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Client Case Study: Expressway Transport

14 Oct, 2010 By: Editorial Staff imageSource

Client Case Study: Expressway Transport

DocuWare is a global provider of an integrated document management solution that can automate business processes by managing any type of document, regardless of format or source, in a central document pool. Integrated records management ensures that all access is secure, controlled, and logged. Using the Internet, the central document pool is available around the clock to any authorized user, no matter where they are located in the world – and this solution is available to a variety of industries around the globe. The following case study spotlights the new solution for Expressway Transport:  

Road to Success or Delivering
Expressway Transport processes nearly 12,000 shipments per year, generating a mountain of paperwork required to dispatch, deliver and invoice customers from across the United States.  Using DocuWare, they have eliminated 40+ hours per month of manual filing, removed eight file cabinets and improved the time required to process each shipment, resulting in a Return on Investment (ROI) of approximately six months.

Initial Situation
Expressway Transport is a privately-held general commodities carrier based in Northern California. It was founded 34 years ago to provide service to the San Francisco Bay Area and the Los Angeles Basin. Since those early days, they have grown their business to include service to California, Oregon, Washington, Nevada and Arizona.

Each shipment generates a variety of very important documents, including the dispatch papers, hand tag, order, bill of lading, proof of delivery, and reports.  These documents are required to generate customer invoices and satisfy compliance requirements by the US Department of Transportation (DOT).  In the old world of paper, dispatchers would receive shipment requests in a variety of forms including fax, e-mail, and phone. If the request was already in paper form, it would be stamped and annotated.  If it was in electronic form, such as e-mail, it would be printed on paper, stamped and annotated.  When there was a rush order, the dispatcher would have to personally communicate with various departments to confirm they understood the urgency and details, taking up valuable time that could have been spent taking more requests. Eventually, the request would be entered into their Varipro Systems business application so that an order can be generated. The order, along with the supporting documentation would become a file that would be sent over to the billing department to wait for the proof of delivery.

The billing department would gather documents from returning drivers, check for accuracy and then create customer invoices. Partial files were kept out until completed, taking up valuable desk space and making them difficult to find by others in the office. Billing processors would spend more than two hours per day filing the documents away. If a document was required by another employee or department, they would have to go to the file cabinets to retrieve it. If it wasn’t there, they would have to search for it among the various employees and departments that might have it.  If a call came in the middle of the night that the driver documentation was insufficient to complete a pick up or drop off, the supervisor on call would have to travel to the office to pull the file and correct the discrepancy.

Expressway Transport wanted to implement a document management system to decrease the time and cost to process shipments from dispatch to invoice. They invested in DocuWare to create a central electronic document repository that included automatic indexing with OCR (Optical Character Recognition) and barcodes, electronic baskets for efficient movement of documents between departments and integration with Varipro Systems for quick and easy access of documents.  

"By having an electronic audit trail, employees know where all the files are at all times."

With DocuWare and a Savin MFP, the dispatch request begins and ends in electronic form. Faxes are now captured electronically, e-mail is moved into DocuWare seamlessly and any other paper documents are scanned and appended to the file with just a few clicks. A dispatcher stamps the request, adding any important details and then routes it to the next person in the process through the electronic basket system.

There are separate baskets for normal and rush, eliminating calls to individual departments.
Additional notes, highlights or other annotations are added as a layer over the original, unalterable electronic document. If a customer wants a copy of the request, it is quickly e-mailed or e-faxed. Everyone with pre-defined permission can access the file as needed without picking up the phone or walking around the office.

The order is still generated from Varipro Systems in paper form but it includes a special barcode that references the order number in the database. When the bills of lading and other supporting documents return with the driver, they are scanned through at the end of the day in one batch run. Using the barcode, documents are immediately broken into separate files, one for each transport.  The barcode also enables information to be extracted from the documents and automatically entered into DocuWare. The remainder of the indexing data is copied from Varipro Systems to DocuWare using an automated system. From that moment forward, authorized users can search the files using a variety of customized indexing data points. The invoice is then generated and e-mailed to the customer, while a copy is electronically stored in DocuWare. 

User Benefits
On an individual level, users have quick and easy access to the information they need to do their work. There is less paper stacked up around the office, giving employees a sense of calm and control while tackling complex requests for their customers. “There is literally less paper in the office,” says Jennifer Arrington, Office Manager. “This means less clutter around the office, but it also means less mental clutter too. In this day and age, the Information Age, employees deal with information swirling around us all day long and DocuWare helps us organize it in a way that is easy for everyone to use.”
An ongoing commitment to improve the process is evident, as employees at all stages of the process look for ways to make the electronic workflow  run even more efficiently, adding to a sense of employee ownership and satisfaction.

Department Benefits
When the office gets busy, everyone pitches in, even the President. With their new solution in place, he can simply open Varipro Systems and with one keystroke and have access to all the documents for a customer order. By having an electronic audit trail, employees know where all the files are at all times and which department updated them last, eliminating bottlenecks. Additionally, supervisors can access documents remotely via the DocuWare Web Client application, eliminating the need to come into the office when a driver is having trouble delivering a load in another time zone.

Corporate Benefits
Employees no longer spend time logging and handling paper, allowing them more time on customer service. Their new system also enables audits to be performed very efficiently since the information can be gathered and burned to a DVD in minutes. These improvements have led to better efficiencies and generated a Return on Investment of only six months. Expressway Transport is so happy with their DocuWare system that they have moved beyond the initial application and are now using it for paystubs, payables, human resource records, independent contractor statements, equipment maintenance records, insurance documents, and more.  As they reduce their dependency on paper, they are meeting their social responsibility initiative.

To sum up the results of their new document management system, Frank Sousa, President of Expressway Transport says it best: “Ultimately, it’s our customers who benefit. They already trust us with their business and like working with us; but in this competitive economy, we wanted to make it even easier for them to turn to us for their transportation needs. Our systems make us more efficient when responding to their needs.”

Expressway Transport

Location: California (USA)
Field of application: Accounting
Type of Documents: Delivery documents including: dispatch papers, hand tag, order, bill of lading, proof of delivery, and reports

The Task
•  Quick, easy access to a transaction’s related documents
Improve customer service
•   Integrate with existing software system

The Benefits
•   Central filing system
•   Instant access to PODs improved cash flow
•   Reallocated man-hours to
revenue generating activities
•   Eliminated file cabinets, increasing
office space

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