Ingredients for digital contract efficiency.
Novozymes speeds business growth and on-boards critical talent faster using Adobe Sign.
Reduce contractual complexity for legal and HR teams
Improve the service experience for customers, partners, employees, and new recruits
Increase the acceptance of e-signatures among traditional customers
Achieve legal and regulatory compliance
Reduce paper consumption and postal cost
Delivers fast and compliant contract signature workflows
Reduces contract completion time by more than 93%, helping to fill vital roles faster
Streamlines onboarding process for new recruits
Reduces administrative workload, freeing HR to source critical talent
“Adobe Sign delivers speed and efficiency to our contract management workflow. Implementation of Adobe Sign saves us time, and once people try it, they don’t want to go back to a wet ink signature.”
Claus Michael Andersen
Senior Manager, Legal Department, Novozymes
Advancing business globally
Enzymes were discovered by Bronze Age people who found that they could use them to turn milk into cheese. Homer, too, espoused enzymes’ magical capabilities. Today, these natural proteins act as catalysts in the manufacturing of everyday products such as sugar, beer, bread, ethanol, and detergents.
Novozymes, based near Copenhagen, Denmark, is the world’s largest enzyme producer. Around the world, industrial businesses rely on the company’s biological solutions as a key ingredient in their products.
To deal with the increasing scale and complexity of its global business, and to increase efficiencies, Novozymes launched an initiative to digitalize its operational processes. Part of this strategy involved the implementation of electronic signatures for contracts.
Tackling contractual complexity
Across the company, Novozymes employees were spending increasing amounts of time creating up to 3,000 contacts per year related to sales agreements, legal matters, HR and employee onboarding, procurement, and intercompany business. At the same time, production costs—including high Danish postage rates, paper, ink, and printing equipment—were rising substantially.
“The business case was compelling,” says Claus Michael Andersen, Senior Manager, Legal Department at Novozymes. “We knew that if we could digitalize our signing processes, we could boost operational and cost efficiency while improving the service experience for customers, partners, employees, and new recruits.”
Novozymes decided to move to a fully digital document workflow based on Adobe Sign, the e-signature solution in Adobe Document Cloud. The company selected Adobe Sign because it was more intuitive than other e-signature solutions the company tested, and the tracking capabilities and audit trails would enable Novozymes to comply with regulations.
“It was easy to win acceptance for Adobe Sign across our lines of business,” says Andersen. “We were already using other Adobe solutions—including Acrobat DC, Photoshop, Captivate, and Creative Cloud—within the company, which gave us the confidence we needed.”
“Once you sign in an Adobe Sign workflow, you won’t want to use the cumbersome wet ink signature process again.”
Claus Michael Andersen
Senior Manager, Legal Department, Novozymes
Creating legal efficiencies
Adobe Sign was deployed in Novozymes’ legal department for the creation of contracts such as confidentiality and distribution agreements. With most of Novozymes’ customers consisting of B2B organizations, the protection of trade secrets is of paramount importance to the company.
Historically, completing legal contracts was a long, complicated process. Novozymes’ workflow manager would print, sign, scan, and send a 2- to 120-page draft contract to a customer or partner who then had to repeat the steps. Many of these contracts also required multiple signatures, often by people in different countries, which added time and logistical complexity to the process.
Today, using Adobe Sign, Novozymes has resolved these challenges. The solution allows the legal department to electronically send and track approximately 300 contracts per year, to multiple signees across geographies. Completion time has been significantly reduced, errors minimized, and compliance requirements met. Helpful, automated reminders keep the process on-track, while robust security helps ensure the confidentiality of information. Additionally, the small size of the Adobe Sign files—compared with the larger sizes of the previous, scanned documents—facilitates faster downloads from Novozymes’ case management system, improving the flow of information between the teams involved in a multi-country contract.
Adobe Sign also helps Novozymes tackle a cultural issue. Many of the company’s industrial customers still prefer traditional, paper-based contracts. Depending on the size or significance of a contract, the signing process might even involve a formal signing ceremony, with multiple people present. Yet, Novozymes also has an increasing number of customers who prefer the speed and efficiency of digital workflows. This means the company must cater to both audiences while giving all customers the opportunity to go digital when they are ready.
“Once you sign in an Adobe Sign workflow, you won’t want to use the cumbersome wet ink signature process again,” says Andersen. “There’s no better educational tool for us to gain acceptance for e-signatures than doing a demonstration of how fast and easy the process is.”
Onboarding new talent faster
In Novozymes’ HR department, Adobe Sign is used to facilitate the signing of approximately 1,000 employment contracts per year across Europe, the Middle East, and Africa. Many of these are for university graduates who assist with the large volumes of research Novozymes conducts every year.
The first step in confirming a job candidate is an offer letter, which is signed by company representatives and sent to the prospect for a signature. Before Adobe Sign, returned documents were often poorly scanned, rendering the signature illegible, and requiring the process to be started again. Once an offer letter was signed, a contract was issued. Because contract templates vary per country, retrieving the right one would take time. Once the correct contract was identified, there was a two-step signing process. First, the HR team had to locate a power of attorney to sign on behalf of the company. Then, candidates were asked to physically come to the office to sign. Depending on a person’s availability, completion could take up to a month.
Through the automated workflow of Adobe Sign, contract completion has now decreased to an average of two days—a reduction of more than 93%—with some completed in minutes, helping to fill vital job roles faster. The HR team has even placed its trust in Adobe Sign with electronic signing in Switzerland, where courts often require physical wet ink signatures. Tracking features help HR staff see whether or not candidates have opened their files, allowing them to send a reminder. Additionally, finalized contracts no longer require time-intensive manual filing as they are stored electronically.
“Adobe Sign freed time previously spent administering contracts to allow us to focus on hiring and supporting employees throughout the company. The automated process creates a better first impression among data scientist candidates and new employees who expect innovation and immediacy.”
Anne Agergaard Pøhls
Talent Attraction and Recruitment Specialist, Novozymes
Freeing time for higher-value support
The efficiencies of Adobe Sign are relieving stress and the administrative burden for the HR team at Novozymes. They now spend less time at their desks and more time proactively scouting for talent and helping employees in the field.
“Adobe Sign freed time previously spent administering contracts to allow us to focus on hiring and supporting employees throughout the company,” says Anne Agergaard Pøhls, Talent Attraction and Recruitment Specialist at Novozymes. “The automated process creates a better first impression among data scientist candidates and new employees who expect innovation and immediacy.”
Transformation across the business
Adobe Sign has been used to complete 1,400 workflows since its deployment. Based on its success, the solution is additionally being used for sourcing contracts and intercompany agreements.
A strong validation of the effectiveness of Adobe Sign is the fact that senior leaders aren’t questioning the solution’s value or asking for proof of return on investment, which they typically do for most company-wide IT deployments.
“Adobe Sign delivers speed and efficiency to our contract management workflow. Implementation of Adobe Sign saves us time, and once people try it, they don’t want to go back to a wet ink signature,” concludes Andersen.