While procuring goods and services to complete work for clients is a critical component of any business, it’s also one that can leave a lot of room for errors, inconsistencies, delays, revenue loss, and even legal issues. That’s why it’s important for businesses to have a clear and streamlined contract procurement process in place.
But before you can make the contract management procurement process faster and more efficient, you’ll first need to evaluate all the steps that go into the acquirement of goods and services for your business. Those may include some or all of the following:
Evaluating and selecting vendors
Negotiating contract terms
Generating a purchase order
Taking delivery of goods or services
Receiving and paying invoices
Maintaining meticulous records in case of internal or external audits
So, where to begin? Let’s look at some of the basics of contract management procurement processes and how you can standardize and speed up the process.
1. Automate manual processes to minimize mistakes
One of the best ways to improve your contract procurement process is to automate it as much as possible. Having a system that allows contract managers to receive automatic notifications of what needs to be completed in the procurement process is one aspect of this. It also removes the potential for overlooking critical steps due to human error or omission.
Adopting a platform that allows you to eSign contracts is another way to streamline the contract procurement process. By digitizing the process of ratifying agreements for goods or services through eSignatures, you’re eliminating manual steps like printing and scanning while reducing the risk of human error—like signing the wrong field or missing a signature altogether.
2. Streamline collaboration
Often contract management procurement processes require a lot of back-and-forth communication between your internal stakeholders and external suppliers. Maybe you send your vendor a contract, but they want to change some of the language or pricing. You can avoid a lot of paper shuffling by employing PDF editing software that allows both you and your vendor to annotate, edit, and share documents securely.
3. Offer process visibility
Given the number of steps involved in contract procurement processes, it’s easy to overlook or even forget critical components in getting a contract signed. That’s where more process visibility can help. Many platforms that allow you to create, edit, sign, and share contract documents, can also help you track workflows. You can track a contract’s progress, receive notifications when a vendor has signed a contract, send a reminder when someone hasn’t, and set document viewing or editing capabilities.
4. Ensure user adoption
Any effort to streamline your contract management procurement process is only as good as the rate of adoption by your team members. Change management is a challenge for IT departments everywhere, but you can overcome it by adopting contract procurement platforms that are easy to use with interfaces and integrations that match systems you may already have in place like Microsoft 365.
Further, you’ll want to work with a team of change makers willing to engage proactively with your employees to address pain points in the adoption process and provide 24/7 troubleshooting support.