Canvas is the foundation of many great works of art. For a number of years, Tara Materials has been a major supplier of canvas. Its leading product line, Fredrix, was first manufactured in 1868. Tara has two factories in Tijuana, California and Lawrenceville, Georgia that assemble more than three million pieces of stretched canvas and make about half a million yards of coated canvas each year.
Challenges with Managing Paper Documents
Tara Materials used to process all of its business transactions on paper. The problem was that paper is bulky. The company’s documents filled a massive wall of filing cabinets. Worse, the storage requirements never stopped growing.
The costs associated with storing all of those documents were significant enough, but they paled in comparison to the human resource costs associated with handling paper.
Accessing paper documents when employees and the documents were in different locations was also a cumbersome, time-consuming exercise. In the past, someone who was on the road didn’t have document access. They had to call in, request the document, wait for someone to find it, and have that person fax it to them.
Tara Materials wanted a solution to these document storage, management, and access issues. The answer was document scanning and digital storage, process and workflow management, and invoice scanning and processing solutions.
Eliminating Paper, Boosting Productivity with a Document Management Solution
Tara Materials uses HelpSystems solutions for IBM i to scan, manage, and store all documents associated with its sales transactions, including order acknowledgements, invoices, and shipping documents. In addition, the company uses HelpSystems solutions to manage all of the “paperwork” associated with its purchases from other vendors, including purchase orders, receiving documents, vendor invoices, and copies of checks.
The company also uses software from HelpSystems for various other documents such as vendor agreements, certificates of origin, and many of the miscellaneous business documents that individual employees use.
How Document Management Solutions Increased Efficiency
“The benefit of HelpSystems solutions that I value the most is that they give access to the information I need—anywhere, anytime,” said David Twite, president of Tara Materials. “And it’s efficient. I don’t have to involve anyone else. I can just call up the information.”
The “anywhere, anytime” capability is particularly helpful for a company with operations in multiple locations. For example, Tara’s accounts payable person is in San Diego, but most of the accounting team is in Georgia. Despite this geographically dispersed structure, invoices and packing slips can be entered into their HelpSystems software wherever they arrive. These documents are then instantly available to all authorized personnel who need to access them.
Many of the benefits of HelpSystems solutions have resulted in significant “soft cost” reductions. For example, employees used to spend hours filing and retrieving paper documents. All of that work is now done electronically, with little or no manual effort. In addition, physical documents were often lost when they were accidentally placed in the wrong folder, but that is now a thing of the past. There have also been “hard cost” savings. For example, the company is now buying a lot less paper and ink. In addition, it has eliminated 12 inkjet printers and sold off 14 file cabinets.
Another significant, although unquantifiable, value that HelpSystems software delivers is that “On some level, we look more professional as an organization,” noted Twite. “If a customer calls in and says there is a discrepancy on their order, the customer service rep can call up the packing slip and the pick ticket that the warehouse person used to count and collect the boxes. That whole pack of information can be emailed to the customer in 30 seconds. That efficiency is good for us, it’s good for the customer, and it reflects well on our company."
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12 inkjet printers and 14 file cabinets eliminated
Significantly less paper and ink needed
Little-to-no manual effort required to file and retrieve documents