What Does a Subcontract Administrator Do?

Kenneth W. Michael Wills

Falling under a broader categorization of purchasing agents, a subcontract administrator oversees and manages an organization’s contracts and associated subcontracts. With small organizations this may include all contracts, while in larger organizations this may involve a portfolio of contracts assigned. Primary responsibilities will include ongoing review of contractual progress, in addition to management of both financial and technical aspects of the contracts. Other responsibilities will involve negotiation with both subcontractors and end customers for contract settlement as well as preparing any orders for changes to initial contracts or drawing up amendments. Applying a firm knowledge of procurement and legal procedures, policies and regulation, the subcontract administrator aims to maintain quality and improve profitability of such contracts.

A subcontract administrator reviews contracts to determine the progress made upon filling the contract obligations.
A subcontract administrator reviews contracts to determine the progress made upon filling the contract obligations.

Duties carried out with regularity will focus on establishing and implementing contract reviews on a consistent basis to gauge progress of contracts. During this process, a subcontract administrator will often resolve conflicts, mediate disputes, find solutions to problems, and make decisions regarding contractual progress or lack thereof. Central to the review process is to ensure subcontractors carry out effectively the original terms and specifications of the contract as negotiated with the end-customer. Upon completion of reviews, the subcontract administrator will prepare written reports detailing the overall progress of contract fulfillment and brief executive management regarding those reviews and any associated actions taken.

A subcontract administrator negotiates end settlements.
A subcontract administrator negotiates end settlements.

Aside from fulfilling the aforementioned duties, the subcontract administrator will also negotiate end settlements of the contract as well as associated pricing on all resources and supplies needed to fulfill the contract. Additionally, he or she will also negotiate original contract terms and establish work policies and procedures. Part of this process will include reviewing, analyzing and evaluating proposals from subcontractors. Attending to the maintenance of both contracts and subcontracts, he or she will also oversee the production and dissemination of information to ensure mutual understanding of all contract terms and conditions.

Accomplishing these duties effectively will often require analyzing related market data and financial data as well as scrutinizing other sources of information to assure the best possible pricing, contract terms and service levels. Subcontract administrators will also prepare and maintain databases to track important data related to contract fulfillment. Tracking such data may include supply pricing, product performance, subcontractor performance, inventories available, and all expenditures associated with contract fulfillment. Considering the high level of responsibility and attention the detail, the job usually requires candidates with a bachelor’s degree and several years of related experience, in addition to successfully completing an apprenticeship before working independently.

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