Paper-mess to Paper-less

In my years in this business, I’ve had the privilege of helping companies implement important new technologies like local area network, email and internet. I watched these technologies improve efficiencies and totally change the way we do business.

But I still believe that this technology – the move from paper-mess to paper-less using ECM – can have a far greater impact on an organization than any of these other technologies.

In this book, I’ve outlined all of the obvious ways that ECM can make your life easier, save you money and streamline your business. But one of the great pleasures I’ve had in working with so many clients to implement ECM is the unexpected benefits – the ways that ECM has helped them solved problems or create efficiencies in areas that they hadn’t even imagined.

I remember one of the first calls I got from a customer who had found a “golden nugget.” Steve Long, the IT director from Lakes and Pines Community Action called to say that for years their accountant had spent hours trying to balance their legal ledger. He’d finally asked them to print their trial balance into Laserfiche using the built-in print-to-TIFF converter, Snap-Shot.

What they found eliminated all the headache of an imbalanced ledger forever. Using Laserfiche, they were able to input the amount of the discrepancy and search the document for that number or for its multiples. For example, if the books were off by $66, they could instantly search the report for any transaction that was $66 or $33 and find the error. Problem solved!

Another customer had spent years printing off a monthly customer summary report that was hundreds of pages long and was printed on continuous computer paper. It took one employee almost an entire week to tear the report into sections for each individual customer and then file it into the designated folder.

With Laserfiche, all of that has changed. Now, they simply print the report into Laserfiche and move the pages into individual customer folders. The time spent executing this task was reduced from one week to just a couple of hours.

Buoyed by the new efficiency, my customer was challenged to rethink the purpose behind some of their processes. They found that they seldom looked at those individual pages within the customer folders and thus eliminated the step of copying pages. Instead, they left the report where it was printed in Laserfiche and showed users how easy it was to search for customer information in reports when they needed it. This small change saved them over 32 hours a week. For a small organization, this savings alone paid for the ECM.

A medical company that I worked with was very happy with the way Laserfiche handled their documents. They had small profit centers in each of their thirteen branch offices that produced a small amount of product. This product could be ordered for stock, for a customer or for display.

However, it was becoming increasingly difficult to manage this product with their POS and accounting systems. We helped them develop a workflow to manage this inventory through Laserfiche, which resulted in huge savings, while also streamlining an essential business process.

I’ll give you just one more example. Shoreview, a city I worked with, spent years using 3×5” index cards to represent each building in the city. Each card included a hand sketch with the location of the gas and water shut-off valves for the property.

However, as the city grew, managing these paper files became nearly impossible. Other products proved expensive and cumbersome, but, using Laserfiche, we were able to set up an index template that included property IDs alongside other important fields, such as house number and street name.

The City of Shoreview was able to scan their index cards into the system, and Laserfiche automatically filled in the property ID. Laserfiche Quick Fields was able to instantly look up the property ID in their GIS database, populate other fields, and store the document in its logical format or location. This “golden nugget” justified their purchase of ECM and made their files manageable once again.

It’s easy for me to get carried away with these stories because I have seen how ECM can change a company’s entire business strategy. I get excited about the way Laserfiche helps people who feel overwhelmed and buried in busy-work to find new purpose in their jobs. I believe in this product and its potential to change business across the board.

I wish you luck as you go through the process of choosing and implementing an ECM in your organization. If you choose a good system and implement it well, you’ll be thrilled with the results. Keep your eyes open. There are all kinds of “golden nuggets” buried in these systems. Be mindful and you’ll find opportunities to create efficiencies you never expected.

And if you need any help or have any questions, give me a call. I’d be happy to be your guide.

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