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Is Enterprise Content Management Worth the Investment?


Bill Dermody
Author: Bill Dermody Date: 01/07/2020

 

As the saying goes, “nothing succeeds like success.” That’s true, but only to a point.  Successful companies get good press, find it easier to win new business as well as hire and retain top talent.

But with success also comes new sets of challenges. The fact is that many of the most successful businesses fail. Today, only 13% of the original Fortune 500 companies from 1955 are still around. All businesses strive for success, but when companies fail to manage growth, failure can follow quickly.  

There’s lots out there to advise companies on how to be successful, but very little about how to manage the growth success brings. The good news is that content management software, sometimes called Electronic Content Management, or ECM, can help many companies get through the growing pains that can come with growing business.

Making Order Out of Chaos

There comes a time in the existence of every business when doing things the old-fashioned way no longer works. When you are small company with a handful of employees, it might be possible to keep all your business records in a filing cabinet. If you are the company’s main salesperson or customer service person, you might not need to have searchable record-keeping.

Sometimes it’s hard to know how managed content will solve your challenges. The good news is that ECM is not a one-size-fits-all kind of solution. It’s a configured solution based on fixing a specific problem.  Some companies have expensive processing problems and automating those processes can deliver great return on investment. Others have small bottlenecks or breaking points but automating them can make the whole operation work more effectively.

For example, 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 Jackson, Ohio facility has 1300 employees, 20 production lines and support areas producing approximately two million entrees per day.

The facility is subject to surprise and ongoing audits by customers and regulatory agencies. That means the QA 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 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.”

The ability to immediately provide the documents for review has reduced the time required for completion of audits.  In addition, Bellisio estimates that the Laserfiche system has saved the company more than 500 labor hours annually.

Do More with Less

Another benefit of managed content is the ability to grow without adding administrative staff, such as another accounts payable person.

To illustrate, the Merco Group is a family-owned pet supply company founded in 1959 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Today, the Merco Group has approximately 200 employees in 6 facilities across the Midwest and distributes over 14,000 products from more than 120 different manufacturers.

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. To meet those demands, the company needed a system that could automate more of its workflow processes.

GFC consultants worked closely with the Merco Group staff to map out existing workflows and seamlessly move them to Laserfiche. The company streamlined processes making them faster and requiring fewer staff hours. “GFC put together a workflow so different departments worked from the same system,” says David Merar, President of the Merco Group. The new processes made it possible to route documents, automate approvals and quickly deliver electronic receipts to customers.

Today, the Merco Group scans documents at remote locations and those documents are instantly delivered to the departments that process them. 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.” 

It's a Smart Investment

Many businesses are legally required to retain/store records (accounting, employee, corporate, regulatory…OSHA, EPA, IRS) for a certain period. In these cases, managed content is not an optional service; it’s a part of doing business.

The good news is, any business can start inexpensively, using a cloud version of ECM solutions. As with any other cloud implementation, moving ECM to the cloud means that organizations can offload the ownership and management of their hardware and software to the cloud provider. The result is that companies not only save money on buying and maintaining the hardware and software, but also move the expense from an initial high capital cost to a more regular operational cost. 

For more information on all the ways we can help assess and streamline your business workflows, contact the Gordon Flesch Company content management experts today.

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Written by Bill Dermody

Bill joined the Gordon Flesch Company in 2016 as an Enterprise Content Management Consultant. Along with a strong sales and marketing background, Bill has over 20 years experience in the technology industry.

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