Skip To Content
Introducing Deposition Insights™ - AI-Enabled Deposition Summaries Learn more

Process Improvement in Contract Management

October 24, 2023

Legal Talent Outsourcing

Process Improvement in Contract Management: Key Steps and the Role of Outsourcing

Commercial contracts are the lifeblood of corporate relationships and transactions. Yet, in many organizations, contract management remains an overlooked function, often riddled with inefficiencies that, when compounded, can hamstring a company's operational effectiveness. Improving the processes around contract management can not only save valuable resources but also enhance organizational agility. As companies look for solutions, many are now considering the power of outsourcing. This article delves into the transformative steps essential for effective contract management and how outsourcing plays a pivotal role in this journey.

The Need for Process Improvement in Contract Management

In the latter half of the 20th Century, facing intense competition and internal inefficiencies, Toyota introduced the now-renowned concept of "Kaizen" or continuous improvement. This methodology not only streamlined their processes but also made them a benchmark for manufacturing efficiency globally. Toyota understood that even the tiniest inefficiencies, when compounded, could significantly impede productivity and quality.

Today, many companies wrestle with outdated and inefficient contract management systems, much like how manufacturers once struggled with archaic production techniques.

Delays in contract management are like bottlenecks in a production line, impeding the swift flow of business transactions and causing missed opportunities. Competitors with more agile processes are closing deals and forging partnerships while others are still mired in negotiations.
Inconsistencies in contracts pose another challenge. Without a standardized approach, contracts can differ drastically in terms of content, terms, and clauses. This variability can lead to misunderstandings, legal disputes, and in some dire instances, outright breaches of agreement.

Inefficient processes often mean contract-related tasks consume more resources than necessary. These inefficiencies not only hike up costs in terms of time and money, but unforeseen contractual issues can also result in significant financial setbacks.

Beyond these operational challenges, there are broader business implications to consider. The repercussions of poor contract management can extend to lost business opportunities, substantial financial penalties in heavily regulated industries such as health care and financial services, and, in our era of instant communication, potential damage to a company's reputation.

Key Steps for Contract Process Improvement

When it comes to contract management, addressing inefficiencies and optimizing processes isn't just about implementing random changes; it necessitates a strategic approach. Below, we identify the critical steps that companies should consider to refine their contract management processes.

1. Assessment of Current Systems and Procedures

Start by critically examining existing contract management systems and procedures. With a robust assessment, companies can identify gaps and areas ripe for enhancement.

2. Identifying Bottlenecks and Areas of Improvement

In contract management, bottlenecks can severely impede business flow. By pinpointing these areas of delay or inefficiency, targeted strategies for improvement can be developed.

3. Establishing a Negotiating Playbook

Effective contract management requires a consistent approach. A playbook, which documents key aspects of contract management—from terms, to negotiation, to execution—enables this consistency, ensuring that no matter the contract or the person who is handling it, there's a clear, effective strategy in place. This standardization streamlines the process and ensures quicker decisions and improved contract outcomes.

4. Implementing Training and Development

For contract management to be effective, every team member must understand their role and responsibilities. Training programs ensure that everyone is equipped with the knowledge and skills they need. A continuous focus on training ensures the team remains adept at handling any contract scenario they face.

5. Regular Monitoring and Feedback Loops

Improvement doesn't end once changes are implemented. Continuous oversight ensures that the revamped processes are meeting the desired goals. By regularly assessing performance and making necessary adjustments, companies can ensure they stay on the path of efficiency and effectiveness.

The Advantages of Outsourcing in Contract Management

Contracts can be complex and handling them effectively requires both time and expertise. For many businesses, managing these in-house might lead to stretched resources and inconsistent results. That's where outsourcing can be a practical solution.

Think of it this way: there are teams out there that work exclusively on contracts. They've seen it all, and they know the ins and outs. By hiring them, a business can leverage this experience, ensuring contracts are managed efficiently and professionally pursuant to a playbook. This doesn't just save money by freeing up in-house teams, but also guarantees a level of quality that's consistent.

Outsourcing to a commercial contract outsourcing expert, such as Lexitas, also provides businesses with access to the latest tools and systems that can simplify and enhance contract management. Instead of investing heavily in new technologies and training in-house teams to use them, companies can tap into this ready-made expertise.

Moreover, external partners provide valuable feedback to improve processes. Through detailed reports and analytics, businesses can get a clear picture of where they stand and where improvements can be made. It's not just about getting a task done; it's about understanding how to do it better. In short, outsourcing in contract management isn't about handing off responsibilities. It's a strategic move that can help businesses operate more efficiently and make informed decisions about their contracts.
Author Image

Meron Hewis

President, Legal Talent Division

Meron Hewis is the President of the Legal Talent Outsourcing Division of Lexitas. Ms. Hewis has over 20 years of experience in legal consulting, project management, and alternative legal talent outsourcing solutions. She is a thought leader in the industry, providing unique legal solutions and designing the operations of various legal programs internationally.


Related Resources

Why Companies Need a Commercial Contracts “Playbook”


Legal Talent Outsourcing

Why Companies Need a Commercial Contracts “Playbook”

To be effective, an outsourced contract review process with an ALSP begins with an understanding of a client’s preferences for how work is performed.

Read More
Digital Manifesto: Let’s Move Beyond Old-School Contracting Processes


Legal Talent Outsourcing

Digital Manifesto: Let’s Move Beyond Old-School Contracting Processes

According to a survey conducted by Paradoxes Inc. on behalf of DocuSign, nearly 68% of legal departments say that “digitizing manual processes” is a top priority.

Read More
Keeping Commercial Contracts Compliant


Legal Talent Outsourcing

Mastering Multi-State Operations: Keeping Commercial Contracts Compliant

The constant evolution of legislative, regulatory, and legal frameworks in different states requires vigilance to ensure commercial contracts remain both relevant and compliant.

Read More