In the opening of Twelfth Night Shakespeare wrote, “If music be the food of love, play on.” Roland Corporation has been helping musicians do exactly that for more than 38 years. The U.S. subsidiary (Roland) of this leading manufacturer and distributor of electronic musical instruments is based in Los Angeles and employs approximately 165 people across America. Its parent company is located in Japan.
Roland’s product range includes keyboards and synthesizers, guitar products, electronic percussion kits, digital recording equipment, amplifiers, and audio processing devices.
Out of Compliance and Buried in Paper
Traditionally, the road between an instrument-maker and music-makers was paved, in part, with paper. For example, Roland stores over 200,000 pages of legal documents alone. Because they were stored on paper, searching through them to find a specific document was time consuming.
In addition, keeping track of the data stored in paper documents—and acting on them in a timely fashion—was also challenging. For instance, Roland loans instruments to artists; those instruments are supposed to be returned by a certain date, but that does not always occur as planned. Tracking and following up on those late returns was difficult when the information existed primarily in paper documents.
Roland must also be JSOX-compliant, which requires vigilant storage and careful management of all documents required by auditors. Yet, rigorous control and easy access to paper documents was cumbersome and difficult.
With more than 11,000 documents of all kinds stored in filing cabinets, paper was consuming considerable space—a requirement that threatened to grow over time. Thus, there was also a space cost associated with storing all of that paper. Roland wanted faster retrieval of critical documents, and to get the cost of storage under control.
Using Webdocs to Stay Efficient and Compliant
Roland solved these challenges with the help of Webdocs, a complete document management solution from HelpSystems.
Webdocs allows organizations to store document images on IBM i-based or PC servers. The images can then be accessed using up to 30 key values. Those keys can be entered manually or Webdocs can automatically extract them from bar codes 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.
Roland’s immediate goal was to begin using Webdocs to manage legal documents, such as contracts and patent filings. Once that was in place, the company moved on to other areas where Webdocs could help improve productivity, better manage the business and enhance information flows.
Now that Roland stores instrument loan forms in Webdocs it can easily search for documents based on the required return date. This allows for better tracking of instrument loans, which helps employees more effectively follow up on overdue returns. In turn, this permits Roland to keep fewer instruments in its loan inventory, thereby reducing the costs of that inventory.
Webdocs also helps to make business processes more efficient. For instance, when a freight damage claim is filed, employees can call up all of the relevant documents, including photographs and handwritten notes, right on their desktops. There is no longer any need to go to filing cabinets and hunt down the paperwork – which might, in fact, not be in the filing cabinet when it is needed. Instead, it might be sitting on someone else’s desk. In that case, the person handling the damage claim would have to manually search for the documents. Webdocs eliminates all of these time-wasters by providing online access to electronic document images.
In addition, unlike paper documents, electronic documents can’t be lost. Webdocs’ security features make it virtually impossible for documents to be maliciously or inadvertently destroyed or altered. This helps Roland fulfill its JSOX obligations.
“We use Webdocs to help manage the business in many ways,” said Dave Williams, IT director at Roland. “It’s very helpful for us in terms of managing information, thereby saving time and money. I can’t tell you exactly how many hours we’ve saved, but we see it every day. We know that by using Webdocs we’re being as efficient as possible, and we’re saving time every single day.”
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