Thursday, September 15, 2011


A few words re vendors

Modified on September 20, 2011 adding text. Additions are noted by an "*" at the beginning of a line.


  1. Fire and water restoration
  2. *Debris removal
  3. Paper dry out
  4. Facility repairs
  5. Electricians
  6. *Security
  7. Supplemental staffing agencies

    These are a few vendors most practitioners forget to include in the vendor list.

    These vendors become critical very quickly when fire or water damage occurs.

    Of course these are not the only people on the "Who are you gon'na call?" list, but they are at the top of the list once the Fire Marshal and Building Inspector give an all-clear to enter a damaged facility.

    These vendors are not dealt with every day, but it behooves organizations to get to know vendors in these fields long before a need arises.

    It also pays to check with them every so often to assure that

    1. they are still in business and
    2. that your organization is high on their list of preferred clients

    This means something more than an annual holiday greeting card.

    The risk management practitioner (who knows what "technical" questions to ask) and the Purchasing Manager should meet with potential vendors to determine the vendor's capabilities. The Purchasing Manager also should carefully check the vendor's references and look on-line comments about the vendor.

    Find out what the vendor charges for various services, how many people are on staff; how long has the vendor and its employees been doing what it is advertising.

    It might be wise to also (as "in addition to local vendors") consider "out-of-area" vendors who are willing to come to the organization's area in case a regional event either puts the vendor out of business or overloads the vendor's capacity.

    The need for fire and water restoration services is fairly obvious. *Likewise debris clean-up and removal. Even if a facility is intact and can be occupied, there may be post-event debris that must be cleared.

    Likewise the requirements for a structural engineer and an electrician.

    *Securing a damaged facility may be beyond the capabilities of the rent-a-cop company that normally guards the door. Fencing, bright lights, and possibly armed guards on patrol may be required. Local police normally only watch a facility for a brief period; they have other things to do like chase criminals.

    Supplemental or "casual" staffing agencies can provide the hands to move furniture, pull cable, and other non-technical work. Keep in mind that during restoration, some staff will be needed at an alternate site to keep the operation going, and some will be needed at the restoration site to supervise.

    Why, however, look for a vendor with experience drying out paper.

    The organization is, after all, almost paperless; everything is computerized.

    Here's a challenge.

    Ask each functional unit manager, and make sure to talk with HR and Finance, how many paper documents they have. HR has, among others, I-9 "right-to-work" forms that, if missing when a Federal investigator drops by, can result in a very steep fine.

    Trust me. Every organization has paper it must preserve.

    The vendors listed at the top of this entry really are just the tip of the proverbial iceberg.

    Consider just office equipment vendors:

      Copier acquisition, installation, and repair

      Lighting acquisition, installation, and repair

      Printer acquisition, installation, and repair

      Telephone installation and repair

    Talk a walk around the facility and consider "who are you gon'na call?" if the place is scorched or flooded. Even if there is no fire damage, smoke and smell can leave behind a mess, and mold soon finds a home with wet walls and carpets.

    When making up the vendor list, consider the usual suspects - the equipment vendors, the junk food vendors, the utility companies, etc., but also consider the ones that may be needed "in the event of."

  If I wrote it, you may quote it.

No comments: