That is indeed tricky.
Things I notice:
a) You’re new so the responsibility
b) The project is new
c) The current subcontractor has a history with some problems
d) A new sub-contractor could be better, same, or worse
e) You don’t want to watch the old subcontractor like a hawk.
f) But what about a new subcontractor? Would you watch them?
a) Who has concerns about the old subcontractor? Is it solely you or is it somebody else’s confusion that you are responsible for sorting out?
b) In short – who has the problem with the old contractor?
c) If it is you, and you are new to this responsibility, the temptation to “start fresh” is strong because of a very human assumption:
“If I am new and uncertain about being able to carry out this job, it might be better to bring in someone who is also new, like me; except then I will be both uncertain about my capabilities and ALSO uncertain about the new subontractor’s capabilities.”
Yet consider: You have _some_ (sort of) certainties you can work with. The current subcontractor is the “devil you know” as it were.
Since you know there their flaws are, it will be easier to keep an eye on them. Being new doesn’t make a new subcontractor better, just an unknown with a HOPE of being better.
Yet at the same time, having a history with the company and not with you n this role, may put you in a less powerful position because the old subcontractor might just think of you as “the new guy” who doesn’t know “how things work” and might not listen to you.
A new company might be more willing to listen, might not be.
But in either case, since the job is important, you’ll still have to watch either one.
Picking the new firm doesn’t guarantee a better job. Yet, neither does the old.
A lot of what you can do depends on the scope of your abilities at the position. Can you change the terms of the contract to ensure a proper job is done? Where their responsibilities are laid out specifically addressing the areas in which they are weak?
Is it possible for you to hire someone for QC work, or is QC part of your responsibility?
If QC is part of your responsibility, then you will have to have a strong relationship with either a new firm or the old firm in any case.
Without additional data, I’d go with the old, UNLESS a superior such as my boss has expressed concerns about the old; then you might be best choosing the new.
Either case, you have indeed a complicated question. I hope I was able to help somewhat.
Note: Your problem is the problem people dating have. “new boyfriend vs old boyfriend” – or “bad husband/wife vs new husband/wife”.
There must be someone at the company who can help you with Risk Assessment – even if that’s part of your job description.
If not, there are tools for analyzing risk where you put your pros and cons side-by-side, including your own role and laying out _bare_ *all* assumptions that you have. Scrutinize your own role in the process as if you were your boss analyzing you the way you have to analyze these companies.
Most importantly, identity the stakeholders as they pertain to you personally (you need to please a boss to keep your job, which is how things usually work in a business environment), so on a personal job performance level, they’ll be your #1 concern.
Their prejudices are your prejudices, which can be hard if there is a “mismatch” between their prejudices and you’re own. [we all have prejudices that need to be laid out into the open – by that I mean assumptions].
Once those are all laid out [spreadsheets are good] – and you can see all it at the same time… it will become easier to make a decision.