Contract management can be a paper-heavy and time-intensive process due to excessive contract length, revisions and approval steps. In addition, contracts must be stored in an easily accessible place so that they are available for reference at any time until they expire or are renewed. Here are five reasons why a document management system is a great tool for contract management.
1. Decreased Costs
Storing contracts in an electronic repository results in decreased storage, printing and courier costs. Contracts can be shared by email or through an online web portal—eliminating the need to ship huge packets of paper. They can also be signed electronically, eliminating printing completely.
For example, Arquivo Digital manages contracts for vehicle financing in Brazil. By automating contract management, contracts can be scanned in at any location—including the depths of the Amazon jungle—and accessed immediately through an online portal.
2. Central Control
It is possible to store all versions of the same contract in one document, ensuring that the newest version is always the one being accessed and revised. Different levels of contract access can be granted to different individuals. For example, the legal counsel will be able to edit the contracts while the records manager may only be able to read the content.
For example, Fairfield Industries uses an ECM system to manage valuable contracts related to seismic equipment. The system gives the organization the ability to provide the landman with instant access to the documents he needs—while still protecting confidential information in compliance with regulations.
3. Improved Accountability
Electronic contracts stored in a repository can be accessed from any computer or mobile device. Making contracts so easily accessible leads to improved accountability over stipulations and conditions, since a contract can be viewed at any time. For example, United Road Towing scans all documents related to towed vehicles into an ECM repository and makes them available to its customers through an online portal. Customers can access the towing contract and all related documents on the same day as the tow, eliminating any confusion regarding the conditions of the tow.
4. Increased Productivity
Reviewing and approving contracts is faster when an electronic contract arrives in your email inbox rather than a hard-to-sort stack of paper delivered via a courier service. Even if the recipient is out of the office, he can review and sign the contract from a mobile device.
Automating contract management helped the Texas A&M Health Science Center decrease processing time from six to eight weeks to one to two weeks per contract. Once scanned into the ECM repository, contracts are automatically assigned to staff members according to contract type and routed to various parties for simultaneous review, eliminating bottlenecks.
5. Simplified Records Management
Electronic contract storage simplifies records management in multiple ways. Records managers can be automatically notified when a contract is close to expiration, so that they can earmark it for renewal or automatic archival.
Keeping contracts in an electronic repository also simplifies compliance with records management regulations, as appropriate retention can be applied automatically. Stewart Enterprises juggles different regulations for its contracts and facilities across the country. Storing contracts in an electronic repository allows the company to track and store documents in compliance with these regulations while still giving employees access to the documents they need to work with a client’s file.
Are you convinced that automated contract management can make your life easier? Download this free guide to get started today.