One of the biggest advantages of doing
business with a QRF is that it is a relationship, not just a one-time
competitive bidding arrangement. QRF businesses are there to provide
permanent jobs for disabled Oregonians, not to make money by cutting
corners. You should expect quality services and products.
As a purchasing agent, you have the
capability to make your agency’s QRF contract successful, it just takes
communication and cooperation. Talk to your QRF counterpart. Make sure
your program people are introduced to the QRF representative and that
everyone involved in the contract administration process knows what’s
expected of them. For example, if you have a QRF doing custodial
services, plan a joint walk-through on a weekly basis from the beginning
of the contract. Spend time talking about performance expectations at
the beginning of your relationship and you will each get to know and
understand the other.
As your contract relationship settles into a
routine, you can cut down on the frequency with which you meet with the
QRF contractor. Continue to plan regular meetings with the QRF
representative to talk about their performance and to make adjustments
in the contract, as needed. Together, write down any changes you and the
QRF agree to make. Amend your contract to reflect the mutually agreed
upon changes. This bit of routine "housekeeping" will keep your mutual
understanding of what’s to be done fresh and current.
If a problem does surface, you must tell the
QRF management immediately. Don’t wait, hoping things will get better.
They can’t fix the problem if they don’t know about it. If you have
taken the time to get to know each other at the start of the contract,
issues will be easier to solve.
Always document any needed changes or
complaints, and share them with the QRF. Remember the old adage is true;
take care of the little things before they get to be big things!
If, after making these efforts, you cannot
resolve your problems, remember that you have authority to terminate the
contract just as you would with any commercial business. If there seems
to be no other way, talk candidly with the QRF about termination. It
may be in the best interests of everyone involved.