Coop Improves the Signature Collection Process with Penneo
"If you have to make an old-fashioned signature then you have to print documents, write and sign, scan it and send it out and it never looks very pretty. So typically we would ask signers to come to the office physically and sign the documents, if it was urgent. Such actions are completely avoided now."
Henrik Øgaard, Senior Project Manager at Coop
About Coop Ejendomme
Coop Danmark A/S is a retail company in Denmark and together with the independent cooperative supermarkets, Coop Danmark has approximately 1,100 stores and 40,000 employees (2018), and owns a third of the purchasing organization Coop Trading with store chains such as: Kvickly, SuperBrugsen, Dagli’Brugsen, Irma, Fakta, Coop 365, and Coop Denmark's e-commerce store and online supermarket.
Coop consists of many shops which are located in properties that Coop owns or rents. All agreements regarding the purchase and sale of properties plus all rental agreements have been handled manually or with their previous digital signature solution that didn’t use NemID, the Danish eID. Now Coop Ejendomme (real estate department) plus other internal decision makers have switched to using Penneo for contracts that involve purchases and sales of Coop's properties, rental of other retail and residential properties, as well as value optimization of Coop's property portfolio.
Senior Project Manager Henrik was given the task to ensure that Coop implemented a new digital signature system going forward. They already had a signature system but it couldn't handle NemID and since it hadn’t been a requirement for Coop to use it in the past, they had settled for that solution. However, in connection with their real estate agents and property administration throughout Denmark, they continuously experienced difficulties delivering signed contracts in time. There were quite a few back and forth negotiations when it came to making the final agreement related to getting signed contracts for rent, lease, etc. that required NemID validation. In most parts of Denmark, NemID was seemingly needed.
Moreover, enhanced by COVID-19, their traditional way of handling documents and using the print and scan method became inconvenient and time-consuming as signers were required to show up at the office on short notice and sign papers, so that they could be sent out with the postal service immediately. This was not only time-consuming for the employees and managers, but also difficult to accomplish during holidays and with the postal services being overwhelmed by orders due to COVID-19.
Lastly, what Henrik especially found appealing about Penneo was the specific feature of requesting signatures, which would enable Coop to follow up on pending cases and have a better overview of the signature collection process. Instead of being dependent on PostNord and other postal services and having to write to collaborators if they hadn’t signed the papers yet.
1. Time-consuming processes and costly transportation fees when collecting signatures
Coop had a typical print and scan process when handling contracts related to Coop's leases to external suppliers (sublease for bakery, flowers, pharmacy, fishmonger, delicatessen, etc.), basic leases (OK petrol stations and car washes, Coop buildings on leased land), and contracts for the purchase and sale of real estate. The manual routines of handling contracts proved to be time-consuming as well as impractical and inconvenient. Along with costly transportation fees when signers had to show up urgently to the office to sign.
"If you have to make an old-fashioned signature then you have to print documents, write and sign, scan it and send it out and it never looks very pretty. So typically one would ask employees to come into the office physically and sign the documents, when it was urgent. It was very time consuming and required a lot of coordination to get people into the office urgently." -Henrik Øgaard, Senior Project Manager at Coop
2. Negotiations and pending cases
Often many negotiations take place before a contract is signed. Relying on postal services and back and forth phone calls and email exchanges can be dreary. Especially because Coop often has new partners on a daily basis across Denmark. It can be therefore challenging to schedule meeting times and keep track of the different stages of the various agreements sent out for signing, which was also one of the reasons why Henrik was asked to look into new digital solutions.
Penneo's solutions to Coop's challenges
1. Time and cost saving transportation fees
When Coop changed from print and scan processes to using Penneo, they no longer had to ask signers to come physically to the office and sign, even on holidays. Along with not having to pay any printing or transportation fees. Moreover, the implementation and use of Penneo was easy and manageable from the start. Coop can send agreements for signing directly from Penneo to the inbox of the right recipients anytime, from anywhere. And similarly, the recipients can sign the needed documents on the go, from any device.
2. Postal Service dependency and case overview
The intangible waiting of postal services to deliver and return contracts was no longer an issue once Coop implemented Penneo and moreover, Coop can easily keep track of each document and its status. Setting automatic reminders is also an option, to make sure the documents get signed on time and meeting deadlines is not a hassle anymore. This way, Coop gets a complete overview of their document transactions and can easily take action where needed.
What did Coop achieve with Penneo?
Even though Coop is not in the process of a longer digitization implementation, Henrik is still curious and open to discovering new features that can advance the daily processes in all departments. He was pleasantly surprised to discover the feature of requesting signers for signatures, as well as the ability to follow up on pending case files. Along with seeing the major changes of time being saved, increased efficiency, and Penneo’s user-friendly application.
"There is no doubt that Penneo has significantly reduced the time and streamlined the process, it has become very clear during corona, where it is so much easier to use it. I can mention an example from the autumn holidays where there were various who were not in the office but you needed to act fast and this would usually mean that someone would have to try to drive around with paper agreements between people so they could be signed - and this we avoid completely with Penneo. So that's a significant improvement!" -Henrik Øgaard, Senior Project Manager at Coop
"We think that Penneo is very user-friendly. I think the onboarding process has been very professional and very accommodating and user-oriented. It has been a good experience with both the first onboarding and then a follow-up onboarding. It was very helpful to have a follow-up conversation, even though we did not need it after the first onboarding." -Henrik Øgaard, Senior Project Manager at Coop