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Building a Business Case for ECM


Tiffany Engelkens
Author: Tiffany Engelkens Date: 06/18/2019

Enterprise content management (ECM) systems can help organizations improve processes for managing corporate documents, records and other types of unstructured data. If your company is facing this challenge, you’re not alone. The average organization believes the volume of their information and data will grow by 317% in the next 2 years. And Forrester Research Inc. found that 53% of respondents said their organizations were either looking to install an enterprise content management (ECM) system or planning to upgrade an existing one.

As with any other IT project, building a business case to justify the costs and show the potential return on investment (ROI) is the first step in an ECM deployment. Here are lessons from our customers that can help build a business case for a managed content solution:

Less Prep Work

Bellisio Foods is one of the nation’s largest and fastest growing frozen food companies. Based in Minneapolis, Bellisio Foods produces more than 400 products, including Michelina’s, Eat!, Boston Market, Chili’s, EatingWell, and Atkins. The Quality Assurance department needs to be able to collect and produce documents at a moment’s notice—or those millions of entrees cannot be shipped.

In October 2017 Gordon Flesch Company launched a system based on Laserfiche that could manage, organize, maintain and electronically deliver all of Bellisio’s Quality Assurance records on demand. The handwritten records are scanned every day and can be electronically produced for inspections. “Before we had the Laserfiche system, inspectors would come in and want to review records from a specific time period, but it would take us hours to produce those that had been moved to long term off-site storage,” says Janet Green, Bellisio’s Quality Systems Manager.

The Quality Assurance team can now instantly look up any document records when needed. “We strive to be audit-ready at all times,” Green says. “Even if we have a sudden request, there is no stress and I know we’re ready.” Bellisio estimates that the Laserfiche system has saved the company more than 500 labor hours annually. In addition, the ability to immediately provide the documents for review has reduced the time required for completion of audits, ensuring millions of meals can be shipped on time. 

Leave Paper Behind

The Central Garden and Pet Company is a family-owned pet supply company founded in 1959 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. About a decade ago, the company began doing more and more business with big box retailers. These customers required suppliers to provide them with automated electronic alerts, especially to confirm when deliveries had been received. Unfortunately, meeting those requests became increasingly difficult using the company’s paper-based processes.

GFC consultants worked closely with the staff to map out existing workflows and seamlessly move them to Laserfiche. Today, the company scans documents at remote locations and those documents are instantly delivered to the departments that process them. Company President David Merar says the company can now retrieve information in seconds and doesn’t have to rely on expensive overnight delivery services to get documents routed and processed. “For us, it was a godsend,” says Merar. “At first, people didn’t want to change, but now if you tried to take away Laserfiche, they’d kill you.” 

Automate Everything

Hamilton Capital is an independent wealth management and investment firm based in Columbus, Ohio. Founded in 1997, the company values continuous learning and improvement to ultimately provide clients with great results and a meaningful experience. To do this, the company relies on standardized forms and processes to help advisers access the most up-to-date resources, quickly retrieve information, and route forms to the right person.

Adria Rosebrock, Manager of Adviser Training and Research, was inspired to implement and manage a review policy and system for all internal documents using Laserfiche. Working with GFC’s analysts, she was able to pull together a robust system to store, control access, and automate the updating process for materials. “I had figured out a way to do it, but they had the expertise and showed us how to use the security settings, rights management, and metadata to build a really powerful process that did what we needed,” says Rosebrock.

Hamilton Capital now has an automated annual review process in place for internal resources. Rosebrock says that the collaboration between Hamilton Capital and GFC has produced a workflow that will allow the company to always have forms, resources, and a knowledge base that will serve the company now and into the future. “Once we explained what we needed and our vision, the GFC team was able to make it a reality,” she says.

Going Paperless is Possible

Gardner, Inc. is an Ohio-based lawn and garden supplier. They have been a family-owned business for 68 years, and provide equipment to well-known dealers, such as Lowe’s and Home Depot.

They process approximately 1.2 million orders a year, but many of their systems and processes were paper-based. This led to operational inefficiencies, and an increase in necessary storage space for filing. Research was difficult, processes were slower and information was more difficult to access.

Gardner worked with the Gordon Flesch Company (GFC) for many years for their office hardware needs. When GFC began offering Managed IT Services, Gardner jumped at the chance to improve office efficiency with a customized solution from GFC.

GFC met with Gardner executives and employees to discuss pain points, and they tailored their solution to Gardner’s needs. GFC leveraged an Enterprise Content Management (ECM) solution in order to optimize numerous processes. Information flow was digitized to improve efficiency and information accessibility. This also cut down on necessary office space – previously used for storing documents. GFC also streamlined expense flow and approvals, automated a matching process for trade expenses and implemented a system to more accurately track customer information.

Creating Collaboration

The U.S. Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Reserve (USDA ERS) is a government agency responsible for anticipating trends and emerging issues in agriculture, food, the environment and rural development. Reports, outlooks, charts and data series are then published on the ERS Web Site. 

The USDA ERS requires employee collaboration for the compilation and approval of these publications. Prior to consulting with the Gordon Flesch Company (GFC), the USDA ERS relied on a combination of email, printed documents and manual interventions to compile and publish their data. Much of this was time-sensitive information, with a specific publication date, so employees at the USDA ERS were looking to make collaboration easier, for faster publication. 

Working together, ERS staff and GFC business analysts designed workflow-based business processes to optimize handling while increasing throughput volumes, decreasing the possibility of human error, and centralizing collaboration. GFC implemented an Enterprise Content Management (ECM) solution which automated over 90% of the previously manual processes. Hardcopy forms and printed documents have nearly been eliminated, as all data and documents are now available in a central, searchable repository. Publications approved in Laserfiche are then automatically indexed and published to the website.

Better Customer Experiences

Over 90% of hard-copy forms and printed documents have been eliminated, and employee collaboration and efficiency have greatly increased.

Halquist Stone is a Wisconsin-based company whose full line of building and landscape stone is distributed nationally. The company was established in 1929 and has continued to grow, but their sales order process has changed very little since then. 

Customers and employees were both becoming increasingly frustrated with the sales order process, as it would take days just to process an order. Orders were often lost, and supervisors and sales associates were spending the majority of their day entering data into spreadsheets, instead of completing their day-to-day duties.

After assessing the workflow, GFC business analysts noted how much frustration and wasted time the manual data entry and paper storage was causing. They offered a comprehensive, custom solution that included Laserfiche, to eliminate the problem by automating the sales order process.

Now, order processing takes a few hours instead of a few days. Supervisors can answer customer questions faster, complete orders faster and also make necessary changes to the orders faster. Nearly 3,000 hours of employee time spent on data entry has been eliminated per year. Customer and employee satisfaction have both increased dramatically, along with an estimated annual cost savings of over $120,000.

For technical insights into improving business processes, check out our eBook below. But if you need some human intervention to make business processes and content management work for your business, contact the experts at the Gordon Flesch Company to help make the business case for Enterprise Content Management today.

The Official Guide To Going Paperless With ECM (Blog Footer)

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Written by Tiffany Engelkens

Tiffany has served for many years in various capacities at the Gordon Flesch Company and has an in-depth knowledge of business processes and the technologies that help them succeed. She specializes in building better workflows by automating processes for faster data retrieval, increased productivity, improved collaboration and reduced costs.

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