Document Management 101
Work smarter, not harder
Not many people know about the power of document management; so, let me tell you a story…
Years ago, when we were operating our own manufacturing company (then called Decorated Products), we attended a lean workshop and learned about the Kaizen strategy. A Kaizen is an intense analysis, usually conducted over a few weeks, of a certain department or process where you apply lean principles. At the time, we identified 8 key processes that we knew weren’t as efficient as they could be.
The first key process was our office activity. We knew that it would sometimes take a week or longer for a new job to get processed. In an environment where we were trying to ship the whole order in 3-4 weeks total, it was unacceptable to waste 25% of the lead time merely processing the order.
In the Kaizen, we analyzed the whole process, and we discovered 2 incredible things. First, we found that there were 62 steps to processing an order that took an average of 4.5 days to complete. Second, we learned that more than half of that time was spent searching for documents such as purchase orders, blue prints, faxed approvals, etc. As a result, we set forth working on a solution to resolve both problems.
Through some process changes, we streamlined the processing from 62 steps to 8, and we also bought a document management system called DocStar. Once we installed DocStar, we used a scanner to upload all incoming documents digitally, and an office person would index them by adding keywords for finding the documents in the future. Keywords included attributes like part numbers, customer name, etc. As a result, everyone had every document on their desktop with searchable terms all the time. No more walking from office to office looking through piles or papers to find a blueprint that someone misplaced!
Now, fast forward 25 years, and Epicor has bought DocStar and integrated it into Epicor ERP, which means no one needs to manually index the documents anymore! Plus, DocStar has some cool features, like Intelligent Data Capture which “reads” the document and automatically processes the document (like processing an order) so people aren’t doing data entry any longer either.
If you’re not aware of the power of document management and the integration of document management to ERP, or you have questions on how to implement Kaizen, DocStar, Epicor, etc., please feel free to contact us! We’re more than happy to share our knowledge with you.