Contract Guides: The Key to a Smooth Contract Implementation

A good contract guide

Congratulations! You have had a successful sourcing event! Now, proper fulfillment of the contract is crucial to realizing the full value garnered through the procurement process. Understanding the legal terms of a contract and how they translate into the real-world delivery of goods and services can be challenging and time consuming. One solution to aid the hand-off from procurement to the business unit is creating a clear contract guide to reduce the ambiguity.

A good contract guide can simplify an otherwise confusing document with a few key elements:

  • Section Number: Major section numerical identifier
  • Document Page Number: On which page the section is located within the document
  • Section Description: A very brief overview of the section in simplified, non-legal language describing the purpose and/or impact of the section on the business arrangement
  • Key Words (optional): Any number of key words that may help in searching the guide for applicable entries
  • Section Notes: Any additional information that may be useful to the business unit
  • Master Contract References (for Attachments and Exhibits only): The section number of the main contract clause which governs a clause in an attachment

Translating each major section and subsection into simpler language

When appropriate, this allows the business managers to have a quick and easy reference guide to understand how each section of the contract and scope of work impacts their operations and finances. When a question about the contract inevitably arises, it will be nearly effortless for the business manager to use a well-written contract guide to find the section of the contract in question and understand its implications.

Training business managers on a new contract

This can be a challenge not only for the business unit but for the procurement and legal teams responsible for the training. A well-written contract guide also dramatically simplifies the training and education process by functioning as a clear and ready-made agenda for your implementation training sessions. Business units are much more apt to engage with the clear, table or chart-like format of a contract guide than the often dense and complex text of a lengthy contract. They won’t only be able to better understand the contract, they’ll also be much more likely to identify areas where they need clarification. It’s a true win-win for trainer and trainee alike.

The next time you are looking down the barrel of a complex contract implementation, consider taking the time to create a well-written contract guide to make sure your  sourcing work hits its value targets and continues to build up your credibility as a trusted partner within your company or with your clients.

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