Shaving one week off time to signature
As a multinational corporation, Merck often has employees from different offices and countries that need to collaborate and work together. Having these separate locations could often lengthen delays for workflows involving paper documents. For example, procurement contracts generally needed at least two signatures: one from a manager in the department making the purchase, and one from the procurement department.
This process required printing out a copy of the contract and mailing it to a line manager at another campus. The manager would then sign the contract and put it back in the mail for approval from the procurement department at another office. There were many chances for delays as documents might get lost in the mail or sit unopened on a busy manager’s desk.
Adobe Acrobat Sign introduced a seamless digital workflow that has reduced the average time for signature for procurement contracts from 7.5 days to just half a day. Part of the speed and ease of use comes from various integrations with available business solutions.
Procurement employees can trigger the contract signature workflow in just a few clicks from the dashboard. Completed agreements are stored digitally, which makes it much easier and less costly to store and retrieve past records. Now if agents need to recheck the exact terms of a contract, they simply log in to Adobe Acrobat Sign instead of needing to travel to an offsite storage facility.
A next step will be to implement an integration between Adobe Acrobat Sign and procurement software from SAP Ariba.
“Using the standard APIs in Adobe Acrobat Sign, we can integrate Adobe Acrobat Sign with tools and systems that we already use,” says Rahul Jain, Project Manager Business Technology R&D at Merck. “Users can initiate and monitor electronic signatures from software that they’ve been using for years instead of trying to jump to a new solution. This improves ease of use and productivity for our employees without needing to train people on a completely new solution.”
The contract signature process is equally simple for contract recipients. Signers receive an email containing a link that allows them to view and sign the document from any device, even mobile phones.
By reducing the time to signature for procurement contracts, Merck can place orders with suppliers faster. This reduces delays and helps to prevent waits for time-critical orders.
“Before Adobe Acrobat Sign, there was really no way to speed up the signature workflow because we relied on mail and the postal system was out of our hands,” says Metzger. “With Adobe Acrobat Sign, we have more control over the end to end process. We can track the status of a document in the workflow and automate or send reminder emails to the signer with a few clicks, and dramatically reduce delays in procurement.”
Merck is aiming to complete 5,000 procurement transactions in its first year after implementing Adobe Acrobat Sign. This includes non-disclosure agreements, master service agreements, and service contracts, which can be 15 pages long. Eliminating the need to print such volumes of paper has already produced a significant environmental impact, saving an estimated 2,000 kg of wood and 53,000 liters of water in eight months.*