What Can Heavy Industry Learn from ArriveCan?

Lately, and especially if you live in Canada, you probably came across the controversy on the ArriveCan app.  

ArriveCan was an app introduced during the COVID-19 pandemic.  The app became mandatory as a way to screen inbound travelers to Canada for their travel and health-related information, including vaccination status. 

In a scathing new report, Canada's auditor general says the final cost of the ArriveCan app is 'impossible to determine' due to poor record-keeping. The report says that 18 percent of invoices submitted by outside contractors that worked on the app didn't have "sufficient supporting documentation" to accurately determine the cost of the project.

The auditor general said she found "omissions everywhere" in the financial record-keeping.

"I have to say I am deeply concerned by what this audit didn't find," "We didn't find records to accurately show how much was spent on what, who did the work, or how and why contracting decisions were made — and that paper trail should have existed."  The AG was unable to determine what was included in spending on the app and what wasn't. She said that the actual cost of the app could be higher or lower than the $59.5 million estimate.

The initial version of the federal government’s ArriveCAN mobile application cost only $80,000 two years ago.

We’re talking about a 737X cost overrun… Every project manager’s worst nightmare. 

This situation is a classic example of the challenges of managing contractors, especially with a growing amount of data to manage (due to digitalization), less available resources to manage them, and the pressure to get things done quickly.  

In such situations, it is common for procedures to be overlooked and good management practices to be neglected, especially when it comes to the contracting, development, and implementation of such services or applications.. This can occur both on the contractor side and/or on the client side.  As a result, errors, anomalies and gaps are created and, if lucky (if you can call it that) you can only find after the completion of a project, including payment.

Undermanagement of contractors can have serious consequences including (as we have seen with ArriveCan)

  • Rogue spending and cost overruns
  • Ethics and compliance exposure
  • Process inefficiencies
  • A culture of mistrust and uncertainty
“The answer is to fight fire with fire”- states John Bednarek, Director of Business Development at PayShepherd. 

Leverage technical innovations such as PayShepherd's intelligent platform so that you can quickly and accurately review every document/costs incurred (in invoices, POs, Work Orders, gate information, labour agreements, LEMSs....) and identify any anomalies up front so that you can act with agility to minimize any potential errors. “It really is that simple. If we can do it for heavy industries,  we can do it for others.” added Mr. Bednarek.

“Control & governance on the front end is always less costly than audit and reputational damage on the backend.” - says Wesley Sessenwein, CEO at PayShepherd. 

This statement has never been more significant than it is now...

With lessons from the past guiding the path forward, organizations have the power to adapt and shape a future that shines with potential. 

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