Next Generation, High-Performance ADF Scanner
MOEITS, the IT branch for one of the nation’s largest labor unions — the Midwest Operating Engineers, Local 150 of the International Union of Operating Engineers needed to gain control over huge amounts of paper documents. The branch chose fi Series scanning hardware and software to index and store documents. The solution helped the union streamline daily tasks and cut hundreds of thousands of dollars in expenses from its budget.
Labor unions oversee and run a variety of programs for workers, and handling operations smoothly and efficiently can be a challenge. MOEITS, for example, was responsible for managing the systems and processes used by one of the largest labor unions in the United States. As part of its duties, it oversaw the technology used to run various programs and services offered by the union, including a credit union, a pharmacy, insurance and legal services, and union grievance processes.
As you can guess, these programs and services generated millions of paper documents over the years. This vast amount of hard-copy documentation created significant business problems for the union, such as lengthy document approval cycles, paper files damaged by flooding, and excessive time spent by employees searching for and handling paper documents. For example, it would take an average of 4.5 hours to handle the paperwork on a typical grievance process, including printing, copying, and distributing paper files. In addition, paper-based processes added to the challenges of complying with federal and state statutes governing insurance, financial, and labor practices. The union also incurred significant costs for the labor and capital expenses needed to manage and store paper documents. MOEITS decided to look for technology that could provide a better way to manage enterprise content.
The software was able to address the challenges related to potentially scanning millions of documents into the system.But this solution addresses more than just scanning and storage and IT architecture.
It helped point us in the direction of creating a complete document workflow solution, which is where the real value of document management lies. For the first time in my career I’ve had the privilege of watching senior executives and staff finally getting excited over a piece of technology that very quickly adds real quantifiable business value.
MOEITS chose to deploy a fi Series scanner and software solution that integrated with the union’s existing document management system. First integrated into the union’s legal department, employees simply attached barcodes to documents, with the codes read during the scanning process by the software. Metadata generated during this process was used to expedite data searches and to integrate the information with the organization’s enterprise resource planning system. “In a matter of weeks, our legal interns scanned more than 80 boxes of paper,” said Ron Borden, Executive Director of MOEITS.
Deploying the fi Series scanning content management solution helped the union in several ways. The union quickly achieved a substantial return on its investment in the solution, recovering the cost in about four months due to significant savings in time and capital expenditures. Routine daily processes were dramatically streamlined because of the ease of finding indexed documents. The solution was also easy to use, providing a complete document workflow system that the union could rely on.
The savings generated by MOEITS via the streamlined system amounted to nearly $1 million over three years.
The solution helped the union streamline common daily processes, enabling employees to get more done during the workday. “For example, once we were able to use the software, we cut the labor grievance process to about 10 minutes per grievance, down from about 4.5 hours in the past,” Borden says. He noted that this 96 percent reduction in the time spent on a single grievance adds up to substantial cost savings.
“When you calculate the cost of things like salaries and attorney fees, the time and cost savings are significant,” he says. “Just as important, we’re able to give our agents the tools they need to deal with grievances very rapidly and to make the process less painful for everyone involved.”
Borden noted that it took only 45 minutes or less to train employees on how to scan documents and upload them on the system. “As one of our users noted, if you can use a fax machine, you can certainly use this system,” he says. He adds that this contributes to one of the most important benefits of the solution—the fact that it provides a comprehensive workflow solution for managing the union’s paper documents.