Productivity is the thing for which we strive in business, and with good reason. It is the measure by which we assess the performance of our commercial enterprise, and is fundamentally our rate of output in relation to the number of hours worked by staff. Depending on the nature of your business, that output might be services or products, but it is always linked directly to profits, shareholder returns, and growth.
Productivity is vital because it makes tangible improvements to the financial status of the business. However, productivity is also a balancing act and can be difficult to achieve. It requires innovation, a synergistic approach, and a clear understanding of the relationship between productivity and efficiency. While productivity is focused on increasing the output of a business, efficiency is focused on decreasing the input - meaning the efforts of your workforce – to achieve the same end result. Productivity increases profit, while efficiency makes savings. So, although productivity and efficiency are two different things, one can make a significant contribution to the other, and both will impact your bottom line.
Reviewing your systems and processes
Achieving both efficiency and productivity begins with your systems and processes. Every organization runs on systems and processes - from the payroll to the sorting of the mail; from the onboarding of new clients to the ongoing management of contracts. While your business might now operate in a very different way to when it first launched – having grown and adapted to lessons learned and market shifts – your systems and processes may have remained largely the same. Overall growth can be gradual, and your systems and processes may have simply been expanded or extended incrementally, over time.
This is how growing organizations can find themselves still managing their most important documentation with systems such as spreadsheets. This is also the area in which increased efficiency can have the biggest impact on productivity. Conducting a comprehensive review of the systems and processes used by your business will reveal opportunities for increased efficiency, if they are viewed in the context of streamlining and effective management, with your Contracts Management System at the core of operations.
Regardless of whether you have historically focused your efficiency efforts on your contracts, these documents are at the core of your operation. They relate to every department, from Human Resources to Sales and Procurement, and they govern all aspects of your enterprise. They are also the area of your business with the most untapped commercial potential. Each contract relates to productivity or efficiency because they each contain opportunities for either new or further sales, or the chance to make savings through renegotiation. Reviewing your systems and processes with this in mind makes it clear that any push for increased productivity should be centered on your Contracts Management System if it is to be as successful as possible.
How to increase productivity through efficiency in your Contract Management System
So, you’ve conducted a comprehensive review of your systems and processes and learned that efficiency and a focus on your Contracts Management System as the core of your operation is the key. Now, how do you institute greater efficiency and progress to increased productivity in real terms?
If efficiency is about reducing the input, or efforts of your workforce, then it is clear that your Contracts Management Systems must be streamlined. Having each department operating as essentially separate entities, managing their own contracts and documentation, is how details are missed, and work is duplicated. Integrating these systems is the way forward and, since merging spreadsheets across departments is impractical, your spreadsheets must be ditched in favor of centralized software.
Moving from older, less efficient methods of contract management to a Contract Management Software package will ensure that your business journey to increased productivity is smooth and swift. This is because Contract Management Software is specifically designed to increase efficiency, optimize your documentation systems, and create actionable data.
- Standardization – Centralising your contracts documentation allows you to create a library of standardized templates and clauses, which ensures that all staff are working with the same, current versions of information, and are operating within your agreed corporate policies. In addition to ensuring compliance, this feature speeds up the process of contract creation, allowing for shorter project timescales, and faster delivery.
- Transparency – Audit trails are created with the organization-wide transparency that is facilitated by a centralized Contracts Management System. This also builds greater cohesion between departments, optimizing workflow, and increasing efficiency.
- Instant, secure access – Cohesion and speed throughout the organization is further enhanced by instant, secure access delivered by the browser-based platform of Contract Management Software. Both remote-working staff and your office-based workforce can access up-to-the-minute documentation pertaining to ongoing projects, while new contracts can be created, securely, and on-the-go, from any internet-connected device.
- Multi-language, locale, and currency – Commercial enterprise that involves multiple territories can be streamlined and made more efficient with Contract Management Software that supports multiple languages and currencies. This is also vital for enabling the management of multi-territory contracts and projects, in terms of meeting varied compliance and regulatory requirements.
- Integration – The best Contract Management Software packages enable comprehensive and thorough integration with different systems from various departments, in recognition of the principle that your contracts should be at the core of your operation, as they relate to all areas of your business.
- Customizable reporting – The key to unlocking the productivity potential of the whole of your contract system is in customizable reporting because this is the feature that delivers actionable data. This feature can be tailored to the specifics of your business as it is now, and can be altered as your enterprise grows. It can be used to gain detailed insight into market trends and consumer behaviors, which can then be used to anticipate client needs and further enhance your customer relations. Customized reporting enables tighter control of contract lifecycles and issues of compliance. When used in an optimal way, it can also generate further sales leads.
The whole package
Your goal in business is to constantly find ways to improve the financial status of your enterprise and, while productivity is the sometimes elusive trophy we seek, it is actually only half of that equation. The very best results, in terms of the bottom line, are achieved through a combination of efficiency and productivity-enhancing measures; by making savings, while also increasing output. In that respect, Contract Management Software is the whole package.
Full integration of the Right Contract Management Software system with your organizational structure will increase efficiency, making savings for your business in a number of ways.
- A high degree of automation reduces the effort needed from your workforce in performing administrative tasks, saving time, and allowing for staff to be more efficiently deployed.
- Automation, centralized access, and electronic signatures speed up project timescales, reducing project costs.
- Digital storage reduces the costs involved in paper-based filing systems, including equipment and property.
- Secure, browser-based access means employees can create contracts while on the road, speeding up the initial phases of a project, and reducing staff expenses in terms of both travel and time.
- Closer monitoring of contract performance allows you to ‘cut out the deadwood,’ by terminating non-productive agreements that might otherwise be subject to the automatic renewal.
- Tighter control of contract lifecycles, along with improvements to customer relations, mitigates and reduces the types of risk that can involve costly legal fees, and the need to incur expenses that are otherwise unnecessary.
- Effective contract lifecycle management provides the opportunity to renegotiate those contracts that are due for renewal, providing the opportunity to make further savings.
The right Contract Management Software System will also increase productivity, and generate profit for your business in a number of ways:
- Closer monitoring of contract dates and milestones means project turnarounds can be quicker, enabling your business to increase its rate of completion and its onboarding of new clients.
- Tighter control of those agreements involving Intellectual Property can produce multiple, new opportunities for revenue generation.
- Closer monitoring of the contact base of your business reveals new opportunities for sales.
- Improved and enhanced customer relations can generate new business.
- The adoption of effective Contract Management Software can attract new business, in and of itself, due to the reputational boost it provides. It demonstrates to potential clients that your business takes seriously its obligations with regard to compliance, governance, customer relations, and its commitment to growth.
Contract Management Software, such as Symfact, combines the commercial power of efficiency and productivity, to deliver a single product that improves the financial status of your business. Rather than adhering to the concept of efficiency contributing to productivity for a self-limiting end financial result, the software sits at the intersection of the two – blending them to create revenue opportunities that can increase at an exponential rate. Perhaps most importantly, fully customizable Contract Management Software can then be continually tailored to match the needs of your business, as it continues to grow and succeed.