Leverage Existing Clients For New Document Management Sales
By creating detailed process maps of its clientâ€™s information workflow, this integrator won a $200,000 contract with a billion-dollar medical device manufacturer.
Common knowledge says it is easier to keep a client than find a new one. How often though do you look for new business opportunities within your existing clients? Imaging Office Systems, Inc. (IOS) did and gained $350,000 worth of new business.
For nine years, IOS has worked with the accounts payable department of a billion-dollar medical device manufacturer. In the summer of 2007, the client needed help streamlining how it processed sales orders. Leveraging its existing relationship with the AP department, IOS was introduced to the sales order processing department. As a result, IOS designed a proposal for a more efficient workflow and won the $200,000 six-month contract.
At the time, the manufacturer processed incoming sales orders directly from paper faxes. Once received, the orders had to be sorted, distributed among 11 people in the department, and manually keyed into the company's order entry system. "Because of the manual effort involved in this process, the company wasn't meeting their internal goal of processing and shipping all orders within 24 hours," explains Steve Nimon, regional sales manager of IOS. Additionally, the manufacturer was faced with having to add more people to handle the expected 20% sales growth.
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IOS began by mapping its client's sales order process. IOS project managers followed the sales orders from the time they were received on the fax until the order was completed and shipped. The integrator analyzed every aspect of the process including the cycle time to sort the orders, how the client determined which orders went to which order entry person, daily order volume, and exceptions. IOS also documented what parts of the order were entered into the system, how many corrections were processed, and the part numbers for those corrections. "This information allowed us to work with ReadSoft to develop a customized solution to handle the incoming fax orders," states Nimon. "It also enabled IOS to design the most efficient workflow to process the sales orders."
IOS developed an on-site proof of concept of the system to determine if any changes needed to be made to meet the client's requirements. "This testing served two purposes; first, it identified a few changes we needed to make in the design to meet the client's processing times," details Nimon. "Second, it allowed us to determine the estimated payback of the system." The manufacturer expects the system to pay for itself in less than two years.
In the first step of the solution IOS developed, the manufacturer receives its orders on a Verizon fax server. Using the ReadSoft Fax Manager, the client manually breaks the sales orders into single- and multipage sales orders. It then uses OCR (optical character recognition) on the fax cover sheet for each order to extract the customer name, phone number, and fax number. The software then assigns document ID numbers to the sales orders and sends them to the ReadSoft Invoices application for processing.
The system then extracts specific fields from each sales order including part number, quantity, unit price, and total price. During this process, the software performs a database lookup based on the extracted customer number and pulls delivery information from the client's order entry system. The manufacturer then verifies and corrects any questionable data. The data is then transferred to the order entry system. Simultaneously, the sales orders, including cover pages and index data, are sent to the EMC Application Xtender imaging system. In the last step, an automatic update occurs in the Application Xtender database. From the client's order entry system, the document ID number and sales order number are sent to the Application Xtender database. Once received, the sales order number is automatically added to the Application Xtender system for retrieval. "This allows our client to retrieve orders by sales order number even though that number is not created until after the order is complete," says Nimon.
As a result of the installation, IOS' client is meeting its requirement of processing and shipping all orders within 24 hours. The company could reduce its labor in the sales order processing department by 50% — but it won't. "Over the six-months of this project, our client saw nearly a 20% growth in order volume from 1,400 orders per day to 1,700 orders per day," explains Nimon. "This new system allows them to grow without having to hire more people."
IOS continues to grow its business with existing clients. Based on the results of this installation, the medical device manufacturer will award IOS a $150,000 contract to expand the solution to another department. The integrator is also talking with its client's location in Ireland about a similar installation.