How Public Health Solutions undertook a multi-year initiative to overhaul contract management and build a modern, compliant operation.
In 2020, Public Health Solutions (PHS) began an initiative to improve operations and establish a first-class contract management organization. PHS identified several priorities for improvement, including policy and procedure standardization, technology modernization, third-party risk mitigation, and a more coordinated alignment of roles and responsibilities.
To solve these challenges, they turned to Vendor Centric to guide them through the transformation, with a focus on adopting practical solutions based on industry best practices. As a result of the collaboration, PHS operations are more standardized and efficient, roles are realigned and more clearly defined, and a scalable infrastructure is in place to support future growth.
Outdated Operations Hamstrung PHS’s Ability to Deliver On Its Vision for Contract Management
As the largest public health nonprofit in New York City, PHS manages hundreds of contracts to deliver healthcare services and support to residents of New York. With contract management being a core competency, management was committed to investing in the people, processes, and technology needed to make it a first-class operation.
Due to the increasing volume of contracts under management, PHS had outgrown many of the processes and systems it had been using. Some of the challenges PHS was facing included:
- Outdated Systems: Contracts were managed through highly customized, homegrown systems that were not scalable and resulted in many workarounds.
- Inefficient Processes: The system challenges also led to process challenges, where many tasks were done manually, data entry was being duplicated, and controls were difficult to monitor.
- Resource Constraints: The combination of the growth and the inefficiencies put a strain on existing resources and highlighted the need for additional expertise to support more complex third-party risk and procurement activities.
- Compliance Concerns: Most of PHS’s contracts carried complex compliance requirements, which were challenging to monitor and manage, given the operational constraints.
Armed with a vision to modernize and transform contract management operations, in 2020, PHS began an initiative to not only remediate these challenges but also build a foundation for scalability and growth. That’s when they brought in Vendor Centric to advise and guide them through this process.
Strategy and Solution
Partnering on a Multi-Year Journey to Transform Contract Management Operations
Vendor Centric partnered with PHS for a 2 ½-year journey to assess and improve all aspects of contract management and to strengthen related operational areas in procurement and third-party risk. Working closely together with PHS we:
- Established a vision for future state contract management operations that would alleviate the challenges and provide a foundation for scalability and growth.
- Aligned this vision with the improvements PHS wanted to make to procurement and third-party risk management to round out the initiative and ensure relationships with third-party vendors and sub-recipients would be managed holistically.
- Created a steering committee and a transformation roadmap to define priorities, secure resources, and align personnel.
- Partnered with the steering committee and project leaders to execute the roadmap and readjust priorities as the transformation evolved.
In addition to strategic guidance, Vendor Centric also assisted with developing and operationalizing practical aspects of the transformation. During the project, the Vendor Centric and PHS teams:
- Reengineered and documented the end-to-end policies and procedures to make them more efficient and ensure they complied with all funder and regulatory requirements.
- Established a new Center of Excellence to coordinate and manage both procurement and third-party risk management operations.
- Realigned contract management personnel and updated roles and responsibilities.
- Implemented two new systems – a procurement system and a contract lifecycle management system – to provide efficient workflow and reporting.
Modern, Scalable, and Compliant Contract Management Operations
The improvements made to PHS’s contract management operations have modernized how they manage third parties. PHS now has an infrastructure that supports a more efficient and best-practice-based approach to managing contract performance, risk, costs, and compliance.
Meanwhile, the new organizational structure has helped to better define roles and responsibilities and created a model for PHS to fill each position with staff who have the right knowledge and skills to handle each aspect of contract management. Further, the new procurement and contract/third-party risk management systems have streamlined workflow around vendor and sub-recipient management and reporting and increased efficiency by removing manual work.
As PHS continues maturing its contract management operations, the organization is well positioned to scale so it can provide healthcare services and support to even more residents of New York.
“What PHS was able to achieve in such a short period of time was incredible when you consider they did it while continuing to support the delivery of critical healthcare services to the citizens of New York in the middle of the COVID pandemic. We are proud to be their partner as they continue their journey to mature and continuously improve their operations.”
Tom Rogers, CEO, Vendor Centric
About Public Health Solutions
Public Health Solutions (PHS) is the largest public health nonprofit serving New York City. For over 60 years, they have improved health outcomes and helped families thrive by providing services directly to the city’s most vulnerable populations, publishing groundbreaking research that moves public health policy and practice forward, and supporting over 200 community-based organizations through their long-standing government partnerships.
Could your contract management operations use an upgrade? Vendor Centric can help you establish a first-class contract management program based on industry best practices that create efficiencies in your organization and help you maintain compliance. Schedule a call today.