentials? Sign up to our webinar below and watch a full software demo of Exigo Essentials. Or, if you don’t want to wait, get in touch with us today, and one of our compliance experts will contact you shortly.


Request an Exigo software demo

Altius publishes new guide to contractor compliance for facilities managers

Supplier assessment and assurance specialist Altius has published a free guide to help facilities managers improve contractor compliance.

The guide outlines the steps facilities managers can take to address common contractor management problems that may present supply chain risk. Such problems include a lack of central supplier information, the complexity of managing supplier lists and difficulty in sourcing good quality new contractors.

Manage suppliers better

Managing supplier lists is one of the critical steps covered in the guide, including creating a central repository of supplier information and encouraging sharing of information to avoid duplication of effort.

The guide also includes advice on how to move towards an evidence based compliance process and transparent decision making process, together with recommended tools to get the job done.

Gary Plant, Managing Director of Altius,said: “Contractor compliance is a critical to the smooth running of your supply chain. It’s important to have a robust strategy and framework in place that sets out exactly what is expected of them and what the timeframe is. This requires policies and rules; contracts and specifications; controls and restraints and continuous monitoring.”

Download your free guide

Discover how you can improve your supply chain and contractor performance by downloading our free Facilities Manager guide Improving Contractor Performance With Compliance. The free Altius guide will highlight key steps you can take to gain optimal contractor compliance, including:

Get your free copy of the Facilities Manager’s Guide today.

Download Improving Contractor Performance with Compliance: A Guide for Facilities Managers

An SME’s guide to approving contractors effectively

Contractors and suppliers provide assets to your business that you couldn’t do without, but along with the products and services that they bring, they could also bring liabilities, problems, or even adverse PR to your business.

Understanding how to approve your contractors or suppliers effectively will become an integral part of running your business, and it all starts with assessing capability:

Assessing capability

This might seem like an obvious place to start, but all too often, even when contractors are asked to do something that they know is outside of their capability, they will attempt to do it because they don’t want to turn down any business.

While sometimes this can work out in your favour, it can be risky and it’s advisable that you have a process in place so that you can effectively assess your possible suppliers. That’s where the following three points come in:


Information is the critical starting point.

Supplier information is needed to establish that a supplier has the capability to provide you with the product or service that you need. This includes checking that they work in the right geographical area, or that they are a large enough business to handle the contract that they are being considered for.

The requirements for the information that you need to gather will vary from business to business, so make sure that you ask questions that are applicable to you and the service that you’re looking for.

Discover the all-in-one contractor management software >


When suppliers carry an element of risk, it’s often inadequate to take their claims at face value and it is essential, and sometimes a legal requirement to verify that their claims are true.

Any checks that you carry out must be evidence based and carried out by a ‘competent’ person. The checks can include a ‘tick-box’ mentality where you assess the prospective contractors/ suppliers to meet third-party certifications, such as ISO standards and other certifications that a business might need to operate within their industry (it can also include health and safety regulations).

This evidence shouldn’t just be checked once a year either, it should always be live, up to date and easily retrievable.


Once a supplier has demonstrated that they are capable of providing the products and services that you need, it is vital that you let them know exactly what you have authorised them for. If this doesn’t happen, they might agree to carry out tasks outside their verified scope, which could bring unwanted risk into your business.

In time, you’ll have a list full of suppliers that you have approved, so make sure that it is shared across your business. You don’t want any department to stray from this list and appoint any non-approved suppliers, for example, if they’re cheaper on price. In the long run, that decision could be more costly to you.

How can Altius help?

The steps outlined in this blog can be time-consuming, especially if you’re a small business and don’t have a lot of time to put aside for approving suppliers. Nevertheless, ensuring that your suppliers are capable of efficiently carrying out their duties should be high on your priorities – and this is where Altius Exigo can help you.

Altius Exigo Essentials is a solution that was designed to give you complete supplier and contractor management that is flexible and transparent – and it can help you to take care of the steps outlined in this blog. Interested? Sign up to our webinar below and learn how Exigo Essentials can assist you with any supplier/ contractor management problems.

See Exigo Essentials in action

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