Contract managers know that keeping track of different contracts and their many terms and conditions can be rather complicated. It takes serious organization and diligent monitoring to ensure that contractual obligations are met and responsibilities fulfilled. This can become even more difficult when a company’s contractual duties require a subcontracting plan, which will generate additional contracts with even more clauses to oversee. Additionally, there may be multiple individuals involved in a company’s general contract management process and different personnel needed to supervise any subcontracts.
Even if internal division is necessary, there are certain steps that companies can take to ensure that there is a single, overarching contract management system in place. The following are some of the key issues to consider when engaging in contracting that requires subcontracting.
All contracts, whether a primary contract or one that is subsumed under a primary contract, should be stored in one secure location. This will eliminate any potential issues with items becoming misplaced or forgotten. Plus, managers will not have to go looking for contracts they need to review or waste time attempting to track down the person who has the final copy.
Keeping contracts saved and organized in one easy to find location is even more important when there are both primary contracts and subcontracts. As more parties are added to a transaction with additional expectations created, the situation inevitably becomes more complex. This is not necessarily a negative complication, but it does warrant extra vigilance and oversight. The simple act of saving all relevant documents in an online contract management service will remove at least one potential problem.
Once primary contracts and any related subcontracts have been uploaded in one secure location, the principal contract manager should create permissions-based roles for users. This feature may not be available in all contract management services. For companies engaged in substantial contracting and subcontracting, this is an indispensable feature because it allows multiple users to access contracts in a database depending on the permissions assigned. Ultimately, this sort of online collaboration tool will facilitate the delegation process and avoid confusion or redundancy.
Contracts may be uploaded into a contract management service all at once or it may be a piecemeal process over a longer period of time. Regardless, it is imperative that managers create alerts as soon as an executed contract is uploaded. These alerts can relate to key milestones such as renewal or expiration deadlines or dates for future deliverables. By creating alerts, the burden of constant supervision is somewhat alleviated, as email reminders will be generated. And, when there are contracts with connected subcontracts, it is even more important to stay apprised of important dates.
The only way to stay on top of contract compliance is to stay on top of reviewing contracts and their associated subcontracts. It may be impossible to memorize the details of a ton of contracts, but with the help of an online contract management service (such as one in which customizable alerts and reports can be created) periodic review of these contracts should suffice. The frequency and scope of contractual review will obviously depend on the nature of a contract, such as its duration, content, and financial impact. In most cases, the quality of the contract management review process far outweighs the quantity.
Fortunately, there are online services with sophisticated security measures and a myriad of purpose-built features meant to simplify the contract management process. The utilization of such a service is imperative for companies juggling multiple contracts and subcontracts.