Am Law 100 Firm Achieves Unprecedented SLA, 31% Cost Savings, and Improves Attorney Experience

This Philadelphia-based, AmLaw 100 firm has over 650 attorneys in 15 offices.

Historically, the firm's back office equipment decisions had been decentralized, providing a great deal of autonomy to each office to select equipment and service providers that best suited each offices’ needs.

As the firm grew and experienced several acquisitions, the resulting situation in the firm’s equipment fleet was less than desired: machines were in various states of functionality as well as a mix of manufacturers and financial obligations. Some of the offices possessed gear that was long past life; in others, the firm was only nearing the halfway point of equipment leases. Then, in 2018, the firm acquired another regional, Minnesota firm which owned their equipment outright, but also introduced an entirely different fleet of MFD's into the ecosystem.

In total, the firm had four (4) different equipment platforms, four (4) different lessors, and six (6) different service providers. The firm’s Director of Office Services identified this complexity as a significant opportunity to improve operations. He comments:

“As our firmwide strategy evolved, we started asking questions: could we operate more effectively as a unit? Could we create a firmwide experience that created tangible value for our attorneys? Could we gain synergies such as shared knowledge and valuable efficiencies through a firmwide experience while also creating some cost savings?”

The Firm Selects Mattern’s Robust RFP Management

The firm considered the pros and cons of gaining leverage and capacity by having an outside entity lead the project, solicited proposals from a number of consulting companies, and selected Mattern to run the equipment Request for Proposal (RFP).

The Director of Office Services explains:

“We had previously worked with Mattern on several projects. Mattern does a great job on RFP projects and has consistently demonstrated this for our firm over the years. Most organizations are not disciplined in their RFP responses and it’s complex and challenging to align competitors the way you want.

Mattern excels at this. It would have been hundreds of hours of our work for us. Instead, we saw the value of handing the work to Mattern whose breadth of experience created value, efficiency and more than we could have done so ourselves.”

The Process
Mattern and firm leadership met at the outset of this engagement to clearly define the firm’s objectives. Mattern reviewed key operational data, mapped the workflow at the firm’s larger offices and interviewed key users. Based on the objectives and data, Mattern developed a RFP that would offer the firm various pricing and configuration options with a projected 18% decrease in costs. The firm selected 4 companies to receive the RFP which included these components:

  • Fixed monthly cost – no annual increases
  • Month to month renewal
  • Cancellation for convenience
  • Zero-based contract
  • Flexibility to upgrade, downgrade and delete units at any time during the contract
  • No return cost at the end of the contract
  • Penalty-based performance and service reporting Service Level Agreements (SLAs).
  • Penalties for failure to deliver timely and accurate invoices
  • Penalties for failure to deliver timely and accurate monthly service reporting
  • Placement of more color MFD's where appropriate
  • Recommended guidelines for routing output
  • Reduce number of printers (HP 3015s) to increase the staff to printer ratio

The Director of Office Services comments:

“The holy grail for us was service. These were known providers to our firm and the cost was fairly net-neutral; however, we were very firm that we were executing a firmwide strategy to prioritize standardization of experience. We wanted regional offices to be provided the same level of service as Philadelphia. This was the real differentiator.”

Mattern helped focus the firm and the RFP participants on the main business objective—service levels—and drilled into which of the four competitors could meet the new service standards for all offices all the time.

Results: Service Goals Achieved, Plus Nearly Double Savings Projection

After reviewing the responses from all service providers, the firm held service provider interviews with 2 of the vendors. After these meetings, reviewing the Best and Final responses, and additional follow up, the firm selected Stewart Business Solutions to provide the MFD's and service the firm nationally. The firm achieved all of its service level objectives in addition to savings of 31%, nearly double the projection.

The Director of Office Services concludes:

“This project was run like clockwork. Out of the 90 devices, I think the firm now has 65 of
the same device. That level of consistency is simply unheard of, and importantly, that
creates the downstream consistencies. It means all the same drivers and tech issues, all the same User Interfaces for attorneys. All the same toner. When optimal efficiency and time are of such critical value, these all add up to a great value.

But our greatest achievement was the service levels. Many said this project was impossible, between the service levels we were seeking and because of the timing as a Q4 project. Without Mattern leading the project, maybe it would have been impossible. Mattern kept the firm and the vendors aligned, responsive and responsible. I already have a full-time job, it’s not my primary focus to run a $5 million project. Mattern did a great job from project start to end and because of the value they consistently prove, we’ve retained them to implement the new fleet and assist the firm in managing the Stewart contract."