Are Mountains of Documents Slowing Down Deliveries?
Traditionally trucking organizations spend countless hours gathering disparate back up documents, organizing them and finally photocopying them in order to complete a transaction with their clients. This exhausting paper trail was minimized by implementing FileHold.
The Business Challenge
This case study presents a situation where FileHold's document management software is installed in a company of the Trucking and Transportation industry. This customer is a vertically integrated transportation company in South Western Ontario that needed to eliminate paper from their accounting processes.
The management of this paper based accounting information was consuming a great deal of employee time. Finding, retrieving, updating and storing paper documents was creating delays throughout the company. The documents were stored in filing rooms in traditional filing cabinets for hundreds of clients. Industry research indicates that for every 12 filing cabinets of paper an additional employee is required to maintain the system.
The business objectives of going paperless were:
- Eliminate inefficiencies and losses related to the storage and handling of paper based documents. Specifically, the need is to eliminate digging through boxes to find a POD signature and scrambling to find paperwork on damage claims.
- Realize labor savings from implementing an electronic document based process for finding documents related to customer accounts.
- Speed retrieval of information simply and quickly from a specialized link from dispatch software, accounting software, and fleet maintenance software.
The FileHold Solution
The implemented solution uses out-of-the-box capabilities of our document management software. The customers existing standalone and networked document scanners were used to perform the act of scanning documents and converting them into electronic form in the same way they are used to make a photocopy. Documents are simply put into a scanner and the start button is pushed and the electronic images are sent to a general storage area where classification of the documents and a structured organized filing system is created. The scanning process converts the text to be machine readable form so the words are full-text searchable.
By scanning and archiving bills of lading, scale tickets, and boarder crossing documen the customer was able to link these crucial supporting documents to invoices and e-mail them to customers in one easy step.
The document management software allows executives to have remote access, via the Internet, to job summaries and other client centric documents. This ensures the highest level of customer service.
These two improvements to their processes helped increased efficiency by consolidating and organizing information and improved their cash flow through the ability to immediately bill for completed work.
How the Document Scanning System Works
Client information is only as good as the ability to retrieve and work with it later on. We helped the customer implement Captiva Quick Scan Pro an "out-of-the-box" document scanning solution that automates classification, indexing and filing of electronic documents.
The classification is made possible by the capture of metadata or the creation of "tags" for each scanned document. It is this classification that makes client documents easy to find, share or work with after they are electronically filed.
With assistance from us, the accounting department of this company created separator sheets for each type of client document and left them for re-use at the scan station. These separator sheets have a barcode on them plus they are human readable. There is a separator sheet for each of a typical client's document type (i.e. Invoices, Waybills, etc.). The employee takes the file of client documents (the "batch") and matches the appropriate barcode separator sheet with each of the document types in the Client file that need to be scanned. These can be a single page document (Waybill) or multiple pages (Border Crossing Documents), each one gets the appropriate identifying separator sheet. The employee than places the stack of documents (the 'batch'), with barcode separator sheets, into the scanners document feeder and presses the scan button.
The scanner has the ability to read the barcode on the separator sheet and based on that information an electronic tag is added to each document so that the Quick Scan Pro software knows exactly what each of the documents in the batch are. The presence of the next barcode separator sheet also tells QuickScan Pro at scan time that a new document type is coming and to create a new electronic file.
After scanning is finished, QuickScan Pro scanning software is used to add more specific information to the entire batch of documents (corporate name, POD initials, and the date the documents where signed). The QuickScan Pro software is very user friendly and has been pre-configured to prompt the for certain required fields but can leave other optional fields blank. These tag values are entered only once and are automatically applied to all the scanned documents in the batch.
The system knows that the most important information gathered is the client number and will automatically create that client folder and file the associated Invoice under that client name in the FileHold library.
Without any employee involvement the scanned documents are also OCR'd and indexed by the
FileHold full text search engine. The benefit of this additional process is that the documents can now be searched for by any of the text in the documents in addition to the client name or "tags" that were added in the filing process. The documents are saved in the FileHold system as a searchable PDF Image over Text files. Storing in PDF also has the advantage of reducing document storage space.
The massive amounts of paperwork relating to client accounts are quickly scanned into the FileHold server. Time is now saved in the office consolidating and organizing information, cash flow through immediate billing for completed work has improved greatly. The process of scanning, classifying and filing client documents is largely automated and error free. Managers are able to quickly search for and find documents relating to a specific client account or type of document.