Regular audits, data protection requirements, spontaneous requests or successful deadline management are the order of the day in a contract-intensive branch like the pharmaceutical industry. Finding the affected agreements quickly is a basic prerequisite for the efficient management of the associated challenges. Therefore, as part of the digitization strategy, the management of URSAPHARM Arzneimittel GmbH commissioned a long-time employee to introduce a digital contract management system. In the process, the in-depth corporate knowledge of Uwe Pfeiffer, who has been with the company for almost 36 years, proved to be an extremely helpful and favorable factor in the implementation.
In an interview with Robin Schmeisser, CEO of Fabasoft International Services GmbH, Uwe Pfeiffer, Contract Manager at URSAPHARM, provides insight into contract management at the German pharmaceutical manufacturer and reports on his experiences with the software.
Mr. Pfeiffer, you worked in the company's export department for a long time. Now you are driving the digitization of contract management internally. How did that come about?
In export, I was able to open up many markets for our products over the years, which my younger colleagues are now continuing very successfully. I wanted to start something new again for URSAPHARM that would allow me to contribute my knowledge of the many interrelationships in our Group and our contractual partners.
What was the reason for digitizing contract management?
For the management, the handling of contracts and deadlines or dates as well as the monitoring of business potentials and risks was important. Especially with regard to regular audits, the quick finding of agreements as well as one hundred percent transparency and traceability (keyword "evidence") are indispensable. Simple Microsoft SharePoint applications or physical repositories reach their limits here.
Why did you decide on Fabasoft Contracts, and what features did the smart contract management software score particularly well with?
When used to its full extent, Fabasoft Contracts will enable all parties involved to collaborate easily, quickly and paperlessly on the path from the idea to the signature and subsequent management of a contract. Security was also a decisive criterion for us, above all protected access through two-factor authentication. Structured workflows along the contract lifecycle, integrated deadline management, versioning, and the well thought-out rights and roles concept were particularly convincing to us. The modern user interface in different languages was another plus point.
What is your current focus when using Fabasoft Contracts?
At the moment, we use Fabasoft Contracts primarily for digitizing and archiving existing contracts in the cloud. Thanks to the single source of truth, the employees from the departments can access all the agreements they are entitled to themselves, which makes work much easier for everyone involved. In total, we currently manage around 9,000 documents (contracts, amendments, other related documents) in the software, including NDAs, approval, sales, vigilance and quality assurance agreements.
What improvements have you been able to achieve so far by using the smart contract management software?
The semantic full-text search significantly speeds up our document research. Finding a contract no longer depends on the knowledge of a single person. Users have access to the entire archive within the scope of their authorizations - and this is completely independent of time and location.
What further steps are you planning in terms of the digitization strategy with Fabasoft Contracts?
The next step will be to digitize the review, release and approval processes for automated contract creation. This includes template and clause management, as well as electronic signatures. Here we will start with NDAs: This type of contract is the most common, involves few areas in the creation process and thus requires a simple, end-to-end workflow. Little effort results in great benefits here.
Finally, what current challenges do you see for legal departments in general, and why do you recommend smart contract management?
Across industries, we are seeing a progressive scarcity of resources in companies more than ever before. In addition, there are regular changes in legislation that lead to an increasing number and complexity of agreements. One example of this is the GDPR, which is a veritable "feast for lawyers". These framework conditions make it increasingly difficult to keep track of the contract portfolio with manual effort. Used consistently, Fabasoft Contracts leads to more structure as well as better and faster availability and adaptation or maintenance of roles, authorizations and contracts. The software meets our expectations in terms of up-to-date contract creation and management that complies with all regulatory and corporate requirements.
"Used to its fullest, Fabasoft Contracts will enable all parties to collaborate easily, quickly and paperlessly on the journey from idea to signature and subsequent management of a contract." - Uwe Pfeiffer
URSAPHARM Arzneimittel GmbH is an internationally operating, medium-sized pharmaceutical company that has established itself as a market leader in Germany and is one of the leading suppliers in Europe due to its broad and high-quality product range in the field of "dry eye" treatment. Since its foundation in 1974, URSAPHARM has been a guarantor for the consistent transfer of innovative pharmaceutical concepts into successful drugs and medical products. The company, which is headquartered in Saarbrücken and has ten foreign subsidiaries, employs around 800 people and has cooperation agreements with distribution partners in over 80 countries.