Marelli is the eighth largest automotive supplier in the world, with approximately 60,000 employees in more than 170 locations. As a relatively young company formed through the amalgamation of Japanese and Italian automotive suppliers, it needed a centralised platform and harmonised processes to manage legal workflows, matters and contracts worldwide.
“We had no single repository for contracts and the way we handled matters was very different in each jurisdiction. So that was the first challenge: to bring us together as one global team,” explains Tim Hewitt, Marelli’s associate general counsel.
After extensive discussions among the global legal team about their vision for the division, they agreed to look for legal technology that could deliver global visibility of legal operations and support greater cross-divisional collaboration.
We keep discovering new things that this system can do, way beyond what we thought we would ever use it for
Hewitt began the process of looking for an integrated solution and considered software from legal technology providers of all sizes. After careful assessment, he determined that HighQ from Thomson Reuters was the best product for his business. He was particularly drawn to HighQ’s wide-ranging tools to strengthen legal workflows, its customisation possibilities and its global dashboard for legal contracts and matters.
For Hewitt, the ultimate selling point was the global “service wrap” that Thomson Reuters offers MNCs, with local expert support available at all stages of the product implementation journey. “We found there was no other solution which gives us the assurance of full global support. It was a no-brainer for us to get HighQ,” he reflects.
Hewitt successfully made a business case for investing in HighQ to his CFO in 2020, when the global business was facing declining revenues at the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Fast forward, and we have overachieved on our return on investment
A key success factor was the decision to customise the software to the organisation’s needs. At the outset, the legal team held discussions on how they wanted to work together using the new matter intake and allocation platform. Next, they worked with Thomson Reuters’ HighQ experts to make their vision a reality. The virtual legal operations platform was then seamlessly rolled out across all offices, gaining full buy-in while all staff worked remotely. Approximately 1,000 matters were registered in HighQ within a couple of weeks of implementation.
HighQ has transformed Marelli’s legal team, strengthening international cohesion and collaboration. “The dashboard we see when we log in gives us a global view of our team and it’s fantastic. It has really brought us together and made us feel like one team,” comments Hewitt.
The software’s wide-ranging benefits have far outweighed what the legal team initially anticipated. For example, HighQ’s in-built file repository system has dramatically simplified and streamlined how the team creates automated monthly and quarterly reports.
“Monthly reporting is no longer a manual process that is really time consuming for the lawyers — it’s very instant,” says Hewitt. A significant perk of these automated reports is that they enable important business issues and legal matters to be promptly identified and discussed at the executive level. “I don’t know how to put a price on it, but it’s a huge benefit.”
The scalability and adaptability of the system has also enabled the legal team to deliver more value-added services to the business.
Having HighQ has enabled the legal team to really offer creative solutions to other parts of the business, beyond just being lawyers,
For example, the legal team have created M&A data rooms in the platform; “that saving alone covered a huge part of the cost,” remarks Hewitt. The compliance team have also created a gifts and hospitality register in HighQ to strengthen managerial oversight of compliance with anti-bribery legislation worldwide.
Marelli’s in-house counsel are currently advising the sales team on how to create within HighQ a central repository of new customer requirements and an interactive map of the car parts that the company supplies. This product may ultimately become a new customer offering that boosts Marelli’s competitiveness in the automative supplies industry.
Hewitt says the inspiration for this latest business innovation came from attending one of Thomson Reuters’ webinars for HighQ customers.“We were blown away by what another customer of yours has done in creating an interactive map for a real estate solution.”
Hewitt commends the HighQ community for providing invaluable resources, inspiration and ideas that are enabling his business to gain maximum value from the agile platform. These include best practice tips on how to build legal operations successfully and insights from other corporate counsel on how they are leveraging the system in fascinating new ways.
“We have seen things we never thought we could use HighQ for and are now thinking that we might implement in the future at Marelli,” he reflects. “We keep discovering new things that this system can do, way beyond what we thought we would ever use it for. So it’s an incredible tool that the legal team now have to build from and to create more solutions for the business.”
For Hewitt, a key factor in Marelli’s successful deployment of HighQ has been the global onboarding and implementation support provided by Thomson Reuters. This has included fully addressing initial teething issues from integrating the software into the company’s legacy systems.
HighQ’s support team work so well with our IT team. We were very much amateurs starting out and nothing was too hard or too small for them. I couldn’t speak more highly of HighQ's support team, they have been amazing.
He also praises Thomson Reuters’ ongoing support and guidance to help customers leverage HighQ’s limitless potential. He found that this global “service wrap” has enabled Marelli’s legal team to embrace a mindset of continuous business innovation.
Hewitt can now see endless possibilities for leveraging HighQ across his multinational organisation. “We are only at the tip of the iceberg. From what we’ve seen that the system can do and what it can do for us, it’s just a matter of being bold and adventurous to try new things.”