How Contract Management Software Helps Manufacturing Firms Improve Efficiency

Ongoing supply chain challenges and labor shortages—coupled with an increased push for sustainability—are among many changes the manufacturing sector is navigating. These changes are only accelerating manufacturers’ transition to digital operations as they seek ways to become more agile and efficient in their everyday operations. More than three-quarters of manufacturers agree that modern technologies will play an important role in the future of the industry.

The role modern tools play in revitalizing the sector go beyond assembly lines and into operational strategies. They’re helping manufacturers respond quicker to market changes and customer priorities. Contract management solutions including electronic signatures and contract lifecycle management (CLM) are creating efficiencies by streamlining and simplifying common processes.

In this blog we cover some of the key benefits contract management solutions offer to help manufacturers navigate changes and improve agility and efficiency.

Streamlining contract processes

Contract management solutions can help manufacturers centralize and streamline full end-to-end agreement and procurement processes to save time, control costs, decrease risks and increase visibility into the full contract lifecycle. Common examples include:

  • Labor and service contracting
  • End-of-service contracts
  • Distribution agreements
  • Outsourcing manufacturing agreements
  • Non-disclosure agreements
  • Employee contract agreements

Close contracts faster

Contract lifecycle management (CLM) solutions accelerate the contract process so deals close sooner, expediting the time to revenue. A Forrester Total Economic Impact study commissioned by Docusign found that organizations who use CLM saw an 83% percent reduction in contract process time.

Before working with Docusign, globally distributed teams at Unilever got agreements done with a mix of office applications, email, printing, scanning, faxing, and phone follow-ups. Given Unilever’s scale and its global scope, the cost and time necessary to do this work was significant. 

To help digitally transform procurement contracting, Unilever collaborated with Docusign. Using Docusign CLM, Unilever was able to increase speed throughout the contracting process for spend portfolios that were previously not integrated into a contract management workflow.

With Unilever's Smarter Contracting initiative, average contract completion time has been cut in half. And in an early pilot launched in India, the Smarter Contracting platform reduced contract drafting times by 80 percent.

Reduce costs

The manufacturing industry is known for being labor-intensive, but until recently it was also heavy on paperwork. Electronic signatures can help reduce the costs associated with printing and shipping paper contracts for signature, as well as the employee time spent managing these manual processes.

Improve agility

The benefits of going digital include improved agility in the form of smoother onboarding processes, streamlined safety policies and more reliable recordkeeping.

Increase visibility

Electronically signed documents—including contracts, proof of work completion and shipping agreements—are stored in a central, searchable repository. This gives remote, hybrid and in-office employees the same visibility and access to important and time-sensitive documents, including:

  • Bills of lading
  • Contracts for manufacturing individual parts
  • Design and part change agreements

Accelerate hiring and onboarding

Manufacturers are using electronic signatures to speed up the overall procurement cycle for hiring industry and vendor experts, as well as automate and digitize processes for streamlining all employee, contractor and vendor onboarding. Use cases include:

  • Background checks
  • Policy handbooks
  • Workplace safety sign-offs
  • Collecting and signing employee forms

Support legal and compliance efforts

Contract management solutions help standardize the contract process to support legal and compliance efforts. The right CLM solution can pull and share data directly from other systems of record, reducing errors and discrepancies. Legal teams can minimize risk by creating preapproved clauses to help other departments be more self-sufficient. A central, searchable contract repository makes it easier to locate and analyze risks and obligations in contracts.

A modern, digital system of agreement supports a wide range of required compliance forms, including common documents such as:

  • Part 11
  • FDA
  • EPA
  • ISO 1009

To maintain competitiveness and agility in an ever-evolving landscape, the modern manufacturer must address its foundational systems, eliminating process bottlenecks and seeking greater efficiency and automation within every critical function.

Learn more about Docusign solutions for manufacturers, or sign up for a free trial to experience the benefits for yourself.