Safety Kleen

SUCCESS STORY

When an internal review showed it was taking 70+ days to execute contracts for its biggest accounts, Safety Kleen deployed Lexmark’s contract management solution to streamline the process. As a result, the contract cycle has been reduced to nine days, allowing the company to start billing 61 days sooner and leading to an increase of $5 million in net present value of cash flow.

Discover the:  Challenge  |  Solution  |  Results

Safety Kleen

company

Safety-Kleen, a subsidiary of Clean Harbors, is a leader in used oil recycling and refining, parts cleaning and environmental solutions.

industry

Accounting Finance, Business Services, Human Resources

product

Data Capture & Extraction, Document Management, Workflow & Process Management

Headquarters Location

Richardson, TX

Customer locations

270,000

Countries served

US, Canada and Puerto Rico

Employees

4,300

Challenge

Searching for a standardized contracts management approach

A key selling point for using Safety-Kleen’s services is peace of mind: The company has an extensive, closed-loop infrastructure, which means that the oil and industrial products the company handles don’t go to third parties for processing. This also means less exposure to risk and liability for Safety-Kleen’s customers. But when it came to managing contracts for its largest customers, Safety-Kleen’s processing loop was anything but smooth.

“We basically didn’t have a process,” noted Brett Williamson, Director of Customer Lifecycle Management at Safety-Kleen. “National Account Managers would send an email with a contract attached for review, and then they’d have no idea who was looking at it or where it was in the process.”

“Our legal department was swamped with calls from account managers, asking about their contracts. So the legal staff was on the phone answering questions, which meant even less time for reviewing contracts. The system got overloaded pretty quickly.”

Making progress with Six Sigma

To address the problem in the National Accounts group, Williamson assembled a cross-section of field personnel – managers, directors and vice presidents – at Safety-Kleen’s corporate headquarters. Using the Six Sigma DMAIC process (define, measure, analyze, improve, control), the group mapped out the existing national accounts process on large presentation pads. The result was a 14-page flow chart that clearly exposed multiple inefficiencies.

“We had so many repetitive loops, it’s surprising we ever got anything done,” Williamson said. “We took out the unnecessary steps, got the flowchart down to five pages, and agreed that was our process going forward.”

Solution

Establishing defined & repeatable contracts management

The company was already using Perceptive Content in human resources, so Lexmark was contacted to discuss applying the technology to contracts management. Using the flowchart as a guide, Williamson and the Lexmark team concluded that the system should be based on folders to allow documents to be grouped together for routing.

They also figured out the fields for the contract information form that would be designed to capture key contract data and allow easy searching for audits and reports. The key question became how to get the data into the contract information form and then into workflow.

“The common external factor was Microsoft Dynamics CRM. The sales force was already creating opportunities in CRM,” according to Williamson. “We just added functions in CRM to complement the process. Now, when an opportunity is created, the sales person just hits a button to export the data, create the folder in the Lexmark system, populate the contract information form and attach the master sales agreement, plus a routing document.”

The contract and supporting documentation are placed in a workflow queue, and the appropriate National Account Manager receives a notification that he or she has a contract to review.

Beneficial training empowers early user adoption

As the implementation went forward, stakeholders and users were updated on the progress of the project. Prior to go live, on-line training was offered to users. After going over the functionality in PowerPoint, Williamson included a live demonstration of Lexmark’s solution, so attendees could see how easy it was to use.

“Over the course of two weeks, every sales person signed on and was trained. Everyone was excited about it and ready to go. Then the day we went live, people forgot everything they learned,” Williamson said, laughing. “Typical training scenario.” 

Now, when an opportunity is created, the sales person just hits a button to export the data, create the folder in the Lexmark system, populate the contract information form and attach the master sales agreement, plus a routing document.

Brett Williamson Director of Customer Lifecycle Management Safety Kleen

To ease users into the new system, Williamson held 30-minute calls twice a week to answer questions. Soon, the frequency was reduced to once per week, then once a month. “There were only four people on the last call,” he noted.

Results

Improving cash flow net present value by $5 million

The solution was deployed in February 2012, and the impact on Safety-Kleen’s contract cycle time has been dramatic.

“Before we had Lexmark, it took just over 70 days from the time an opportunity was created until the contract was executed. As of December – just 10 months into deployment – it’s down to nine days, which means we can start billing 61 days sooner,” said Williamson. “That translates to an increase of $5 million in net present value of our cash flow on an investment of $600,000.”

Following the deployment for National Accounts, the contracts management solution was expanded to include all of Safety-Kleen’s customer accounts.

“We didn’t need to redesign the process,” Williamson explained. “For example, the oil group has the same workflow routes as our National Accounts group – same legal group, same pricing group. We expanded the workflow and were able to roll out the solution for all customer contracts in less than eight weeks.”

Extending automation to vendor contracts

The company is in the process of expanding the solution to include vendor contracts, and continues to refine its contract management system as needed to further streamline processes.

“Improving the process is about both the technology and the people involved. We learn which groups need to be looped in and which ones don’t. I make a few changes – add another queue or workflow route – and voila, the system is improved,” he said. “We continue to build on everything we’ve done and everything we’ve learned.” 

Before we had Lexmark, it took 70 days from the time an opportunity was created until the contract was executed.... just 10 months into deployment, it’s down to nine days.That translates to an increase of $5 million in net present value of our cash flow on an investment of $600,000.

Brett Williamson Director of Customer Lifecycle Management Safety Kleen

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