Contract managers play a critical role for an organization as they direct and oversee contracts throughout their lifecycle. Serving as the liaison between companies, employees, customers, vendors, and independent contractors means contract managers serve as the main facilitators for negotiations, recommendations, record keeping, monitoring, change management, and more. These are three key roles of a contract manager along with some best practices on how to keep everything organized so contract management is a smooth, streamlined process.
1.Oversee Contract Lifecycle Management
Contract managers cover a variety of industries from government to technology to any company that has a large number of contracts. Regardless of organization type, one consistency is that contract managers are the primary individual responsible for the creation and management of all contracts those organizations use.
To successfully oversee contracts from drafting all the way to execution, contract managers need to be skilled in numerous areas including legal compliance, negotiation, and relationship management. Contract managers often serve as the key point of contact between a business and third parties to ensure timely review and approval of any variations. They also provide recommendations and negotiate directly with customer attorneys or purchasing staff to craft a final document that is satisfactory to all parties. Streamlining communication and monitoring processes are very important for success in an organization, and having a tool that will automate processes and keep all conversations and edits in one place is key for a contract’s lifecycle and a contract manager’s efficiency.
2. Maintain Contractual Records
Good contract managers know that once a contract is signed, it is still very much an active, live document. Keeping thorough records of all documents that an organization has, even after a contract is seen through to execution, is essential for the efficiency and compliance of an organization. Record management also mitigates risk by serving as an audit trail and evidence that is easily accessible.
A contract manager should have a good filing system. In the past, this meant physical file cabinets or extensive email folders. In today’s digital world, those tools aren’t efficient enough for the rapidly increasing pace of business. Using a contract lifecycle management platform that has a comprehensive tagging and folder structure as well as OCR for easy search capabilities simplifies organization. Maintaining complete records on the entire procurement and contract administration processes helps when other departments need relevant and authorized information and is made much simpler through digitization.
Another benefit of digitization is the length of storage. In the past, as file cabinets filled up and active versus archived files were stored in different locations or folders, the management for these records was much more complicated. With a contract lifecycle management platform, all documents are stored forever—allowing a contract from decades ago to be found in mere seconds.
3. Develop and Implement Procedures and Policies
Policies and procedures ensure an organization’s vision is carried out every day through its employees. Having established procedures for anyone involved in the contract process reduces organizational expenses and increases efficiency, as well as sets precedent for decisions down the road. Having policies in place to deal with independent contractors, customers, and employees helps maintain best practices, provide a baseline for accountability expectations, and protect against legal, regulatory, and liability issues.
Keeping these policies and procedures adhered to is streamlined with a contract lifecycle management platform. Setting up templates and approval workflows solidifies and simplifies processes across an organization. Implementing access rights and organizational structure ensures all users can only see and create the right documents.
Contract managers often have hundreds to thousands of contracts they are responsible for managing, but the way contracts are managed can be optimized to make those processes more efficient. Implementing a contract lifecycle management platform is just the first step to ensure people, processes, and documents are in a single location. From there, contract managers have the power to enhance workflows, reduce manual tasks, and automate processes to work as effectively as possible with their contracts.
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