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Performing a Document Workflow Analysis

26 Nov, 2007 By: Rob Gilbert imageSource

Performing a Document Workflow Analysis

In proposing a comprehensive solution for a prospect, completing an audit of
existing equipment is only one piece of the puzzle.  Equally as important is the
successful completion of a Document Workflow Analysis.  A properly conducted
analysis will arm you with all of the information you need to:

  • Set yourself apart from your competition
  • Understand the unique objectives and challenges the prospect faces
  • Build a relationship with the prospect based on comprehensive needs
  • Create a complete and thorough solution

Let’s take a look at the process for a document workflow analysis.  Setting
an appointment with the prospect is the critical first step.  In your first
appointment you should be prepared to discuss with the prospect the reason for
the analysis.  The purpose of course is to understand the total current
situation that exists.    It’s at this point that you outline the benefits of a
workflow analysis – It validates whether or not your current expenses meet
industry standards, reveals areas where your company can be more cost effective,
it provides a point of view from industry experts, and introduces you to new
ideas and solutions.

You should also discuss the process that will be followed in gathering the
data.   You should then set a timeline with the prospect that includes dates for
performing a beginning and ending audit of the prospect’s network, a date to
perform a walkthrough of the facility, and a date to return to present your
findings.   Setting these expectations upfront will help the prospect become a
partner in this relationship, and help you guard against scheduling conflicts
when the time comes to present your solution.  It is also a good idea to set
expectation levels at this point. 

A list of the data that you will need access to is helpful to have including
volumes on all document imaging equipment (copiers, faxes, printers, color),
invoices for maintenance agreements for all equipment, outsourcing invoices
(monthly costs and volumes for black and color), lease documents for all
equipment, and an understanding of objectives and challenges for all decision
makers involved.  Having a sample document analysis handout to give the prospect
is also a good idea, as it will show them the information you intend to provide
to them, and the format they can expect to see it in. 

Valuable Steps

Let’s look more closely at the process for gathering data in the workflow
analysis.  The first step is to determine the prospect’s objectives and
challenges, as mentioned above.  This is where you will learn about what
obstacles face the prospect, what strategic initiatives they are considering,
what concerns they have with existing equipment, etc.  I also like to review the
mission statement of the company to see what it has in common with my own and
how I can position those commonalities in my conversation.      

The next step is a complete inventory of existing equipment.  The use of a
comprehensive audit key will help greatly here.  In addition, however, a
walkthrough is still the most effective way of obtaining all of the equipment
data available.  Once the audit and walkthrough are done, you will analyze
costs.  This is most effectively done with a TCO tool, such as the Compass
Opportunity Manager.  Once data is input, you will be able to then review
monthly volumes on all output devices, track and account for outsourcing, and
assign a realistic TCO – total cost of ownership to existing equipment.  You
then want to check productivity in key areas, determine soft cost savings,
analyze document workflow and prepare a summary of your findings.  You are now
in a position to mine the data that you have collected in order to completely
understand what the prospect’s current costs are.  You are also positioned to
recommend whatever solution you deem appropriate based on the prospect’s needs,
your company strategy – such as taking over an existing fleet of printers or
replacing them with new equipment, re-aligning printers to more productive
areas, re-directing traffic flow to better utilize existing hardware, etc. 

Once findings are complete, they should be put into a cohesive Workflow
Analysis Summary and be presented to the prospect in the timeline already
established early in the process.  It is also helpful for sales reps to be armed
with frequently asked questions such as “how much does this cost?”  “How long
does it take?”  Why do you need to look at our invoices and contracts?”  etc.
and answers based on your company philosophy and regional experience.  The sales
process is a little longer than a traditional “box” sale, but the information
you get and the total solution  / GP that you gain is immeasurable. 

Remember that your goal is to help the prospect control, manage, and reduce
costs over their existing situation, and to fix variable costs that exist
today.  They are already spending the money.  We can help them spend it more

Rob Gilbert, Sr. – DSM Fleet Management Services, came to Compass with 20
years experience in the office equipment industry, working as a sales rep,
senior rep and major account manager for an independent dealership in Va., Sales
Manager for Ikon for 5 years, and as Director of Sales for an independent dealer
acquired by Global Services.  Rob was Image Management Certified by the Ricoh
Corporation, and has a full understanding of CPP programs from consultation to

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