In a previous post, we discussed the idea of launching a contract management project that trims the fat from your contract lifecycle. The potential time savings there are impressive. We mentioned that it’s best to work with a consulting partner that can apply best practices to help you find the low-hanging fruit for rapid improvements in your contract process.
What are these contract management best practices? We’re about to explain four of them, and tell you how to get another six.
Contract Management Best Practice #1: Standardize your process.
The typical company’s contract “process” is actually an ad hoc affair. Oh, sure, the legal department tries to police contract policies and procedures, but they do it manually. Meanwhile, users contact the legal department frequently for basic information, clarifications, and status updates. All of this adds up to a flurry of time-wasting calls and emails.
As contracts make their way through the organization, operational and legal teams must manually enter the same information multiple times, while also correcting whatever inconsistencies and inaccuracies they’re able to catch. More wasted time.
You can avoid this by codifying all your contract policies and procedures into a self-enforcing system that interfaces with your other business systems.
Contract Management Best Practice #2: Distribute data entry to the most logical person.
Too many attorneys waste too much potentially productive time typing missing information into business systems. This should have been the job of whomever requested the contract in the first place.
By putting clear expectations in place for your requestors, you can ensure they’ll provide certain essential pieces of information before your legal team even sees their contract request. You’ll eliminate the need for your legal team to dig for this information – and you’ll ensure that the contract lifecycle will go smoothly and painlessly for everyone involved.
Contract Management Best Practice #3: Build compliance management into your process.
Most organizations take great pains to document their compliance policies. Most organizations then leave enforcement of these policies up to manual methods. See the disconnect?
Even the most conscientious legal department will eventually let compliance issues slip through the cracks unless they have an automated workflow solution that self-enforces policies. In an automated system, your policy won’t just be documented—it will actually run the process.
Contract Management Best Practice #4: Create an online repository for contracts and frequently used clauses.
Why reinvent the wheel each time you include a liability or termination for cause clause in a contract? Write up these clauses and put them in a central clause library. Then, populate these clauses into your contracts automatically. You’ll save countless man-hours per year and free up much more of your attorneys’ time to focus on the unique portions of each contract.
Get Six More Contract Management Best Practices
Did you find these best practices helpful? If so, we’d like to offer you six more. Just download Elegrity’s free white paper, “Ten Best Practices for Efficient Contract Management,” and learn how easy it can be to transform your contract management process from a time-sink into a highly optimized workflow.