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10 Benefits of Contractor Data Management Software for Polymer Manufacturers

People often obsess over some things they use daily, while other essential items go unnoticed. Polymers, which include most plastics, fall into the latter category. These materials are found in hundreds of everyday items like clothes, electronics, glasses, toothbrushes, and kitchen items. They are also crucial in the construction, petrochemical, packaging, and automotive industries. 

The global polymers market reached $716 billion in 2022 and should reach more than $1.2 trillion by the end of 2032, growing at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 5.4% from 2023 to 2032. Manufacturing polymers has its challenges, including regulatory compliance, complex production processes, minimizing unplanned downtime, and workforce shortages. 

The number of contractors working at polymer manufacturing facilities varies widely. Large facilities, such as Shell Polymers Monaca, can employ thousands of contractors during construction and ongoing operations, reflecting the industry's reliance on flexible, skilled labor.

Digital systems, particularly contractor data management software, can help polymer manufacturers address these challenges. A McKinsey reportshows that companies using manual systems pay 30%-50% more for contracted services. Implementing digital technology can save companies 10%-15% on total contractor spend annually. 

Let’s look at 10 questions to ask when considering how contractor data management can help polymer manufacturers: 

1.     Can you ensure accurate payments?

If the answer is no, your polymer company will have difficulty maintaining real-time insights into contractor costs for budget precision. Relying on contractor’s invoices and recordkeeping to determine payment is a recipe for frustration. 

Not only are the invoices often submitted late, but they often don’t comply with the contract. Without knowing the true cost of the work, it’s nearly impossible to gauge future costs. 

The problem also affects contractors who expect to be paid with the utmost accuracy. Poor payment processes could impact the relationship between manufacturers and contactors. Because of the complexity of the polymer production process, it’s important to maintain contractors who are knowledgeable and experienced. 

2. Can you easily validate if contractors adhere to all terms and conditions? 

If your procurement team created the contract, but those who approve timesheets and invoices have not read it, the answer is no. Fully engaged in the complex production process, field staff may sign the timesheets without knowing the contract details. 

To ensure contract compliance, polymer manufacturers need a transparent and compliant payment process to ensure all terms and conditions are met.

3. Can you quickly verify completed shifts and avoid common invoice errors?  

Are those approving invoices aware that the contract requires a certain number of Class 2 forklift operators? Do they know the breakdown of the forklift class that was on site?

Small changes could leave the polymer manufacturer out of compliance, resulting in significant fines or worse.For example, polymer manufacturers must ensure proper disposal of chemical waste and hazardous materials.

Avoiding invoice errors such as these is critical as they impact payment. By the time the gate is audited, and the error is discovered, clawing the money back is a hassle for both parties. 

Contractor data and spend management technology provide real-time insight into on-site activity to confirm when and where shifts are completed. It helps ensure both owner and contractor are contract-compliant, which benefits the working relationship. 


4. Is your work-to-invoice process automated for swift dispute settlement?

If the answer to the first part of this question is no, then the answer is no way to the second part of the question. Forget swift and aim for what is possible. Without proper verifiable records, dispute settlement is a nightmare that can result in bitter feelings. Verifiable records may also be necessary to prove regulatory compliance. 

Leveraging an automated work-to-invoice process helps maintain smooth operations so you can handle contractor disputes professionally. This is especially important if the work involves specialized skills and training, such as handling chemicals, making it challenging to find another contractor capable of managing your polymer production process. 

5. Can you capture data that helps improve productivity?  

Can you identify bottlenecks, such as equipment or workforce limitations, that cause delays in your polymer operations? Unresolved issues can cause frustration and lead to apathy in the workforce, compounding the loss of productivity. 

Data can improve productivity by identifying and removing bottlenecks quickly to improve the efficiency of your polymer production facility. With real-time insights provided by contractor data management technology provide, the workflow keeps the workforce active and engaged, thus increasing their manufacturing productivity.

With polymers essential for a multitude of essential goods, slowed production can have wide-ranging impacts. 

6. Is your polymer manufacturing site safe and prepared to handle an emergency? 

Can you quickly account for on-site attendance during emergencies, such as chemical exposures? Outside regulatory organizations, such as OSHA, consider emergency preparedness when reviewing a polymer manufacturing site.  

Regular training and drills for workers to handle emergencies, such as chemical spills or fires, are crucial. But in an emergency, management must prioritize the team’s safety, knowing who is on the work site and their safety certifications and qualifications.

With real-time data, a polymer facility can streamline their emergency response, helping with critical decisions and ensuring regulations are met. 

7. Do you have strong relationships with your contractors?

How do you build trust with contractors? Maintaining a good working relationship with contractors is particularly important with the current workforce shortage of skilled workers in the polymer industry. 

Communication is essential.  

You can strengthen relationships with your contractors by having a transparent and efficient payment process. Furthermore, accurate and timely payment to contractors conveys respect and appreciation for their work. 

In the polymer industry, real-time data helps avoid confirmation delays, fostering a strong relationship and positively impacting production.  

8. Can you easily access accurate data for audits and compliance purposes? 

If your polymer plant has an old system, the answer is probably not. Audits are essential for continuous improvement and may be required by regulatory agencies, such as OSHA. 

Accurate and easily accessible data is needed for meaningful audits, helping inform future decisions and prove the polymer manufacturer complies with regulations. Those regulations ensure polymer plants meet safety, environmental, and quality management standards.

Similarly, complying with regulations is streamlined when you have quick access to accurate data. Simplifying the process avoids headaches that come with compliance reporting to various agencies. 


9. Do you want to boost financial performance? 

Contractor data and spend management technology minimizes errors and leads to better financial control, helping polymer manufacturers maximize cost savings by eliminating inefficiencies. 

How much of a boost does better data and cost management help companies? The technology can lead to savings of up to 15% annually just by reducing timesheet and invoice errors and ensuring billable hours and costs are accurate. 

The savings can also be pumped back into the polymer facility to minimize unplanned downtime and maintain equipment, such as critical reactors, extruders, and pumps.  

10. How can you realize cost savings? 

Is your polymer manufacturing company confident that it's not overspending on contractors? Accurate invoicing leads to cost savings – it’s that simple. The best way to ensure invoicing and payments are contract-compliant is with modern contractor data and spend management technology. 

By leveraging these technologies and practices, polymer manufacturers can significantly reduce unnecessary spending, improve financial oversight, and achieve substantial cost savings.

Unlock Operational Excellence with myTrack

Embracing contractor data and spend management technology is a strategic move toward operational excellence, safety, efficiency, and financial control in the manufacturing and heavy-industry sectors. It empowers polymer manufacturing companies to answer yes to the critical questions above and helps overcome the challenges of regulatory compliance and complex production processes. 

The myTrack Platform offers a comprehensive toolkit for best-in-class polymer manufacturing companies, enabling them to thrive in a rapidly changing landscape. Start exploring the possibilities today and unlock the true potential of contractor data management. 

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