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Document Management – The White Unicorn of the Office Equipment Industry

By: Gregory Brisco, Dove Print Solutions

Historically “Document Management” has been one of those white unicorns in the office equipment industry. Everyone talks about it, some claim to have seen/done it, while the naysayers doubt its true existence.

According to the Association for Information & Image Management, document management is defined as “the use of a computer system & software to store, manage, and track electronic documents & images of paper-based information captured through the use of a document scanner.”

I feel this definition is a little outdated and vague so I will share my personal definition according to the “express written consent of Gregory Brisco.”

I’ve always believed in the beauty of simplicity so I define document management as “the transformation of historically paper-based documents & processes into digital workflows that help people work smarter not harder.”

The key to document management is to understand how information & documents flow in and out of an organization. Without a basic understanding of the entire ecosystem and the information superhighways that connect each aspect of the organization, you cannot implement a successful document management solution. This information can be obtained through a simple discovery process we are all familiar with, and is widely known as an “assessment.”

At this point a lot of you may be thinking this sounds great, but what does it mean for you and your dealership? It’s no secret that in the office equipment industry,paper-based page volumes are decreasing worldwide. It would stand to reason to think that means that digital pages are increasing right? So, the real question becomes how can you mitigate your risk when your current revenue streams are declining? Equally as important, how can you take advantage of these newly created digital pages that are increasing? Well those are great questions and I’m happy to share a real-world application that should help bring the answer into focus. Grab your saddle and get ready to explore just how to ride that white unicorn.

My name is Gregory Brisco and I work for a company called Dove Data. Recently we had a meeting with a national fuel chain retailer with about 3,500 locations throughout the United States. Initially we were in the meeting to discuss opportunities for improvement within their “managed print” environment. Once we installed our user-based print tracking software to understand what documents were (and just as importantly were not) being created within the environment, we uncovered an opportunity to improve a major inefficiency.

Remember, I alluded to the importance of understanding “how information flows into, throughout, and out of an organization?” As our assessment progressed we were able to ascertain that at the end of every day, each location was responsible for printing all of the gas receipts and shipping them overnight back to the corporate office.  At corporate there is a team of employees responsible for manually sorting and storing the receipts in an accounting file where they wait to receive a manager’s approval.  Then additional employees are responsible for manually filing them in a storage cabinet. Immediately this manual process screamed “here is an opportunity to implement a document management solution to make everyone’s life so much easier.” We were able to present a business case that was indisputable.

We transformed the previously paper-intensive & manual process into a digital solution that utilized scanners at each branch to capture the data. This eliminated the need for overnight freight every day from 3,500 locations. Once the receipts were scanned they were immediately routed to our document management software that automatically routed the now digital information to the necessary departments & managers. Once the managers gave a digital approval, the digital invoices were archived in a database that was indexed and easily searchable. It was also backed-up, and stored for the appropriate amount of time for auditing & compliance purposes. We were able to show cost savings of freight, paper, labor, print, and equipment through the investment of a document management system.  It ended up being an 8-figure savings opportunity for the customer (and quite profitable for us as well).

In all honesty document management is not a new topic as it has been around for decades. Fortunately, with the advent of better technologies and integrations with multiple OEM providers, the barriers of entry into the world of document management are not what they used to be.  I certainly recommend doing your research, reading reviews, and networking with thought leaders, to understand what each system does & doesn’t do well.

For office equipment dealers it is truly an opportunity to help monetize the digital page as paper documents are declining worldwide. If you can bridge the gap between paper & digital documents by taking advantage of document management, you will be the envy of every other dealer dreaming about riding off into the sunset on that white unicorn. Safe travels.

To contact Mr. Brisco or Dove Print Solutions visit www.doveprintsolutions.com


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