18 July 2019

Process engineering and automated solutions

Our Commercial team has experience of applying process engineering principles to contracting in a way which has achieved proven cost-efficiencies as well as risk management benefits for large organisations.

By way of example, Emma Roe, the Head of the Commercial team, has previously applied this approach to re-designing the procurement process used by a national retailer during the course of an 18-month project.

This project entailed:

  • drafting new template commercial contract documents for use in different circumstances;
  • development of tailored user guides with clear negotiation parameters; and
  • associated training for the procurement team in order to adopt this entirely new procedure across the business’s purchasing units.

Our Commercial team is progressing this type of project to now make use of new technologies to further streamline the approach taken to commercial contracting. This type of software can take a simple set of questions posed to business users, for example in the sales or purchasing teams, and automatically apply the responses to an existing bespoke template document. Our lawyers can apply their drafting expertise to develop the appropriate style of bespoke template documents and associated questionnaires to produce the correct outcomes. This approach can be used throughout the supply chain, whether upwards in the supplier facing context or down-stream to customer facing scenarios.

In addition to giving consistency to managing the contract process on standard template documents, we can also use a process engineered approach to streamlining the contract review process when contracts have been provided to a client by third parties. So businesses who find themselves trading on a multitude of different forms of contract with a variety of providers, partners or customers can still benefit from applying a process mapped approach to their commercial contracts. As with the use of standardised contracts, we believe that then using automation on the form and reporting style of the contract review process and the criteria used to review contracts can greatly assist in consistency of approach, appropriate levels of risk management, transparency for business stakeholders and improved integration of external advice to internal users.

Outside the commodity and routine support, we can also provide the specialist support needed for more complex ‘special projects’, for example enabling the best utilisation of the in-house legal or commercial function by working alongside them to develop first draft documentation and support ongoing negotiation. In this way we can work seamlessly with an existing internal function to ensure a cost-efficient approach to major projects.

To discuss any of the issues addressed in this article, please contact our Commercial team.