Introducing Document Imaging into the Proof of Delivery Process
An industry leading logistics and warehousing organization that operates one of the largest temperature-controlled distribution networks in North America is driven by continued growth in frozen and chilled food consumption and by increased outsourcing of supply chain services. Its plan for strong, continued growth includes increasing capacity in major census zones, expanding its third-party logistics business, and acquiring operations in key markets that complement its existing network.
As a result of its continued corporate growth, and continued acquisition of businesses, the organization has seen its shipment volumes and related paper-based Proof of Delivery document collection grow exponentially.
With the significant implications that the Proof of Delivery process has on both customer satisfaction and accounts receivable cycles, the organization targeted this process for automation through the introduction of imaging technology.
In a paper-based environment, resolving a customer inquiry meant searching through a file room full of paper-based documentation, only to discover that a needed file was in use by someone else, leading to delays in responding to the inquiry.
Numerous document types, including Invoices, Internal and External PODs, Lumper Receipts, Charge Tickets, Pallet Control Documents, Driver Manifests, and Warehouse Receipts are processed through multiple document scanning classes using Kofax’s Ascent Capture document and data capture software. An average of 8,000 images are being imaged on a daily basis, and this volume is expected to increase significantly over the next year as more locations are added.
With the introduction of Document Imaging technology, retrieving an invoice, and all of its supporting documentation, now requires only a few mouse clicks, allowing Customer Service Representatives to resolve most customer inquiries during the initial contact.
Document Imaging is decentralized across the organization’s more than 30 remote warehouse locations using multi-function devices. All Document Imaging is managed centrally, with indexing also centralized.
Additionally, internally generated documents generated by the organization’s ERP system are also automatically imported and indexed into the Imaging System, using a custom auto-import utility, developed by CDIT. Converted documents are indexed, through a process that has been largely automated using barcode recognition and through integration with the organization’s Warehouse Management System. Barcode values are used to access POD details from the ERP database, and this metadata information is released into a leading Document Management System. This Document Management System controls and monitors the storage of digital images on Write Once Read Many (WORM) optical media, housed in an optical jukebox.
Search and retrieval of electronic documents is facilitated through a customized client software application, which allows flexible searches on dates, document types and document specific metadata. To facilitate the organization of transactionspecific files, a folder-generating application places all documents related by a common reference number into a folder, so that all files related to a transaction can be retrieved as a logical unit.
To further leverage its investment in Document Imaging technology, the organization also engaged CDIT to image-enable its existing ERP system. Imageenabling this system has allowed users, with the simple click of a mouse, to view document images managed by the document management system.
With the introduction of the Document Imaging, retrieving an invoice, and all of its supporting documentation, now requires only a few mouse clicks, allowing Customer Service Representatives to resolve most customer inquiries during the initial contact.
Additionally, the organization has reduced their invoicing time by 4-5 days, which is directly attributable to the fact that they no longer need to photocopy all of their PODs to be included with the invoices. With the implemented system, they now know they can e-mail or fax copies with little effort when they are required.
Enhanced customer service offerings is only one of the benefits realized by the introduction of Document Imaging technology. The organization has also dramatically reduced its onsite paper storage, photocopying costs, and time spent looking for PODs, as well as reduced its number of written-off shipments.