What Does Contract Management Mean? - ENGINEERING MANAGEMENT

Contract management or contract administration is the management of contracts made with customers, vendors, partners, or employees. Th...

What Does Contract Management Mean?


Contract management or contract administration is the management of contracts made with customers, vendors, partners, or employees. The personnel involved in contract administration required to negotiate, support and manage effective contracts are often expensive to train and retain. 
Contract management includes negotiating the terms and conditions in contracts and ensuring compliance with the terms and conditions, as well as documenting and agreeing on any changes or amendments that may arise during its implementation or execution. It can be summarized as the process of systematically and efficiently managing contract creation, execution, and analysis for the purpose of maximizing financial and operational performance and minimizing risk.

Common commercial contracts include employment letters, sales invoices, purchase orders, and utility contracts. Complex contracts are often necessary for construction projects, goods or services that are highly regulated, goods or services with detailed technical specifications, intellectual property (IP) agreements, outsourcing and international trade. Most larger contracts require the effective use of contract management software to aid administration among multiple parties.
A study has found that for "42% of enterprises...the top driver for improvements in the management of contracts is the pressure to better assess and mitigate risks" and additionally,"nearly 65% of enterprises report that contract lifecycle management (CLM) has improved exposure to financial and legal risk."
During the post-award phase, it is important to ensure that contract conditions and terms are met, but it is also critical to take a closer look for items such as unrecorded liabilities, under-reported revenue or overpayments. If these items are overlooked, margin may be negatively impacted. A contract compliance audit will often commence with an opportunity review to identify the highest risk areas. Having a dedicated contract compliance (and/or governance) program in place has been shown to result in a typical recovery of 2-4% and sometimes as high as 20%.
Current thinking about contract management in complex relationships is shifting from a compliance “management” to a “governance” perspective, with the focus on creating a governance structure in which the parties have a vested interest in managing what are often highly complex contractual arrangements in a more collaborative, aligned, exible, and credible way. In 1979, Nobel laureate Oliver Williamson wrote that the governance structure is the “framework within which the integrity of a transaction is decided.” He further added that “because contracts are varied and complex, governance structures vary with the nature of the transaction.”

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