Procuring, Managing, and Evaluating the Performance of Contracted TMC Services
The following three sections identify key lessons learned from the review of existing practices and the stakeholder surveys. The information is organized into three categories: procurement, management, and evaluation.
The availability and presence of desired service providers must be balanced with the desire/need to obtain the staffing and resources for TMC services.
In some rural locations it may be challenging to encourage private sector organizations to provide services if there are not opportunities to conduct other related business in the region. In other circumstances, such as when the economy is in a downturn, it might be possible to obtain high-quality services at beneficial prices because of a highly competitive marketplace.
Contracts that allow consideration of best value through some combined weighting of services and price have become viable options for contracting TMC services.
When incentives are included in contracts relating to technical performance, the incentives can have a meaningful impact on the contractor’s delivery of the work.
Duties and commitments must be formalized through legally binding agreements so that all roles and responsibilities are clearly understood, defined, and agreed to.
Encouraging competition fosters creativity and allows the contractors to propose their best ideas about how to meet the agency’s goals and objectives, ultimately leading to a “best fit” of public and private partners working together to provide the TMC services.
A well-written contract identifies outcomes that ensure agency needs are being met in a cost-effective manner. This facilitates improvement in system performance and agency efficiencies, as well as demonstrates good stewardship of agency resources.
Outsourcing can provide a flexible means to obtain specialty skills and to build upon existing core transportation operations, functions, and assets.
Recruitment and retention of employees is linked in part to career path opportunities. A TMC agency may not be able to offer adequate career opportunities for specialty skilled employees. A contractor with a broad base of clients may be more successful at providing career path incentives and/or salary opportunities than a public sector funded agency.
A benefit of outsourcing is the ability to meet workload and schedule requirements. Another benefit is access to special skills and equipment more readily available in the private sector.
Keys to effective and successful outsourcing are how clearly the project goals and objectives align with the procurement type to be used, which contractor is selected, and the ability of agency personnel to manage the contracted staff.
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