Contract managers fulfill an extremely critical role within a business. Not only must they aid the company in acquiring and managing its resources, but they must also ensure that contracts are designed with the company's best interests in mind. Frequently, they must negotiate with external resources and third-parties, and they need to keep thorough records and documentation regarding these negotiations. Contract managers will often work closely with financial and risk management departments, and they will become the first point of contact when it comes to relationships with outside vendors and clients.
Developing Legally Protected and Economically Beneficial Contracts
In addition to understanding the way that the business operates, contract managers generally need to have both education and experience. A contract manager will need to understand contract administration, cost and price analysis, and contract law; it's a field that involves both legal and economic studies. Many contract managers will then work under the tutelage of a mentor for some time, until they are able to develop, modify, and manage contracts on their own. For many businesses, quite a lot is at stake through their contract negotiations. Consequently, the standards for training are quite rigorous.
Communicating With Third-Party Vendors and Clients
In addition to creating and negotiating contracts, it's also the contract manager's responsibility to ensure that these contracts are fulfilled. This includes both fulfillment on the company's side and on the side of the third party. In order to achieve this, contract managers must be able to move swiftly and communicate well. They will need to ensure that the company is on task and able to deliver what is promised, in addition to troubleshooting any issues that come from outside vendors. Increasingly, contract management is becoming an all-inclusive, holistic field that includes all aspects of contract development, ranging from initial acquisition to complete fulfillment.
Not Always a One Size Fits All Solution
The definition of a contract manager can be somewhat nebulous, as contract managers tend to be responsible for and control different elements of a business depending on industry. Contract managers within the retail sector may be vastly different in terms of knowledge and experience to contract managers within the construction industry. Because of this, there is usually very little lateral movement for contract managers; contract managers must foremost be experts within the field. Acquiring contract management services rather than attempting to develop a contract manager from within is often beneficial to a business, as they can tap the expertise of highly-skilled personnel who are knowledgeable about the intricacies of their industry.
Acquisition and contract management is rapidly becoming even more important to the modern business. Many businesses are increasingly outsourcing many of their operations and resources in an effort to streamline their own operations. Throughout this process, acquisition and contract managers are the ones who will be able to adequately protect the company from any potential issues with other involved parties. Strategy and Management Services, Inc. offers complete acquisition and contract management services, with a full acquisition lifecycle and contract closeout support.