AIIM (the community that provides education, research, and best practices to help organisations find, control, and optimise their information) has recently published a report on Content Creation and Delivery: ‘The On-Ramps and Off-Ramps of ECM’.
Mike Rae, Sales Director at ProcessFlows (an AIIM member), comments on the findings of the report.
Firstly, many of the inbound documents that companies receive are fax. I’m sure they would prefer email but they have limited control over the way their trading partners prefer to communicate.
Whether the fax is received by a traditional fax machine or multi-function device – as the survey suggests – it is still more than likely printed and scanned with information being manually keyed into a line of business application!
For example, many manufacturing companies receive purchase orders from their customers by fax. A team of people then enter this information into the ERP system to kick-off the order process, and then the fax is scanned into an archive or stored in a filing cabinet. Then they write on the fax and send it back to the recipient to acknowledge receipt.
The problem with this process is that received orders are easily lost and manual data entry is laborious and error-prone not to mention monotonous for the employee.
The implication is that incorrectly processed orders leads to delays, incorrect shipments/billing, unhappy customers, unnecessary queries and delays on collecting payments.
Retrieving documents at a later stage is a time consuming and expensive process, audit-trail is virtually non-existent and there’s the risk of losing the document altogether.
With a Fax Server, the images are already “scanned in” because they arrive on the network as image files.
Using intelligent capture, information from these images can be extracted and pushed into another system automatically via a verification process that ensures the data is accurate. In parallel the image is archived electronically allowing it to be retrieved at a later date – be it for credit control or other types of queries.
The benefit of capturing documents electronically as they enter the organisation means that you have a straight-through process for the majority of documents and more time can be taken over the exceptions.
Orders are turned around expediently, customer (and employee) satisfaction is improved and there is more chance of bills being paid on time improving cash flow.