You just arrived at the office and saw 154 unanswered emails, 37 of them are marked as very important. One is from the CFO, who demands to deliver him a piece of information on the RFP proposal ASAP. He had sent it at 2: 34 am in the morning.
At the same time, the Head of Section from the Operations department is approaching your desk to say that promised delivery of goods did not happen on the contract you have negotiated and paid some fees in advance. This non-delivery is affecting the critical path of their project, and from the tone of the messenger, you can guess the safety of your employment contract.
As a problem solver (brilliant as you think), you are trying to suggest contacting the supplier to find out the reason but immediately hear in return that the supplier neither picking up the phone nor replying to the email. You are late to the planned three months ago online Vendor performance steering committee. You promised the Section head to return to him with the answer and are searching for a free spot in your calendar to find out that it is fully booked until 18: 30 PM, including lunch.
Before anyone reading this post thinks that this is an illustration of the bad day of the bad Contract Manager, please do not. The Contract Manager does play a big role for everyone in the Company. Our Suppliers, our Clients, and our Contracts define our business. When everything goes well and everyone is happy, all efforts of the Contract Manager go unnoticed. When things go wrong – and usually they do, Contract Managers come into the spotlight, blamed for non-delivery, poor quality, and extra charges.
We discussed these issues during the Contract Management training this week with Contract Managers, Contract Engineers, and Contract Administrators of KPO – Company with almost 300 mln USD in sales. It was the second time I have provided Contract management training to Karachaganak employees. The best client is a returning client, and the proof of the pudding is in eating. It was great to see Karachaganak Petroleum Operating Company booking my sessions again.
Unlike accounting and marketing, you cannot learn how to manage contracts in theory. The training is based on industry best practices cases. How to communicate with bad suppliers, what kind of questions to ask during the negotiation, and when to send a claim notification. There is a big deal of teamwork, tests, brainstorming, and games during the training – it is intense, requires attention, is engaging, fun, and never boring. At least that’s what feedback says.
And by the way, if you are rushing to that steering committee meeting – don’t. Grab a coffee. Smile and then start your day. Welcome to the Contract Management world.