Safety Council seeking to vet industry vendors online

By By Frank DiCesare / American Press

A Lake Charles nonprofit group wants to make it easier for local industry leaders to vet qualified vendors. And they’re looking

online to do so.

The Safety Council of Southwest

Louisiana is developing an online database of vendors who have been

pre-qualified to work

at petrochemical plants and refineries across Southwest Louisiana.

The program is in its beginning stages and is not expected

to be online until early next year.

“Vendors who go into a plant serve a different function than contractors, and there are different needs and requirements for

them,” said Mason Lindsay, the Safety Council’s director of business services and marketing. “Vendor programs do not have

to be as stringent as the contractor’s because they are not physically working inside of the unit. A vendor may be the guy

who goes in and fills the Coke machine or delivers supplies to the warehouse.”

With the click of a mouse, local plant

managers and purchasing agents will be able to go online and peruse

pre-qualified vendors

who have listed their products and services in the database.

Lindsay said vendors will be pre-qualified in areas such as safety

programs and the training they have received to enter industrial

plants.

He added that the database is the outgrowth of the council’s Pre-Qualifier Form program, which was launched online 10 years

ago.

The PQF program requires all

contractors to fill out a form that identifies their companies’ safety

programs and accident

rates. Once the council receives a contractor’s safety measures,

they send an auditor to the contractor’s business location

to verify the safety measures are in place.

Vendors will submit their companies’ safety manuals and programs to pre-qualify for a listing in the database.

“You’re trying to protect people first,

then the equipment and facilities after that,” Lindsay added. “The

vendor program

began with our plant customers asking us to come up with a

database that lists potential vendors who have been pre-qualified

to work at their plant.”

Jay Fear, a local independent

consultant and small-business coach, said the database is also a tool

for industry purchasing

managers who want to offer business opportunities to local

vendors. Fear, who runs Innovative Small Business Development in

Welsh, was recently appointed to the Go Group’s small-business

subcommittee to work on the Safety Council’s vendor database

project.

“Purchasing managers have a tremendous job to do, and they’re good at what they do,” he said. “The industries in our area

want to stay local. We just have to make it easy for them to stay local.”

Lindsay said the vendor database program has been in the development stages for about two months. He added that the program

remains both a concept and a work in progress that is subject to change.

“The vendor’s activities are different from the contractor’s activities, so there’s a different set of needs,” he said. “Plants

are really small cities. They have all different kinds of vendors who supply them with the products they need. The design

of this program is to meet those needs as opposed to what the contractors are doing.”

Online: www.safetycouncilswla.org.