Blizzard of invoices each year to a multinational legal department, Novartis

A piece in Met. Corp. Counsel, Sept. 2010 at 28, offers a stunning metric about the number of invoices Novartis AG’s legal and intellectual property groups cope with annually. The groups work with more than 300 law firms, legal vendors, and IP agents, who collectively snow each year a blizzard of invoices that approach 60,000.

Such an immense volume means that Novartis, or any of dozens of other large departments that accumulate such drifts of invoices, need to (1) automate as much as they can of the process; (2) study the process and understand it; (3) create policies and procedures and educate those who are involved in invoice handling; (4) practice kaizen, and (5) believe in and use mathematical analysis and benchmarking.

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