Established in 1969 as an independent government agency, MWA oversees the ownership of two landfills, two transfer stations and a hazardous waste drop-off. The company averages 70 employees, four of whom handle accounting from a central office.
Challenged with hundreds of invoices processed monthly, Metro Waste was impressed by how integrated PaperSave was with Microsoft Dynamics GP. "This was one of the most straightforward products I had ever seen. I didn’t need to look anywhere else," says Kent Farver, the Director of Finance.
Working with PaperSave, Metro Waste designed an electronic workflow process that met the needs of the supervisors and the finance department.
Results include a new electronic workflow and tracking mechanisms, better reporting, significant staff time reduction, and eliminated paper.
Though the name might suggest otherwise, Metro Waste Authority (MWA) in Des Moines, Iowa, actually sells air space, according to Kent Farver, the Director of Finance. “We charge a tipping fee for weight per ton for all the garbage that comes into [our] landfills,” he explains. “The more garbage you can get into a cubic yard, the more tipping fees you can get…and the longer the landfill will last.” Established in 1969 as an independent government agency, MWA oversees the ownership of two landfills, two transfer stations and a hazardous waste drop-off. The company averages 70 employees, four of whom handle accounting from a central office.
As MWA is regularly tasked with trying to fit the most garbage it can into the smallest space possible, it often pays consultants who offer input on compliance issues and provide subject matter expertise. (A recent compaction method change resulted in 300 pounds more garbage per cubic yard, for example.) On the receivables side, haulers pay for each trip to the landfill. The combination results in hundreds of invoices processed monthly.
When Farver started with MWA in 2015 as the director of finance, plans were in place to implement PaperSave though, as he says, “I was told I could give it the green light or pull the plug.” Though he had never worked with the software prior, he says he was aware of competitive products available but suspected none would work as well with the company’s existing ERP solution. “It was very integrated with [Microsoft Dynamics] GP. This was one of the most straightforward products I had ever seen. I didn’t need to look anywhere else.” His Dynamics GP partner, RSM, ensured him PaperSave would improve their processes and keep accurate records. Plus, he explains, “We needed to be able to free up staff time to be able to deal with other things.”
The office’s small accounting staff was strongly motivated, trusting they would soon have an alternative way to store, process, capture and track paperwork. However, co-workers on the operations side, especially the engineers, were skeptical and concerned about processing speeds, working remotely and the potential for computer problems.
Solution Design & Project Management
Working with PaperSave and MWA’s IT department, Farver designed an electronic workflow process that met the needs of the supervisors and the finance department. “All invoices come in through an email inbox so we have everything tracked from the moment it enters the finance area to the time it’s paid,” he explains. “We have a complete audit trail.”
“The tweaks we made took the barriers out for people being able to approve things and it being routed correctly. It took responsibility out of the users’ hands and automated it. That’s helped.” Farver reports PaperSave’s customer service staff helps along the way: “When we run into things that are new, the support service desk takes care of it. It really has been seamless.”
Project Results & Key Success Indicators
Since the PaperSave soft launch nearly seven months ago, MWA has processed 4,000 invoices. “The new workflow created a great tracking mechanism,” Farver says. “It has started to populate a library of electronic resources to look up invoices versus filing cabinets that had to be manually searched.” Farver is also able to run outstanding invoice reports weekly—something he was unable to do in the past. “All invoices, from the moment they enter finance, get paid and I’ve got a complete audit trail” he says. The reports help him estimate the average time it takes MWA to pay invoices. Farver can also quickly assess how much each vendor charges monthly and export the information immediately, anywhere. “There’s definitely a lot less paper,” he reports. “We had a large, five-foot tall, three-drawer, wide file cabinet full of vendor folders, but now it’s virtually eliminated.”
And PaperSave has definitely helped to free up staff time, especially for the managers who no longer have to drive to the central office or ask for assistance to find, scan and email information. Now they query it for themselves remotely through the company’s VPN and have the ability to markup documents and code them accordingly. “It’s a complete 180,” Farver says. “Our ability to oversee and manage information is so much stronger. It’s completely a self-service system.”
“If you’re looking for something to automate your workflow, create electronic records, and a way to be able to track documentation, PaperSave is perfectly competent and straightforward.” — Kent Farver, Director of Finance, Metro Waste Authority
Measures of Success:
- Benefits include a new electronic workflow and tracking mechanisms
- Weekly reports to discover what’s outstanding and where documents are at all times
- Electronic storage has greatly reduced the amount of paper printed and filed
- Staff time has been redirected toward fiscally beneficial tasks