What is a contract review meeting?
As a UK procurement professional, with 30 years experience of conducting contract management meetings and managing contract performance, I've provided you with my top 5 contract review tips.
Read on to find out how to prepare for and thrive at your next contract review meeting and make a lasting impression.
There is no 'official' definition of a contract review meeting as they are not a requirement under procurement law.
Contract review meetings are instead 'best practice' and fall under contract management.
I know how stressful the whole contractual review process can be for both buyers and suppliers.
Below I have provided a detailed guide on how to:
A contract meeting provides an opportunity for the buyer and the supplier to meet, review and discuss performance against contractual Key Performance Indicators or procurement KPI's.
Buyers and suppliers both need to be well prepared for this special kind of management review meeting and communicate effectively.
Here are my top 5 contract review tips!
Survival Strategy Number 1
Learn The Language
Survival strategy number one is to learn the language.
I'm not talking about speaking English, Spanish or Mandarin, (although this is an extremely useful skill to have in business) I'm talking about learning to speak the language of procurement.
If your contract review meeting is with the procurement manager or the contracts manager you are going to need to keep up.
Strategy number one is to understand the ask, and avoid the risk of looking like an idiot or worse, failing to deliver what's expected of you.
As a procurement professional, I can easily switch to excessive procurement acronym speak mode, without even realising it.
It's only when I see the glazed expression starring back at me that I stop and ask, "which part of what I just said, don't you understand?"
The honest response is often - "all of it!"
Survival Guide - Public Procurement Acronyms
ABI - Activity Based Income
CPV - Common Procurement Vocabulary
DPS - Dynamic Purchasing System
DUNS - Data Universal Numbering System
EOI - Expression of Interest
FOI - Freedom of Information
GDPR - General Data Protection Regulations
ITT - Invitation to Tender
KPI - Key Performance Indicator
MEAT - Most Economically Advantageous Tender
OJEU - Official Journal of the European Union
PCR - Public Contract Regulations
PID - Project Initiation Document
PIN - Prior Information Notice
PO - Purchase Order
PQQ - Pre Qualification Questionnaire
RFP - Request for Proposal
RFI - Request for Information
RFQ - Request for Quote
SLA - Service Level Agreement
SME - Small and Medium Enterprises
SOR - Statement of Requirements
SQ - Selection Questionnaire
TED - Tenders Electronic Daily
TUPE - Transfer and Undertaking of Employees
Survival Strategy Number 2
Know Your Numbers
Survival strategy number two is to know your numbers.
Often procurement expect (but do not necessarily communicate) suppliers to provide them with a report to demonstrate their contract performance and the report will form the basis of the contract review discussion.
Survival Guide - What is a KPI?
A Key Performance Indicator uses a quantitative indicator. For example, a quantity, a number, a ratio or a percentage. Indicators provide a way of measuring and comparing numerical data.
In a contract a KPI can also be referred to as a Contractual KPI or a Procurement KPI.
Most procurement managers will request a copy of the suppliers KPI performance report, prior to the contract review meeting.
It is therefore a good idea to know in advance how you are performing against each contractual KPI. This information will help you to prepare for the contract review meeting with procurement.
If you are failing to meet a KPI, it may be a requirement of the contract that you prepare a performance report. This will include the reasons why you have failed to meet the KPI.
You may also be required to provide a performance improvement plan detailing how you intend to bring your performance back to the required contractual KPI level.
On the other hand, if you are meeting or exceeding all of the contractual KPI's you could use the contract review meeting as an opportunity to ask for additional business or an extension to your contract term.
Survival Strategy Number 3
Know Yourself, Know Your Enemy
Procurement professionals are thorough, you need to be through too!
If you're not provided with an agenda, you could be walking into an ambush.
Survival strategy number 3 is to know your enemy by requesting a copy of the contract review meeting agenda in advance of the meeting.
My approach is to always ask for an agenda, prior to the contract review meeting.
Even if the response is, "we are just having a chat".
Your understanding of a chat and procurements understanding of a chat, could be worlds apart.
Forearmed is forewarned.
Other questions to ask include:
- Who else (from your organisation) will be attending the meeting?
- Am I expected to provide anything before the meeting?
- How many people (from my organisation) can attend the meeting?
This information will help you to prepare for the contract review meeting and avoid any awkward questions or surprises.
I appreciate that not everybody is as super organised as me, when it comes to contract review meeting preparation.
The procurement person you are meeting may genuinely not have thought about any of this in advance. They may genuinely just be intending to have a nice chat.
In this case, you will be viewed as super professional and on the ball, so you really have nothing to lose here.
Survival Guide - What questions might I be asked?
- How do you think you have performed under the contract?
- Where do you think you can improve?
- What is new and innovative in your industry?
- What are you doing to ensure you meet all your KPI's?
- What value will you deliver under this contract in the next 12 months?
- What are your investment and growth plans over the next 3 years?
The above list is not exhaustive, the questions are only a small sample of what a buyer may want to know when they meet with a supplier.
You could be asked just about anything by the procurement and/or contract manager.
The point is, none of the above questions are easy to answer, on the spot, so be prepared with an answer.
Asking for a copy of the contract review meeting agenda in advance so you can practice your answers (to difficult contract review questions), can only help in this difficult situation.
Survival Strategy Number 4
Never Go Alone
Survival Strategy Number 4 is Never Go Alone.
Always try and take somebody else with you to the contract review meeting. Remember - there is safety in numbers.
I once went to meet a client and found myself sat in a room with 8 solicitors who (very politely) interrogated me about my experience and skills to deliver their requirements.
Survival Guide - Justification to your boss
- Your colleague can make notes, whilst you talk.
- You can focus on your performance.
- Your colleague can feedback on how you can improve.
- Any inappropriate behaviour is witnessed.
Survival Strategy Number 5
Leave Nothing On The Table
Don't miss your opportunity to blow your own trumpet.
Survival strategy number 5 leave nothing on the table
Ask intelligent questions to make the right impression. Show an interest in the organisation and the contractual relationship.
You could ask questions about future developments. This may provide you with information about future opportunities for your company or threats to your current contract.
Survival Guide - Prepare a list of topics
It is fine to write these down in a notebook that you take to the meeting with you. Procurement will view you as prepared and professional.
Don't however, get out a huge laptop and obscure your face with it. This happened in my contract review meeting once.
I promptly told the supplier to put the laptop on the floor.
Oh, and don't throw eggs at procurement either (even if they are hard boiled). Yes, that really happened during a tender presentation!
You may never be invited to attend a contract review meeting. However, if the invite comes your way, you may be a little more prepared for reading this blog post.
If this is case, please remember to leave a comment and let me know how you got on.
Copyright Naomi Clews Consultancy ®
About the Author
Naomi Clews Consultancy
Procurement, Tendering, Business Skills
Supply Chain Management