EBP Supply Solutions is a family-owned company founded in 1918 that provides commercial cleaning and food service supplies to customers in the eastern United States. They distribute out of three warehouses and have 50 sales reps serving the region. Their IT team is continuously looking for ways to improve processes and be more efficient.
Identifying the Need for a Document Management Solution
Around 2003, the initial situation that led EBP’s IT team to find a document management solution was their reporting process. Reports were printed on green-bar paper and delivered to the desks of recipients in three buildings. Several month-end reports would print from their IBM i (AS/400, iSeries) for their 50 sales reps, and each report was several hundred pages. In order to break the reports out by sales rep, someone had to monitor the IBM printer as it churned out hundreds of pages of spool files, separate them manually by rep, and distribute them manually.
They first started using HelpSystems software to convert those spool files to a PDF and email them to recipients, eliminating paper and allowing the recipient to view it on a mobile device. They also used the Webdocs Creation & Delivery report splitter to automatically separate and email spool file reports by sales rep. The sales reps got their reports faster, and no one had to spend hours by the printer watching the reports to separate them out manually by rep.
Around the same time, they started using Webdocs to create Excel files out of IBM i reports and email them, allowing the recipients to use and analyze the data much more easily than in a spool file.
Continuing Document Process Improvement
EBP has approximately 30,000 customers, each getting supplies on a different delivery schedule. Some get daily service, some weekly, and some monthly. EBP sends out about 50 delivery trucks every day to make deliveries to customers, transporting a total of about 700-800 orders split between them. Every single order needs a delivery ticket and an invoice. EBP was also printing several thousand AR statements per month. Every delivery ticket, invoice, and AR statement had to be printed out individually, totaling tens of thousands of documents each month.
In order to make their processes more efficient and to make these documents more professional looking, they started using Webdocs document management system in conjunction with a laser printer to create neat, professional-looking invoices, tickets, and statements branded with their logos.
Next, EBP’s CFO told the IT team that the finance department was inundated with requests for proofs of delivery (PODs). When customers requested PODs, they would have to print the signed delivery ticket, reprint the invoice from their ERP, take both to the printer to scan them into a single PDF, and email it to the customer.
But that wasn’t an efficient process, so they asked the HelpSystems team to help them design a new process. Now, when a delivery ticket is created, an invoice is also automatically created. Within 24 hours, when the signed delivery ticket is scanned as a POD, Webdocs automatically matches it with the invoice and emails it to the customer as proof of delivery.
In order to further serve customers with self-service access to their account documents, EBP also plans to integrate their eCommerce site with Webdocs so customers can access their invoices and PODs and merge documents as needed.
Chief Information Officer Jack Jurkowski says that the process is an improvement because customers always want their POD and to access other documents on demand. Before, getting those documents would have to involve Customer Service and Accounting, but now customers will be able to get them much faster, on their own time.
Webdocs easily integrated to the SQL database that housed the images of the PODs, Jurkowski says. “HelpSystems tools are just so easy to work with.”
Bringing All the Documents Together
EBP had been using an image management system alongside Webdocs and needed to bring all their documents together in one electronic document management system. From their positive experience with HelpSystems, they knew that Webdocs would be well-supported and decided to migrate everything from the previous system since the previous vendor wasn’t prepared to help them improve the image management system to suit their needs.
“The HelpSystems staff went way above and beyond. They really embraced this project and spent a lot of time thinking about it. HelpSystems was able to go into their system and figure out where everything was and pull it out. That’s going to allow us to retire a system that’s been in use for 20 years.” – Jack Jurkowski, Chief Information Officer
Before bringing together all documents in Webdocs, anyone looking for a document or data had to really know what they were looking for and understand the system in order to find it. For the sales force there was a 3rd party application hard-coded into the ERP to help them retrieve their documents, but they had to really know the ERP system in order to find anything. Now with document indexing and an easy-to-use search function, users simply log in and find what they’re looking for. “It’s a very intuitive way for them to search and gather the information they need to service their customers.” – Elaine Norton, Director of IT Operations
What’s Next for Document Processes and Automation
The team at EBP recently upgraded Webdocs after seeing a demo of the new functionality and were pleased with how easy the process was. Now they can preview documents to help make searching faster and easier.
EBP is using other HelpSystems solutions as well. They just started using Robot Space and Halcyon. They needed a way to monitor the IFS, which Robot Space does, and Halcyon monitors server problems. As they move forward, the team is always looking for more ways to be efficient and automate processes.
In the future, they’ll be working on implementing electronic signature capture for their delivery tickets. As they’ve changed their processes and added to their use of Webdocs, they’ve found the HelpSystems technical support staff invaluable. Lisa Viera, Senior Systems Analyst says, “Everybody’s been fantastic. No issues ever with anyone. Very responsive, knowledgeable. If they need to pull someone else in, they do it right away. Couldn’t really ask for more in terms of cooperation.”
EBP saw incremental improvement by tackling one document project at a time. What could your IT team do to streamline document processes at your organization? Schedule a demo to talk to our experts about HelpSystems solutions.
Automated and digitized IBM i (AS/400, iSeries) sales reports
Streamlined invoice, delivery ticket, and POD processes for improved customer service
Brought all documents and images together into one document management system