Humphrey Products Company, a pneumatic valve manufacturer based in Michigan, has been in business since 1901. They supply valves used in multiple industries, from medical to transportation, to conveying applications. They were using a Windows-based document management system (DMS) that had limited functionality and still required hard copies for document routing. So when Microsoft bought out the software they had been using and stopped supporting it, Humphrey knew it was time for a change.
Looking for the Right Solution
Patty Billingsley, IT Manager at Humphrey, said they were looking for a document management solution with more robust capabilities than their previous software. In particular, they needed a way to manage their engineering drawings. Not only did there need to be a centralized storage location, but it was important to have version control to ensure that workers on the shop floor were using the latest drawing to create the valves.
Billingsley and a cross-functional team evaluated a few different solutions, including Webdocs from HelpSystems (RJS Software prior to its acquisition by HelpSystems) and found that Webdocs fit their needs best. Anyone with authority and internet could easily pull various types of documents up within the software and interface with or pull data from the IBM i system.
Expanding Webdocs Usage
Having solved their initial problem of not having a DMS that could manage engineering drawings and needing a supported solution, Humphrey looked for other areas in the company to deploy the software. In Accounts Payable, “everything was manual,” says Jean McMillan, IT programmer. If you needed to see a receiver or an invoice, you’d have to walk down to Payables and have an Accounting person pull the documents you wanted to see. “Unless you were really good,” says McMillan “Then they’d let you look for yourself.”
Now with Webdocs, the Accounts Payable team has 20-30 workflows running to process invoices, receivers, packing slips, outgoing shipments, and more. With such a huge number of invoices going through the department each week, along with the documents that accompany each shipment, this invoice automation is saving them 20 hours per week. Invoices are scanned into the system, and approval systems are set up with Webdocs. Now approvers can go right into the software and approve, and AP doesn’t have to “wait around for someone to go through the paper in their mailbox,” says McMillan.
Adding Electronic Forms Software for Further Streamlining
As they continued to benefit from the centralization, visibility, and automation Webdocs provides, Humphrey continued to expand its usage throughout the organization. They also implemented an electronic forms solution from HelpSystems, Webdocs Creation & Delivery (formerly known as iForms), to help streamline processes further. This replaced AFP Forms, the previous software that had gone out of support. They utilized HelpSystems services to translate some of the complex processes, which helped them to get up and running with the software.
The Supply Chain department used to have someone come in a few days a week to put together work order jobs, which are packets that have a number of documents, including the work order, bill of materials, any outside processing documents, inspection guides, set-up sheets, and others. These were all printed out and manually assembled. But with Webdocs Creation & Delivery, they were able to create an assembly that puts those documents together. Now all someone has to do is pick it up from the printer, put it in a sleeve, and send it out to the floor. With a couple hundred of these packets being created every week, Supply Chain has saved 10 hours of employee time per week.
[Webdocs] has just streamlined our processes so much. People are saving so much time.
Patty Billingsley, IT Manager, Humphrey Products Company
Reclaiming Time and Keeping Track of Documents
Now at Humphrey, nearly the entire 100-person office uses Webdocs. After the success with the engineering project, the president of the company saw the value and savings and now keeps asking if there are other ways to use it. Billingsley says, “With just about everything, he suggests, ‘can we put it in Webdocs?’” There aren’t many areas left to implement Webdocs, as most are already using it, but Billingsley says, “Leave it to the president. He’ll come up with something.”
In addition to the time reclaimed in multiple departments, version control, and automated AP processes, McMillan says a benefit to having Webdocs is the empowerment it has given users. They can now look up any document they have authority to see and get their own information. They no longer have to travel across the building to get the information they need to do their job. “It’s just streamlined our processes so much,” Billingsley said. “People are saving so much time.” And documents no longer get lost, as they’re safe within the Webdocs system.