3 Contract Management Steps to Eliminate Bottlenecks
Bottlenecks can hold up what initially seemed like a straightforward contract approval process. The good news is that making a few adjustments to the contract management workflow may eliminate frustrating bottlenecks altogether.
Bottleneck #1: Getting Contracts Out Is Time-Consuming
Sending out contract files should be a quick, simple process. All you need to do is open a new email, type in the recipient’s address, and click a button to attach the contract. That is, if you can find the contract in the first place. Hunting through a cluttered computer drive or searching for a misfiled binder in a wall of filing cabinets can add hours to a simple task.
This bottleneck is one of the easiest to fix with some front-end planning. Storing contracts in a central, cloud-based contract repositoryimproves organization and access to important documents. Simple, drag-and-drop uploading capability makes it easy to add new contracts or documents in a flash. Customizable search capability makes pulling up new contracts, previous versions for comparison, and compliance regulations painless.
Bottleneck #2: Contract Approval Takes Forever
Many companies lack effective controls and procedures to ensure that all users are working with the correct version of a contract. A complex contract may require many people’s approval. If one person is working with an outdated file, the process can easily turn into a bottleneck.
A cloud-based system ensures that users view the same, up-to-date document. Eliminating email back-and-forth plays a large role in streamlining the approval process. You can improve security at the same time by assigning users the appropriate levels of viewing, downloading, and editing privileges.
Contract security and accuracy challenges can also lead to extensive bottlenecks. If signed contracts are delivered by mail or fax, validating signatures may be a concern. You may have to dedicate hours comparing documents received against the original contract, word for word, to ensure there are no unauthorized changes. This wastes both time and billable hour revenue.
Electronic signatures can dramatically improve contract management security procedures. Helpful features to look for include two-factor authentication to verify user identity and an e-signature feature that complies with any relevant state regulations.
Bottleneck #3: Most Contract Management Is Handled Manually
For many companies the contract management process is a manual one, relying on a team of individuals to review each contract and its terms. This itself can be a bottleneck, as human error is bound to occur which can lead to costly mistakes.
The use of contract lifecycle management software can help automate this process, improving efficiency and reducing risk. Automating milestone checkpoints not only saves time, but keeps important review dates from getting lost in a flurry of other tasks. Automatic prompts to take action appraise of status changes without the arduous shuffle between cabinets and spreadsheets. It effectively saves time at multiple points throughout the contract lifecycle. This means you spend less time conducting proactive reviews as basic maintenance or dealing with the fallout of a breach of contract terms or lapse in compliance.
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To Build or to Buy?: Electronic Contract Management System