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Case Study DocuWare: Efficiency Earns a High Grade

5 Nov, 2013

A nine location charter school installed DocuWare to streamline their multi-step invoice approval process. By reducing processing time, increasing transparency and allowing all locations to input and view documentation, their purchasing and payables processes have been optimized.

Organization: Propel Schools
Industry: Education
Location: Pennsylvania, USA
Application: Accounting
Document Types: Invoices, PO, packing slips, checks

Propel Schools is a not-for-profit charter school organization founded to bring high performance educational options to Western Pennsylvania families. Propel operates nine charter schools, each with a strong focus on technology integration and creative arts, located in and around Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Propel’s six promising principles and supportive powerful practices provide the structure and common language for high student achievement.  As a charter school, Propel is not part of a local school district and each school hires its own teachers. The school is free of charge and must accept all students who wish to enroll, subject to space availability.

Propel Schools serve 3,000 students in grades K-12 with a staff of 400. With nine campuses ordering and receiving their own supplies, the central office needed to invest in a technology that would allow them to effectively manage their purchasing and approval process.


After careful consideration, Darryl Robinson the school’s Business Manager, chose to install DocuWare and change their work processes. Now each school inputs their own packing slips and invoices, and the central business office processes the documents electronically.

Prior to implementing DocuWare, invoices, packing slips and purchase orders were sent through inter-office mail to the central business office for processing.  The Accounting Department would match up the documents and make a copy of each invoice needing approval, then using inter-office mail, the paper documents were passed from desk to desk for approval.  Many invoices needed multiple signatures before being approved for payment and the accounting staff would often have to call around to track down invoices that were “lost” in someone’s in-basket.  Supporting documents were physically stored in the central business office and could not be accessed from any of Propel’s nine locations.

DocuWare was installed and each school was equipped with either a Fujitsu fi6130z or Xerox 7345 scanner and a new electronic approval workflow was established. Today each school scans its own documents and the Accounting staff can quickly and easily process and route them electronically for approval.


Propel’s approval process is very transparent as the staff can easily view which invoices are outstanding and where they are in the approval process. With DocuWare in place, invoices never need to be recopied and resent; a quick email reminder is all that is needed to move the process along. Approval time has dropped from up to two weeks to just a few days.

When Robinson is signing checks, he can reference supporting documentation in DocuWare. This has eliminated a mountain of paperwork on his desk and furthermore, has streamlined the process from four hours to one hour.

“DocuWare is helping our business office run much smoother. I love this program because it provides my staff with quick, easy access to the information we need and that makes our department look good,” said Robinson.

Vendor calls to request information about a payment can now be answered immediately since the staff has complete information at their fingertips, including documentation containing the dates of when a shipment was ordered, received and paid.  Prior to DocuWare, finding this information would have taken as long as 15 minutes per request. Today, the staff can use that time for more proactive tasks.


Because of DocuWare’s modular nature, Propel can integrate DocuWare with CSIU, their highly specialized accounting solution used in schools districts in Pennsylvania as well as with other internal systems.  The new electronic invoice approval workflow was so successful that Propel is planning to expand DocuWare to manage student and HR records.

(Implementation Partner, Toshiba Business Solutions Eastern Region. Pittsburgh, PA).

At A Glance

Streamline the multi-step invoice approval workflow
Improve information access across 9 locations
Reduce document retrieval time

Reduced invoice approval time
Electronic approval process provided transparency
Instant access to information improved vendor relations

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