Why you need a contract management software for railroads

Creating, implementing, and maintaining an efficient contract management system that saves time and resources is a challenge that railroad professionals face on a day-to-day basis. With multiple contracts in various stages of the Contract Management Lifecycle (CML) being managed at the same time, having a rail contract management software — and a partner in place to help you purchase, implement, and utilize it — takes you several steps ahead towards remaining innovative and efficient.

A digital, contract management (CM) system empowers your railroad to increase contract velocity while remaining agile and proactively managing entitlements. In addition, you’ll be able to leverage commercial insights and intelligence. At the end of the day, a successful CM system will evaluate all the needs of your railway and provide capabilities to tackle the unique challenges related to contract management.

Let’s dive into how a digital, contract management system can address your railway company’s needs, what value it offers rail transportation, and what are the next steps you can take towards modernizing your railroad’s contract management system.

The need for contract management for railroads

Contracts are not a new concept within the railroad industry. In fact, they are at the foundation of business relationships and transactions for railroad companies. For example, functions like industrial track maintenance, rail crossing agreements, haulage, and real estate are all made possible through the creation and maintenance of contracts. They address volume commitments, rate stability, accessorial applicability, as well as detention, demurrage, and dispute resolution.

Challenges in railroad contract management

In working with Class 1 and short-line railroad companies in North America, we’ve identified some of the major challenges faced by railroads in navigating contract management.

  • Locating rates across various contracts in disparate forms, and then calculating a total shipment cost based on the contract terms.
  • Accounting for necessary items that aren’t fixed in the contract, like fuel adjustment factors that can change daily.
  • Determining all available routes under contract and comparing the costs.
  • Maintaining current amendments plus rate changes.
  • Time payments to meet agreed-upon terms, which can vary by carrier.
  • Maintaining visibility into invoices that are received when no contract rate is on file.
  • Gaining visibility into the use of non-contracted carriers.

When you have an aging system and tools, your employees are bogged down, and efficiency decreases. That’s why you want to find a solution that optimizes employee and operational efficiencies, as well as business outcomes.

What can Icertis Contract Management (ICM) do for your railroad?

Transforming your company into a modern railroad requires that you integrate digital solutions that allow you to work more efficiently. The reality is, it’s time-consuming and tedious to manage contracts manually.

As a leading Contract Lifecycle Management in the cloud, Icertis Contract Management (ICM) approaches the need for a digital, CM solution for railroads by addressing each facet to contract management: legal, procurement, commercial finance, and corporate sales. As the preferred ICM partner, CloudMoyo works with railroad companies like yours to transform the way you look at and manages contracts. Let’s dive into each of the procurements that ICM can address for your railroad:

Legal

A successful contract management solution will ensure that your railroad remains complaint with FRA safety regulations, AAR regulations, labor union clauses and agreements, and mandates from industry bodies like ASLRRA, and the APTA.

ICM steps in by leveraging a robust clause and template library to ensure standardization of your contracts. All phases of the contract management process — from approval to editing, execution, and storage — are conducted in one location.

You can easily create variations in the workflow, rules, clauses, and templates based on regional needs, as well as track commitments, milestones, expiries, deviations, deliverables, and other contract obligations, all within ICM software.

Procurement

You want to make sure that agreement terms are enforced, as well as pricing and obligations. With ICM, you can gain enhanced visibility into global spend data. And best of all, you can manage each stage of the Contract Life Cycle (CLC): contract creation, contract renewal, contract expiration, and penalties.

Within ICM, you can monitor the speed and efficiency of the supplier contract process with an easy-to-use dashboard that provides insights on cycle times, deviations, as well as risk and procurement metrics like expiry, renewal, and pending.

And if you’re a national or multi-national railroad company, you’ll be able to manage contracts across multiple geographies with comprehensive multilingual support and easily customized variations in the workflow.

Sales

Sales are yet another complex operation within railroads that can benefit from a contract management software. Just think about how you’re currently navigating rate price management, revenue sharing under the Interline Settlement System (ISS), and handling complicated freight invoices.

With ICM, you’ll be able to comply with RATE EDI Network mandates. The Rate EDI Network (REN) provides an electronic, web interface that allows North American interline railroads or carriers to publish, broker, and negotiate their own rates for rail freight movement of commodities. These rates are shared with all parties involved in the route or who participate in the rate.

Within this system, you can enjoy a convenient, error-free exchange of electronic freight rates, divisions, and shipment codes, as well as receive assistance in the application of rates to a shipment that is divided among participating carriers.

Commercial

Are you ready to gain proactive visibility into efficiency, risk, obligations, and effectiveness? With ICM, sales and business operations staff in your railroad company can move deals forward without the hassle of delays by using configurable proposal creation rules and templates, self-service contract wizards, and adaptable approval workflows.

You can also tract contract performance, making you sure that the CLM is working well for you. You’ll get to manage risk and obligations with actual information about each contract. Customizable alerts and notifications will help you avoid penalties and take advantage of potential rebates or incentives.

Another bonus to the ICM system is that you can experience enhanced visibility into interchange rates, and car hires, plus systemize freight audits. All these functionalities live within a single system that you can utilize to manage any contract: buy-side, corporate, NDA, MSA, SOW, employment, or MoUs.

Integrating a modern Contract Management system in your railway

Implementation is crucial to the success of a digital, CM system. Ideally, you want a partner who holds 360-degree ownership of implementation, utilizing their domain expertise and drive system configuration plus adoption activities.

The next step is to create your contract templates and conduct clause analyses. Using the templates that you already have, CloudMoyo can work with you to identify how we can optimize them best. Keeping contract clauses concise and clean involves identifying common clauses in the templates, consolidating them, and removing redundancy in the language.

You can’t have a contract management solution without a way to access contract analytics. We’re making this process more user-friendly for you, allowing you to create custom graphs and build charts for easy visualization – all using an interactive Power BI.

The goal here is to be swift and ensure an error-free migration of your contracts to ICM. We’ll start by using historical data to get ICM ready, then use our time-tested methods to migrate the legacy data over.

How can we work together to modernize your Contract Management System?

Don’t be intimidated by this complex network of contracts! CloudMoyo and ICM are here to optimize and help your railroad get the best ROI on your contract management software – no matter if your railroad is a Class 1 railroad, interline, or shortline railway.

CloudMoyo is a preferred partner for Icertis Contract management (ICM). Legal, procurement, sales, and commercial services are bundled under this solution. Throughout the contract lifecycle management, we handle implementation, legacy contract migration, template and clause analysis, and contract analytics. Each process and every contract are housed within a centralized system.

Are you ready to modernize your contract management system, making digital rail your focus this year? Let’s chat. You can reach us here and we’ll explore a solution that works for you.