Do you have a hankering for a quick meal that’s not the same old burger? If so, Carisch, Inc. can satisfy your hunger at one of its 77 Arby’s fast food franchises in Minnesota, North Dakota, Montana, Wisconsin, Florida, Iowa and Nebraska.
Based in Wayzata, Minnesota, Carisch is a privately held company that employs approximately 1,700 people.
Paperwork that Presents a Challenge
Carisch buys a lot of goods and services for its Arby’s stores. And a lot of purchases translate into a lot of invoices. Managing all of that documentation can be an expensive burden when it’s stored on paper.
Many of the services used at Carisch’s various Arby’s restaurants are contracted locally. Examples include window cleaning, carpet cleaning, snow plowing, pest control, garbage collection, and Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning (HVAC) maintenance.
Obviously, Carisch wants to optimize its strategic sourcing process and ensure that each store gets the best value for its contract expenditures. Doing so requires comparing the various local expenditures to determine if any are out‐of‐line with the norms across all stores. However, analyzing data on paper is difficult and time‐consuming.
Managing employee records was another challenge for Carisch. High employee turnover rates are common in service industries. Consequently, Carisch must manage paperwork for considerably more than the approximately 1,700 employees it usually has on the payroll at any one time. For example, the company typically produces about 4,200 W‐2 employee tax forms every year.
Carisch needed a solution that would lower the cost of managing its documents, while also providing a better means to analyze the data on them. The company met these needs with Webdocs from HelpSystems Document Management (RJS).
A Smart Document Management System
Webdocs, which is available in versions that run on Microsoft Windows‐based servers as well as IBM i servers, allows organizations to electronically store and manage document images and other files, such as PC files, emails and computer‐ generated reports. The documents can then be accessed using up to 10 keys or through a full‐text search. When the documents are stored, the keys can be entered manually or Webdocs can automatically extract them from barcodes or textual data appearing within the images.
Once loaded into the system, authorized personnel can use a standard Web browser to access the images over the Internet from anywhere in the world.
Carisch looked at a couple of other software options. What swayed the company toward Webdocs was its ease of use and low Total Cost of Ownership (TCO).
Webdocs low TCO is a result of HelpSystems pricing model. Other vendors that Carisch evaluated priced features “à la carte.” After adding up the price for all of the features that the company wanted to use, the total cost was higher than the all‐in price for Webdocs.
What’s more, with Webdocs, if Carisch wants to use additional features in the future it can just start using them, without incurring any additional cost. In contrast, the other vendors would have required that Carisch buy separate licenses for those features before using them.
HelpSystems installed the Windows version of Webdocs within a couple of hours. Carisch was then up and running right away.
Mark Gregory, CFO at Carisch, reports that managing Webdocs on a day‐to‐day basis is also simple. “It’s easy to set up users and tell Webdocs what folders each user has rights to use. For example, it’s easy to say who can access the accounts payable documents and what invoices they can see. And we can define those access rights down to the store level.”
Today, barcodes are placed on invoices when they arrive at Carisch. The invoices are then scanned into Webdocs, which automatically recognizes the barcode.
To ensure that no documents inadvertently bypass the scanning process, when an accounts payable employee tries to enter an invoice into the company’s accounting software by typing the barcode number in, the software interfaces with Webdocs. If Webdocs can’t find the scanned document, the accounting system will not accept the invoice.
Carisch follows a similar procedure for its employee documents. Employment applications, employee reviews and warnings, and W‐2 and I‐9 forms are all printed with barcodes and then scanned into Webdocs. From that point, all of the documents are all available online to authorized personnel. Now human resource personnel, regional managers and general managers all have instant online access to documents to insure that company policies are being followed.
Webdocs Helps Carisch Save $250,000
Carisch adopted Webdocs with the expectation that it would pay for itself through the labor efficiencies that could be achieved by not having to file paper invoices. Webdocs fulfilled that objective and much more.
For example, because all of the related documents are stored in Webdocs, investigating unusual items that show up in the company’s financial statements is now much easier. This allows Carisch to continually improve the company’s strategic sourcing practices.
“We noticed that some stores were running at $10,000 a year for contract services, while other stores were running at $5,000,” explained Gregory. “We sent an e‐mail to all of our regional managers and had them investigate why there were differences. Hyperlinks in the general ledgers allowed the regional managers to view the relevant invoices in Webdocs. As a result of doing this investigation we saved $250,000.”
Gathering disparate documents for analysis is also a lot easier with Webdocs. Carisch hired a consultant to look for cost savings in the company’s garbage collection contracts. The consultant requested copies of all of the garbage bills for the previous year. Using Webdocs, the requested documents were assembled in about one hour. Gregory estimates that it would have taken a few days to assemble them if the invoices had been stored on paper. As a result of the consultant’s analysis, Carisch was able to reduce its garbage collection costs by $30,000 per year.
Gregory cites interactions with bankers as another example of how Webdocs streamlines document management. When Carisch seeks a loan, bankers often want to see three years’ worth of tax returns and financial statements. Now, when Gregory is on the phone with a banker, he can quickly access the required documents in Webdocs and email them to the banker before he even ends the call.
Gregory also appreciates the flexibility and comprehensiveness of Webdocs. “The more you use Webdocs, the more uses you find for the software,” he said. Beyond the company’s original intent for the software, “Carisch also uses Webdocs to store contracts, tax returns, financial statements from our external auditors, and leases.”
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