Administering Contracts for the Purchase of Goods and Services
Contract administration is the management of a contract upon execution and once work begins. Administration of a contract may be simply confirming services are performed or receiving, inspecting and accepting goods and paying the invoice. In some cases, it may be management over a multi-million dollar project, from beginning to end. A single individual or a team may oversee contract administration.
- Become familiar with a Statement of Work (SOW). The SOW explains in detail all the tasks and milestones that must be reached within the period identified. It will also contain specific, detailed responsibilities for both the supplier and the University department. Include any agreed upon payment plan or payment details in the SOW. Become familiar with the Contract Terms and Conditions. Contact the Purchasing Category Manager if you have any questions about any of the contract Terms and Conditions. The contract not only identifies what is required of the supplier, it also spells out the responsibilities of the University. If the University does not meet its responsibilities under the contract, chances are the supplier will not be able to meet its obligations either.
- Develop a contract administration plan based on the complexity of the contract. Each task or action expected to be accomplished by the supplier and for the University department should be listed along with timelines and milestones. Include a communication plan, a responsibility matrix (both University and supplier responsibilities), a work breakdown structure and a schedule of key tasks.
- Create a checklist of all aspects of the contract to monitor, based on the contract itself and the SOW. Maintain this checklist throughout the contracting term. Some examples of items to include in this checklist are:
- Overall contract dates (start and end dates and identify options to renew if part of the contract)
- Milestones with due dates
- Delivery dates for equipment
- Installations, implementations, training details
- All costs including expenses and travel if allowed
- Invoice due dates
- Payment due dates
- All supplier responsibilities/promises/deliverables listed in contract or SOW
- All University responsibilities/promises/deliverables listed in contract or SOW
- Conduct internal and external pre-performance conferences. The project team should hold internal conferences to familiarize themselves with the contract, the SOW, and the contract administration plan. External conferences will bring together the internal team and the supplier's team to ensure that everyone understands the responsibilities, the contract, the SOW, and general expectations as well as contractual prohibitions for both parties. Minutes of these meetings should be sent to all participants with an invitation to make additions or corrections.
- Administer all the following tasks as the project progresses:
- Document contract changes. Any changes to the contract itself must be executed by a formal Amendment. Discuss this with your Category Manager in Purchasing.
- Monitor and document progress. Conduct regular progress reviews with the supplier. Include the contract administration team.
- Identify problems, discuss solutions with supplier, and work to resolve the problems with the supplier.
- Accept or reject services performed.
- Review checklist to ensure that all issues of performance are being or have been completed.
- Review and accept or reject invoices. Pay according to the payment schedule.
- Document lessons learned for the next round of contract administration.