Paperless document management, invoice automation can solve manufacturing nightmares

Paperless document management, invoice automation can solve manufacturing nightmares

For any company, managing important files can oftentimes be a difficult task. For manufacturers and distributors, document management workflow can be a real nightmare without an effective system in place.

"The last thing I had time for was filing," said Sandy Moore, vice president and CRO of Sauder Customer Fabrication. "Finding documentation was just an impossibility."

Sauder is a steel pressure vessels manufacturer founded more than 80 years ago. Up until recently, the company was operating on a system nearly half as old.

"Once you filed something electronically you could never find it again," Moore said. Invoices, for example, would be submitted for approval and "never get paid," and certain paperwork would simply get lost in the shuffle.

Moore said company management knew it had to make a change, but with a 35-year-old system, implementing new technology wasn't an easy task. If a recent Canon Solutions America report is any indication, paperless document management offers a viable solution - particularly as a means of improving efficiency.

"For me, our service administrators and our warranty clerks, a paperless system like this eliminates the chaos of running around looking for documents," said Chris Previtire, service director for Center BMW.

According to the study, Center BMW, an automobile distributor, recently deployed a streamlined document management workflow, and the benefits have been enormous. For example, the company has reduced paper and ink use 70 percent, while increasing customer turnover rates by an average of 10 minutes per car. Center BMW also saves nearly $24,000 each month through paperless workflow archiving software alone.

Sauder's huge savings
In addition to providing cost savings and better productivity, paperless document management can help companies comply with audits, according to the Canon report. Moore said that, among many other advantages, this has helped Sauder Custom Fabrication enormously.

"In the past, the [auditors would] give me a list of what they wanted and I would go and plow through a whole years worth of documentation to find what they needed and hope it hadn't been filed in the wrong spot," Moore said.

Sauder implemented a combination of Microsoft Dynamics GP, CRM and PaperSave solutions in January 2009 - and the benefits have extended far beyond audits. Moore said that the company has cut its paper volume in half, and Sauder uses invoice automation for its billing processes as well. In addition, she said the sales team will likely use PaperSave software on their mobile devices in the future.