Finland - A Source Of Best Practice Contracting

Published: 09 Mar 2007 Average Rating: unrated Print

"Enterprise Finland" this month features IACCM Advisory Council member Helena Haapio for her pioneering work and tutorials on best practices in international contracting. Helena is well known to IACCM conference audiences, where she regularly receives top marks for her energizing sessions. She will be with us again in New Orleans, April 11th - 13th.

Contract Coaching – Finland's Latest Export Product


Contract Coach Helena Haapio.

Lexpert Ltd, a company with over 20 years of experience in corporate contract coaching, received such a positive boost to the productisation of its services from Culminatum?s (Helsinki Region Centre of Expertise) PATU project that the company's SopimusSavotta concept has attracted a great deal of interest overseas, says Lexpert Ltd's Contract Coach Helena Haapio, Master of Laws, Master of Quality.

According to her:

"Many companies are navigating the contract jungle more by good luck than good management. Pitfalls in contracts are quite similar all over the world. Avoiding them is an art in itself. As businesses can agree on the rules of the game between themselves and their freedom of contract is not restricted by the International Sale of Goods Act either, we can multiply our service product for the global market."

Taking Contract Management and Contracting Skills to the Next Level

Organisations work increasingly in complex supply chain networks whose management requires strong contracting capabilities. If disturbances occur, services and payments are delayed, finances and morale suffer, and relations become strained. According to Haapio, the tendency to make claims and challenge contracts has increased also in Finland.

"It makes sense to seek legal advice in advance in order to avoid having to do it later. However, contracts are not just for lawyers. They are a jigsaw puzzle of technical, implementation, business and legal parts that requires skills and knowledge in several fields and a seamless fit of all pieces."

She continues, "Today, strong contracting skills are recognised as an important part of organisational risk management and management culture as a whole. They allow you to increase your earning power, specify your scope of responsibility and cost exposure, as well as minimise problems."


PATU Prompted the Launch of SopimusSavotta

Working as an in-house legal counsel for the Wärtsilä Group in Finland, Sweden, Norway and the United States Haapio gained extensive experience in cross-border contracting prior to establishing her own practice in 1985. She organised numerous workshops in different parts of the world over the course of 20 years before she decided to productise her services inspired by the PATU project.

Lexpert Ltd developed the SopimusSavotta service concept that allows organisations to link their contracts to business, performance and risk management.

"The guiding principles of SopimusSavotta are good collaboration, keeping the promises made and balancing risk with reward. The goal is minimalistic yet sound and legally safe contracting along with plain language documentation."

Establishing the Foundation for Success

We want to establish the foundation for success: enable the parties to accomplish their goals, reach predictable outcomes and ensure that unnecessary distractions do not drain their resources.

The SopimusSavotta concept consists of three complementary components: a crash course in contractual literacy, workshops and the development and implementation of a contracting toolbox.

Large corporations operating multiple facilities in different locations and countries are often not fully aware of all the contracts made by their different units. A centralised enterprise contract management solution utilising the latest technology accelerates the development and implementation of the required tools and toolbox.

"Once an organisation has strong contracting skills, common contract principles and a toolbox ensuring easy access to up-to-date contract data, checklists and templates, it is able to use its contracts more effectively to manage its business, performance and risk."

Oslo, Dubai, New Orleans, St. Louis, Dallas, Budapest...

Helena Haapio gives special thanks to the PATU project, which has boosted Lexpert's contract coaching business. Productisation enables the company to multiply its service concept for the international market.

The great potential of SopimusSavotta as an export product is demonstrated by the number of events already booked for spring 2007: Helsinki, Turku, Oslo, Dubai, New Orleans, St. Louis, Dallas and Budapest.

PATU to Continue through the Spring and Autumn

The PATU project coordinated by Culminatum Ltd. (Helsinki Region Centre of Expertise) has proved that expert organisations can gain a substantial competitive edge through service productisation.

The PATU project started in the autumn of 2006 and was financed by the Serve Programme funded by Tekes and Culminatum's KIBS development project funded by the Uusimaa Regional Council and the Uusimaa Employment and Economic Development Centre.

The project will continue this spring and next autumn. Companies participating in the four-month programme are selected through an open application process. Applicants are currently sought for PATU's spring programme. Applications can be submitted until 7 March 2007.

Text: Jorma Marttala/Aurora Borealis Production

Further information:

(This article can be freely used by the media. When published, the source must be acknowledged: www.enterprisefinland.fi/ Jorma Marttala).