Customer: PVC Industries, Inc.
Business Solution: DocStar Document Management and AP Automation
Managing individual customer orders, consisting of multiple documents in a cost-efficient, clear, concise and easy to locate manner.
As the premier manufacturer of custom vinyl windows, PVC Industries, a member of the Earthwise Vinyl Windows Group, is a company on the move with an aggressive growth plan. The company recently completed construction on an additional 30,000 square feet of manufacturing space in Clifton Park, NY. Among their goals moving forward are to streamline operations, increase their production capabilities and to ensure their continued ability to meet their guaranteed two week delivery commitment.
The company first implemented DocStar’s Document Management Software in June of 2010 to address a time consuming, inefficient A/P process. Kathy Rice, PVC Industries IT Manager highlights the workflow efficiency issues that needed to be addressed inclusive of reducing paperwork, timely response to customer and vendor inquiries and integrating a new system into their existing technical/automated platforms.
Initially, the company’s field sales people would send a fax to the head office where an order entry clerk would enter the information into the system. “From order placement, through manufacturing, shipping and our accounts payable and receivable processes, each piece of documentation, including any changes to the order, needed to be manually logged in and filed, creating a time consuming, yet necessary paper trail,” continued Kathy. “We needed to find a way to streamline our accounts payable and sales order entry process that could be easily integrated into the Fenevision ERP and SAGE MAS 90 systems we currently use.”
In a typical week, PVC Industries logs over 250 orders, generating more than 13,000 orders each year. “Each of those orders is comprised of 3 separate documents, which means we have upwards of 40,000 paper documents to print and file annually,” said Kathy. “In the last few years we’ve spent over $15,000 on paper alone.” The challenge was how to manage all of this paperwork in a cost-efficient, clear, concise and easy to locate manner.
Working with PVC Industries’ IT department, DocStar was able to create an automated A/P platform that has made it easy to scan, store and retrieve documents for each individual order, quickly and effortlessly, as well as the ability to add any notation at any time during the overall process. This has meant increased productivity and ensures that each digital file has all of the necessary documentation for that particular order.
At the point of order entry, DocStar installed an electronic in-box to receive faxed orders, which were then displayed on dual monitors. One monitor displays the order itself, while the other displays the actual entry to begin production. Many of the information fields within the production entry are already populated, based on the information provided within the initial order.
The order entry representative is now able to process 50 more entries in the course of a week, representing a 20% efficiency improvement over the prior order entry system. The labor efficiencies gained equates to approximately 8.5 hours/week, 450 hours/year and nearly $13,000 annually.
Additionally, any issues, changes or status of the order can easily be made throughout the time spent from initial order placement, through shipment of the final product, in one single place, thus saving time and decreasing the incidence of human error. All of this information is captured in one place, and at any time can instantly be retrieved by entering a variety of search criteria.
Previously, it would take up to 30 minutes to gather all of this information. Assuming a 10% order change rate and a 15 minute median time value, the labor efficiencies gained equates to 6.25 hours/week, 325 hours/year and nearly $10,000 annually.
“Working with DocStar to integrate their document management software into our existing system has created a dramatic improvement to our A/P workflow,” continued Kathy. “We often need to review orders and now we can even find orders placed over the phone. These improved efficiencies help us to deliver a superior level of service. Our customers have never been more satisfied.”
With the new software in place, accounts payable processes have also been streamlined and simplified. A processor can create a document package that includes an invoice and supporting documents such as monthly utilities, miscellaneous expenditures, etc. This package is electronically routed to the A/P department and then to the general manager for approval. The GM receives an alert, reviews the documents, makes any notes and approves the invoice. The approved invoice is automatically routed back to accounts payable for payment. Now, an invoice can be processed in as little as 4 minutes and can be reviewed and approved, or declined from anywhere in the world.
“We’re gaining labor efficiencies after the order is processed,” Kathy said. “Finding a paper document took considerable time. The average labor savings is at least 6 hours per month or $2,160 annually in our customer service area”
“I am so impressed with the return on investment we have so quickly seen with this new automated platform, and I’m anxious to promote this system to our Earthwise member associates,” continued Kathy. “What had previously been a very labor-intensive process, and prone to human error, has been streamlined into an easy-to-use format. And, we’re avoiding late payment penalties.”