My company entered the document management software arena in the summer of 2006, when we signed on with docSTAR and put into use a single Canon duplex color scanner that processed about 60 pages a minute. We integrated document management with our accounts payable process. After we entered invoices into the accounting system, we scanned them into docSTAR. On the accounts receivable side, customer credits are also scanned and available in the system.
docSTAR’s DataLink software extracts pre-determined data from the company’s ERP system, Business Planning and Control System (BPCS). Using the DataLink module makes it easier to connect documents with the accounting system by retrieving and reading data contained within the system. We can enter one field and DataLink extracts anywhere from 20 to 30 fields that we can search by later. This reduces keystrokes needed during the filing process, improves accuracy and drives consistent information gathering, which translates into faster filing.
Our initial implementation allowed secure docSTAR document access by our customer service team, as well as our accounting staff, including payroll staff, cost analysts and financial analysts.
docSTAR’s WebView module allowed for easy information sharing and access. The documents we store on the docSTAR server can be viewed securely from any computer, via the Internet or corporate Intranet.
As I expected, in a matter of months, accounting found itself handling the same amount of work more quickly and with one less employee.
Our use of docSTAR quickly expanded beyond our accounting and financial functions. Our technical quality team deployed a standalone system in its own operation. The department scans and stores Certificates of Compliance, which are used to measure and analyze product specifications on incoming raw materials.
Before long, other departments were signing on and employee efficiency improved. Now our people spend more time on value-added work instead of searching for and making copies of documents, and that has saved both time and money. Since implementation, I estimate that we’ve achieved a return on investment of at least 10-15x.
For general accounting, journal entries are scanned in, as are all bank transactions. Purchasing uses electronic document management for contracts and leases, purchase card agreements that employees sign, as well as purchase card statements and receipts.
We have also implemented it in our warehouse. They scan in all of the customer-return paperwork for anything that comes back. Data is filed using the Return Merchandise Authorization (RMA) number that was entered into the system when the customer return was first arranged.
Warehouse employees even upload digital photos of any damaged product, which is also associated with the original RMA document. We can send these digital photos to the customer and show them the damage, or if it’s a freight claim, we can use the photos to support that.
We also use DataLink for both HR payroll and our ERP system so that keeps things consistent. The company uses folder structures to file employees’ documents and, because they use a standard template, authorized staff can search by employee name or ID number and find needed information quickly and securely.
System security is critically important given the broad, company-wide adoption of the docSTAR system. We have very strict security restrictions. We tie security—who is able to see what in docSTAR—to an individual. So information about vendors or HR information, for instance, is only viewable by people who are authorized to see it. DataLink knows the security class and protects documents from unauthorized viewing.
Beyond that, however, we don’t really have restrictions on who can use the system. If there is a good business case to have documents in docSTAR, then we will build a process around it. Over the past several years, we have been able to identify many places where the system can add value.
The docSTAR system’s flexibility and, more importantly, its ease of use helped drive this growth. There’s virtually no training involved. We have many different locations but with docSTAR, geography it doesn’t seem to separate us like it used to. Everyone can look at things in the system—whether they’re at a distribution center or at a facility in Ohio or in another department here in Cohoes.
We continue to capture greater efficiencies through the docSTAR system. Recently, we successfully upgraded to version 3eleven (3.11), something that will improve workflows companywide.
As long-term users of docSTAR, our satisfaction continues to be high. Its ease of installation and ease of use are big factors. Plus, the price was right. It was a product that does exactly what we needed it to do.