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Contract Lifecycle Management for a Large Packaging Distributor

 

Related Industry:

Manufacturing
 
Client Success

After nearly a year of working with the new contract management system and technology solutions, the company’s CFO remarked how much he appreciated Husch Blackwell’s proactive posture as a “value-added supplier.”

Summary

In the first quarter of 2017, Husch Blackwell approached one of its clients, a national leader in innovative packaging solutions, with a proposal to streamline their contract management process. Our Legal Project Management and Strategic Pricing Team developed a scoping statement that detailed a new approach to manage the overall contract lifecycle, including:

  • The CFO and sales personnel would communicate directly with a paralegal at Husch Blackwell according to a standard set of protocols regarding contract edits, revisions to the company’s standard templates and new contracts derived from those templates.
  • Husch Blackwell’s paralegal would perform a quality assurance check on proposed contracts, complete party names, dates and other administrative information and make various revisions as requested by the client, then circulate the contracts to the appropriate client personnel for review and signature, tracking the status of such contracts in the firm’s extranet portal.
  • Upon initiation of the process, Husch Blackwell would load the client’s existing, executed contracts into the portal, based on the company’s manner of organizing agreements, and profile agreements to capture key metadata.
  • On an on-going basis Husch Blackwell’s paralegal would load additional contracts by category when signed, monitor termination, renewal and notice dates, alert the appropriate stakeholders and secure the required information to provide notice. 

Husch Blackwell attorneys would continue to handle substantive contract review for nonstandard, complex agreements and where considerable negotiation may be required.

Approach

Husch Blackwell proposed the contract management services as a monthly flat fee for the first year with the option to reassess the services and discuss appropriate pricing after the initial term. The annual flat fee option provided a predictable and cost-effective solution to the company’s needs and saved the client the expense of hiring another full-time employee. The client also invited Husch Blackwell to their company headquarters to better understand the current process flow and identify the types of issues that arise during day-to-day operations. The onsite visit focused on the company’s historical and current process and the root causes for delays and gaps in the process.The team also discussed how success would be defined on a short-term and long-term basis. 

Solutions
 
Following the onsite meeting, the Husch Blackwell team reviewed the key points and mapped out the standard features for the client’s contract management process. Each touchpoint was aligned to the right resource so that contracts were handled efficiently based on the level of risk to the company. These observations strengthened the firm’s conviction that moving to a standard process and using modern technology would genuinely make an improvement.

To create a central repository for all the client’s contracts, Husch Blackwell deployed its portal technologies based on Microsoft SharePoint and layers of third-party software that enhanced navigation-enabled content synchronization and customization of the user interface. The team designed the portal based on the way the company organized its agreements and the nomenclature the company used in its internal communications. Due to the system’s architecture, the Husch Blackwell team could handle the volume of contracts because lower-cost resources could file and profile documents to the portal in a single step.

Husch Blackwell’s legal team turned to Kira Systems machine learning software to help efficiently identify information still needed from older agreements. The tools within the Kira System allowed the team to go beyond the initial scope and efficiently identify expired agreements, duplicates, contracts with non-conforming governing law provisions, and agreements that lacked complete signatures.

Results

After nearly a year of working with the new contract management system and technology solutions, the company’s CFO remarked how much he appreciated Husch Blackwell’s proactive posture as a “value-added supplier.” It is important to note that these changes required a team effort and a desire to completely understand the problem and the consistent application of new protocols over time. By working together and experiencing the benefits of a more streamlined process, the client was able to move its contracting forward.  

Professionals:

Kevin Bielawski, MBA, PMP, ALPP

Director of Legal Project Management & Strategic Pricing

Lann Wasson, PMP

Associate Director of Legal Project Management

Vickie Sims

Senior Paralegal