A reader asks: "Our onsite supervisor has failed to abide by the contract specifications and the customer now expects us to continue this practice without due compensation. Any ideas of how we can satisfy them and keep the contract?"

Although contract creep does not happen in a vacuum, it is indicative of poor communication and management on your part. First of all, the onsite supervisor should have been monitored more closely. It appears that so long as they submitted payroll hours within budget and there were no complaints from the tenants, they were allowed to manage with little oversight on your part. The result is that they took on more and more "verbal" commitments without properly communicating with upper management and getting due support and guidance from you. I highly recommend you take a hard look at your other sites as well since the same problems may be festering and erupt at any moment.

Once you have updated information as to the building/contract inventory, you need to take a hard look at your worker's schedule. This is called work loading and is the primary driver is the success or failure of most contracts. Are your staff on the agreed upon schedule? Are they performing only the tasks that is in the contract the correct number of times per day and per shift? Unless they are day porters, are they independent of direction from the customer and tenants except for special events such as spills and other acceptable requests? Has their schedules been set and is there documentation as to the work being performed as per the specifications?

Managing by complaint is never a good idea and can be very expensive in both lost credibility, unnecessary turnover and of course, lost profits.

Your comments and questions are important. I hope to hear from you soon. Until then, keep it clean...

Mickey Crowe has been involved in the industry for over 35 years. He is a trainer, speaker and consultant. You can reach Mickey at 678-314-2171 or CTCG50@comcast.net.