How to control contract management with document management
If your company is handling more contracts than ever, you are not alone. Reasons for this exponential growth include increasing regulatory requirements, supply chain challenges and complexity of business relationships brought about by globalization. In addition, employees change jobs more often, and therefore a large number of employment contracts and non-disclosure and non-compete agreements need to be managed. Sales contracts and supplier agreements are a major concern for any company in sales or manufacturing, and in drive to reduce costs, successful contract negotiations are critical. Business partnerships are also more common.
It's time to stop relying on your memory, calendar reminders, browsing Excel spreadsheets, or going to Google Docs to find out when contracts are scheduled for auto-renewal or expire. Missing one of these deadlines may result in you paying for services you no longer need or missing out on an opportunity to negotiate better terms for the next contract term.
Using paper, electronic or semi-digital contract management solutions is time consuming and stressful. Contracts are too important to be kept on paper, which can be lost or mishandled. Also, sending contracts back and forth for changes and signatures by mail slows down process and is prone to human error. Emailing contract is best solution, but it probably won't save you time unless you're using software that integrates with Outlook and other email software.
Document Management Implementation is a complete solution that automates contract workflows so that stakeholders can see progress of a contract from first revision to completion and eliminate unnecessary process steps, saving time and energy.Here are a few examples of how DocuWare document management can help clients manage contracts more efficiently: Example 1: E-files and automated workflows create good customer relationships.
The Hamburg-based CCP Management Holding specializes in temporary employment, job placement and consulting. The service provider has about 500 employees in 10 offices throughout Germany.
Prior to introduction of DocuWare, all HR records, including activity reports and temporary office substitute reports, were kept on paper and in filing cabinets. They are not stored sequentially, making it difficult for employees to find documents when they need them. The company also had to rent additional storage space, as documents are required by law to be kept for ten years. DocuWare now allows you to work more efficiently in branches and billing centers. All HR documents, from signing employment contracts to bank account records, are scanned and automatically indexed with Smart Indexing, which uses machine learning to remember each document and enter index, so each capture improves tool's speed, accuracy, and reliability. These documents are then made available for authorized access in employee's digital personal file. Today, system is used by about 65 employees, 50 of them at branch office and 15 at headquarters in Hamburg. Archiving and processing about 7,000 personnel documents per month.Example Two: Digitizing Auto Contract Documents Boosting Efficiency of a Thriving Car Dealership
Stoll Automotive Group, a Volkswagen and Audi dealership with four showrooms and an online presence in southern Germany, has been using DocuWare since mid-2019.
When using electronic documents, when a customer decides to buy a car, signed contract is archived digitally. After verification by sales manager, documents are sent to relevant department for processing, after which seller receivese-mail notification that all documents are ready for client to sign.
With DocuWare, dealer personnel always know which tasks have already been completed and which have not yet been completed, and digital documentation makes it easy to access all files.Example Three: Integrated Digital Signatures Streamline Contract Management
WSM Personal is a human resources provider that recruits workers from Central and Eastern Europe who want to work in Germany in food production, construction, logistics and manufacturing industries.
Management of employment contracts is main process in WSM Personal. Since companies hire employees from abroad and new employees want to have a signed employment contract in hand before traveling to Germany, digital signature process is critical. This process used to be performed by third party providers, but can now be managed directly from DocuWare through integration with Validated ID service providers.
The process begins with creation of an employment contract, which includes a status field indicating that contract is ready to be signed; The email address and phone number of new employee will be saved for two-factor authentication. After submitting document to Validated ID (the service provider that DocuWare integrates with), a link will be sent to employee via email. The signature is verified with a text message containing a confirmation code, and signed contract is automatically archived in document. The digital signature process is also used in other contracts such as termination agreements and assignment notices.How Document Management Can Improve Contract Management 1. Easily organize, store and retrieve contracts
With a central repository, document management systems provide standardized electronic documentation so you can always find information you need. You can get an overview of past and current status of each contract, and any team member with access to this information can access it immediately.2. Automatic routing and approval eliminating unnecessary delays
A department manager can initiate a standard contract approval workflow, after which contract can be submitted to finance department for signing. If authorized by finance department, contracts can be automatically referred to legal department for review. After legal approval, contracts are finalized and copies of original documents are stored in a central database. The contract is then sent to relevant parties who sign document with a secure digital signature, and signed contract is sent back to company to start execution phase.
Email notifications and reminders can be scheduled to ensure that process is completed within a specified time period. Because your teams have real-time insight into processes, bottlenecks can be identified and addressed early in contract life cycle. Your company can create a flexible contracting infrastructure that enhances company's ability to withstand unforeseen changes in economic conditions.
Signing a contract without following company policy can have long-term financial and legal implications, and designing automated workflows that comply with company guidelines ensures fast execution and government compliance.3. Version control ensures everyone is using current contract
Without version control, there is no guarantee that you are using latest version of contract. This can be especially worrisome if your company uses contract templates. In this case, it is not uncommon for someone to send a contract using an outdated template. Lack of automation can even lead to old versions leaking into approval process.
Some contracts need to be managed continuously throughout their lifecycle. These types of protocols can go through many changes over time, which is a recipe for disaster without automatic versioning. Using document management, your company can spend less time drafting/verifying contracts and more time doing additional activities.4. Reliable and legally protected electronic signature
Did you know that electronic signatures often have same legal effect as personal "wet signatures"? Electronic signatures are also more secure because you can be sure that original person isthen who, document is authentic and its content has not been changed.
Compare two examples to see how electronic signatures can speed up process:
Scenario 1.Send contract to client by email. The client prints, signs and sends paper document back to you. Total time: minimum 3-5 days.
Scenario 2.As part of an automated workflow, you email a contract to a customer to be digitally signed via TSP. The client views and signs document with an electronic signature, after which document is automatically sent to you for processing. Total time: a few minutes.5. Electronic forms increase efficiency of your process
Electronic forms collect information important for various business processes, including contract management. Greater impact is achieved when web forms are combined with automated workflows and integrated with back-end systems. Your business can move away from paper forms, PDFs and manual data entry and replace them with accurate and convenient online forms.
For example, using electronic forms, you can easily create contract templates and use version control to ensure that your employees always use latest version. You can simplify, improve, and speed up collection of data, not only is it immediately available to everyone on any device, but forms provide data structure so that they can be used to automate flow of information.6. Integration with Outlook and Microsoft Office eliminates time-consuming inbox searches and improves collaboration.
Document management is integrated with tools used by legal and purchasing departments (Microsoft Office and Microsoft Outlook). This feature automatically places emails and attachments in right folders so you don't have to do time-consuming searching in your inbox. You can archive only emails, only attachments, or both. You can set up workflows to submit contracts to a searchable folder that can be accessed by any member of your team with permissions.
Real-time collaboration on Microsoft Office documents (Word, Excel, and PowerPoint) takes your team to next level of collaboration. These documents can be edited directly in Microsoft Office for web so colleagues can work together on documents in real time. Editing is much faster as there is no longer a need to upload documents and then upload them after editing is complete.