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Partner TechTip: Can You Find Your Critical Business Documents?

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Finding lost or missing paper documents is one of the biggest liabilities for businesses today. Employees waste thousands of hours each year digging through filing cabinets, storage rooms, and offsite vaults, searching for documents to resolve customer complaints, billing problems, contract disputes, and employee matters.

While it's important to save these documents to help resolve business and compliance issues, most companies have not taken steps to eliminate manual paper filing processes. By scanning paper documents into an electronic filing system, the physical versions of the documents should never need to be retrieved or accessed again if the documents are indexed correctly.

Indexing scanned documents by key fields such as order, invoice, customer, vendor or employee number, or any other meaningful value ensures that the manual paper retrieval process can be virtually eliminated.

Pain Points: Slow Service and Missing Documents

Imagine the following scenario: Company ABC calls to complain that it never received a shipment. The materials in question are worth over $100,000, so your company has a lot to lose if you can't verify the shipment was delivered. Your customer service rep promises to research and resolve the issue within 48 hours.

The customer service rep begins investigating the issue by searching for the proof-of-delivery document in the filing room. When the rep gets to Company ABC in the filing cabinet, the customer's folder is missing.

After sending frantic emails around the company and calling a remote warehouse, it's determined that a sales rep borrowed the folder to research the customer's purchasing habits and never returned it because his briefcase was stolen. All documentation for the order in question is gone. Without the signed delivery document, your business cannot collect the $100,000 payment, and Company ABC is left without a critical shipment of materials.

While this scenario may sound a little farfetched, this is the type of situation that happens quite often when companies use manual paper filing practices. Let's look at a solution to this problem.

Solution: Instant Access to Information

Suppose the company described above implements WebDocs, a native Web-based iSeries document management system from RJS Software Systems. All signed delivery documents are scanned and indexed by order and shipment number. Company ABC calls in with the same complaint. The customer service rep goes to the billing application screen on the iSeries, looks up the order, and presses a function key to find all documents related to the order.

http://www.mcpressonline.com/articles/images/2002/RJS%20PTT%20051706%20v300.jpg

Figure 1: Scan and index documents with WebDocs. (Click images to enlarge.)

The document list displays in a Web browser window so the user can easily locate and display the appropriate document. Seconds later, the customer service rep tells Company ABC that the $100,000 order was received by Joe at the plant's shipping dock. Company ABC talks to Joe, determines where the materials are, and quickly pays the invoice. Life is good.

http://www.mcpressonline.com/articles/images/2002/RJS%20PTT%20051706%20v301.jpg

Figure 2: Up to 10 search keys allow WebDocs users to search by doc type, dates, titles, and more.

Electronic Document Management ROI

By implementing an electronic document management system, the company described has achieved several important advantages:

  • Paper documents are scanned and indexed as soon as they are received. This ensures that documents don't get lost or misplaced because an employee has borrowed or misfiled paper versions.
  • Authorized employees can access order documents from their iSeries application within seconds.
  • The company is protected against data loss due to fire or theft because documents are stored electronically and regularly backed up on tape.
  • Employees are free to concentrate on more-important tasks, such as selling products, and the document management system improves customer service response times.
  • The company streamlines customer service processes by making vendor and customer data available securely via a customer service Web site that connects order information and associated documents for easy access.
  • Most importantly, the company can continue to grow with the same number of customer service employees since most requests can be handled via the Web.

Electronic document management software, such as WebDocs from RJS Software Systems, has become affordable and easy to implement. If you haven't taken steps to protect your critical business documents, RJS can help you determine if your company could benefit from document management software.

Visit the MC Press Resource Center to request the white paper that includes a free 30-day demo of WebDocs.

Richard Schoen is president of RJS Software Systems. He can be reached by telephone at 952.898.3038 or 888.RJSSOFT.

Richard Schoen is the president and chief technology officer of RJS Software Systems, an information-management and data-integration solutions developer for the System i platform. RJS also provides commercial classes for introducing System i developers to .NET development. Richard founded RJS in 1990 and today guides the direction and development of all of the company's core products. Richard can be reached at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..  
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