Tag Archives: Document Management System

How to automate your credit control with hybrid mail and a document management system

 credit control solutions

As you know, I’ve always been an advocate of outsourcing no matter how small or large the project, some processes automatically lend themselves to outsourcing and in my humble opinion debt collection and the ancillary processes fall right into the outsource category.

This will be dictated by the structure and size of your organisation and if it is viable to outsource.

Most businesses are familiar with the cliché cash is king and the only way to ensure that cash flow remains buoyant is to have an effective credit control strategy.

Ensuring that cash flow is high whilst keeping debtor days low is the unenviable task of many companies.

Whilst there is an argument to consider outsourcing the complete process aka department, here, I’m going to focus on one task that is generally performed daily or weekly and that is the generation and distribution of debt collection letters.

The increasing amounts of debt passed for collection means debt collection teams and outsource recovery companies need to maximise efficiency when collecting and dealing with delinquent payments.

iStock_000014348375SmallThe case for a document management solution

Document management systems can improve the collection lifecycle from capturing incoming information to speeding up cash collection.

How does a document management system speed up debt recovery?

  • Avoiding lost or missing documents by capturing, indexing and filing electronically ensures they are held in a secure digital cabinet for access by the collection team. Retrieval is quick and documents can be viewed on screen, which can then be faxed, printed, emailed or printed and posted.
  • Cheques and remittances can be processed quickly. Remittance advice notes received from customers paying by BACS can be scanned and entered into the business workflow. Capturing large volumes of cheques and remittance slips decreases the need to handle paper, speeds up processing and cash collection.
  • Prompt query handling – having a document management system that integrates with your CRM and accounting systems helps with query management. Viewing of customer details, contracts, debt chasing letters and statements in one-place speeds up the query management process.
  • Centralisation of electronic documents in a digital file cabinet gives access to debtor case files, letters, legal notices, telephone conversation transcripts and emails by the credit control or debt management team.
  • Reduce filing and improve compliance – many credit control teams still print two copies of client correspondence posting one and filing the other for record keeping. Invoices for example need to be kept for seven years but having an integrated document management system mean that all documents can be retained in an electronic format whilst still complying and providing easy retrieval and following audit requirements.

iStock_000002289637SmallThe case for a hybrid mail solution

Where the electronic delivery option of debtor letters is not convenient or suitable and debt collection specialists or in-house teams want to contact debtors via letter correspondence a hybrid mail solution is a very cost effective alternative to standard print and mail.

For debt collection companies that manage various customer data files containing collection letters, hybrid mail is a cost effective print and mail solution for high and low volume generation.

Letters can easily be uploaded to a secure portal printed and despatched, saving postage, processing and mailing costs.

For in-house credit control teams the same applies where customer data can be uploaded on a daily basis incorporating different letter templates, inserts and any other customer letter requirement.

  • Upload letters from your computer, laptop, smartphone, choose print options, inserts and backgrounds
  • Secure http portal login easy to set up
  • No restriction on number of users
  • No minimum letter upload
  • Templates digitally archived for future use
  • Cost effective for short runs or where letters are needed to be posted out
  • Send statements with your dispute procedure
  • Send copy invoices

Paid Invoice

 

If you would like more information or you need a call then click here

The best of 2012. All you need to know about outsourcing in one place.

This blog comes with a health warning...

This blog comes with a health warning…

WARNING: THIS BLOG COMES WITH A HEALTH WARNING… IT’S A TAD LONG. BUT YOU’LL SEE WHY AT THE END.

Here we are the last day of 2012 and what a year its been. It only seemed like yesterday that I sat at this very desk and typed my epilogue for 2011.

The beginning of the year heralded great expectations and even the economy looked like it was digging its way out of the hole it had dug itself into.

Sadly it didn’t happen and the UK along with the rest of Europe continues to stay in the quagmire.

The onset of New Years Eve can be a time of reflection as we consider the year that has gone before.

With all the ups and downs of the year you could excuse yourself for feeling a little disillusioned at the prospect of 2013.

New Year's Resolutions?

New Year’s Resolutions?

If you are reading this then I’ve succeeded in holding my audiences’ interest? More importantly we survived the end of the world which was suppose to have occurred on 21st December.

As I stepped on to the plane with my family to travel back from Hamburg on the late afternoon of the 21st, I would be lying if I didn’t experience a little trepidation although its only an hour’s flight back to Luton.

I held my breath as we came into land and the passenger sitting next to me actually “prayed”as he muttered something in german under his breath I couldn’t help but think he knew something we didn’t?

The maya civilisation predicted the end of the world? They didn’t of course. It is the western interpretation of an apocalyptic ending. The maya civilisation predicted that December 21st this year simply marked the start of a new calendar.

“Mayan refers to the indigenous peoples of South-East Mexico, Central America notably Guatelmala. Mayan was actually spoken by the maya people and the maya calendar was used by the mayan civilisation”.

For the Mayan people 21st December represents a joyous event, not an apocalyptic event. What is coming is the end of a calendar and the beginning of a new one.

Are we facing another seismic shift both economically and personally? Isn’t the start of any new year synonymous with change?

Isn’t that indicative of a New Year – new year’s resolutions, a new chapter, new beginnings, changes, planning and a time to be reflective on what we’ve learn’t from the year just past.

Lets reflect on what a great year 2012 has been.

We had the 2012 London Olympic Games to look forward to. The country was at last unified in one common goal and that was achieving olympic success and putting London and the UK firmly on the map. It was sixteen days of amazing sporting finesse and talent exhibited at the greatest show on earth.

Who can forget that one weekend in August! I still get goose bumps thinking about it even now!

Digital Print Management advises and guides companies on the importance of how to go about outsourcing… just about anything so we’ve taken the best of the year’s blogs and stuck them here as a reminder of what were the best and most useful to you our audience and customer and we thank you for reading and contributing.

Round up of the year’s best blogs.

In January we talked about the differences between what is print management and managed print services a simple guide to understanding the differences.

With p60 time looming in April there was a helpful guide on how to go about having hassle free p60 printing

February provided top tips on how to benefit from outsourcing, automate your AR function and how to implement paperless billing in your company.

March saw the launch of our print-2-mail service and how easy it is for companies to manage printing and posting out invoices, statements and practically any customer letter without moving from your desk.

April saw a brief guide on RTI (Real Time Information) and the impact it’s likely to have on businesses in 2013. This is particularly important for payroll managers and business owners.

Paper chasing and outsourcing business processes dominated May’s round up.

June saw us delve into the murky waters of invoice processing and how to automate and streamline the process.

July concentrated on how to save money using hybrid mail and how to reduce print costs in your organisation.

Document Management Systems and strategies, controlling print costs and Invoice Management were the order of the month of August.

September discussed the importance of Accounts Receivable and how to automate payment allocations.

We then provided a guide on how to outsource your debt collection letters and a really important blog about making sure printed information is kept secure.

November – really exciting month firstly because its getting close to Christmas so we in the office start to feel a tad christmassy but we spent some time on payroll outsourcing and my favourite data cleansing and what this means if you do it right.

Wow we are in December, how quickly the year has gone! It is the month of why invoice scanning is so important to the AP process, then there was print management solutions for professional services companies.

Finally if you really wanted something completely different from what you’ve come to expect, we threw caution to the wind.

Working from home use to be such a big deal and now companies actively encourage it what do you think?

Mobile working and how it’s changed our lives.

With so much social media or anti-social media we talked about how great it feels to tune out once in a while and actually read a book. Are you switching off from digital media?

With the business landscape having changed so radically over the last 20+ years I found researching this blog particularly relevant what’s in a business relationship?  Do you feel the same way?

Next to my family I love Formula 1 Motor Racing so I knocked this one out after Sebastian Vettel won his third consecutive world championship. The importance of teamwork and why its integral to any business.

If you’ve got to the bottom of this blog without faltering then a big T-H-A-N-K-Y-O-U for reading, for liking us, following us and connecting with us in 2012.

My final note for the year:

“Success is not final, failure is not fatal. It is the courage to continue that counts” (Winston Churchill)

Happy New Year from all of us at Digital Print Management.

Follow us on twitter, like us on facebook and do connect with us on linkedin.

 

Happy New Year.

Happy New Year.

 

 

 

 

What is a digital mailroom?

A digital mailroom captures or converts into digital format all incoming business documents – paper, emails, faxes, indexes them and stores them securely.

Organisations receive thousands of documents everyday in multiple formats – paper, fax, emails, PDF, XML (Extensible Markup Language) and EDI (Electronic Data Interchange) resulting in disparate systems using manual processes with often high invisible costs.

To first understand how a digital mailroom might benefit an organisation we need to know what it is or does?

“A digital mailroon is the automation of incoming mail processes using document scanning and document capture technology. Companies can digitise incoming mail and automate the classification and distribution of mail within the organisation. Paper and electronic mail can be managed through the same process allowing companies to standardise their internal mail distribution procedures and adhere to company compliance policies”. (Wikipedia)

Why implement a digital mailroom?

Accuracy, faster and cost effective which helps organisations remain competitive and regain focus in the current global economic climate.

With mail volumes growing at an exponential rate and I include ALL types of correspondence not just paper based and with companies having mobile work forces and various regional offices it makes sense to convert all incoming correspondence and communication into a digital format for distribution.

Instant communication accurate information and distribution of this information is vital coupled with the compliance and accountability that companies invest in back up systems, document scanning and storage and compliance solutions all of which are time and money.

A digital mailroom automates the process of distributing incoming documents in to a document management system.

How does it work?

Information is captured or converted in to digital format with each item classified using intelligent capture. It is then indexed and placed in the document management system

A workflow process notifies the user or group of the existence of the document so that they are able to control the processing of this document to its completion.

An additional workflow process is then created to let the sender of the document know that it is being dealt with.

Once allocated the document is then moved into the correct folder within the document management system which contains all other relevant information and documents.

Management information from incoming documents and thier current status within the business is available.

What benefits can be derived from implementing a digital mailroom?

  • Turning all incoming paper mail, faxes, electronic mail into images reduces operational costs, reduces manual processes and provides instant access to documents by employees irrespective of where they are located.
  • Decision making processes are quicker because information is accessible faster.
  • Reduced paper storage and archiving costs by encouraging employees to do without paper for example reducing printing and copying of documents.
  • Minimal distribution of paper based mail.
  • Creating digital images of incoming mail and establishing a workflow process ensures the document can be tracked through its life cycle.
  • A scanned document is accessible by authorised users and can be referenced to other relevant documents in the document management system.
  • The security of the process guarantees the authenticity and integrity of the document which aligns with the records management policy of the company.

Finally

Many companies believe that they are legally obligated to archive documents in paper format for a certain amount of time such as accounting and contract documents.
Legal admissibility of scanned documents is still perceived as an issue for many businesses because they want to avoid risk at all costs.
It is the reason why businesses rely on costly paper based archiving and storage.
But the reality is that only a small minority of documents are required to be paper based and most digitised documents are legally acceptable in a court of law.

What next?

Digital Print Management provide print management solutions designed to reduce costs. For further information call us on: 01234-271156.

You can also follow us on twitter, like us on facebook and connect with on linkedin for all our updates.

 

Document Management Systems, Software and the Paperless Office

What is a document management system?

I’ve talked in more detail about how to go about setting up a document management system and why using an independent outsource partner can help in the process.

Imagine a football pitch decked with filing cabinets standing three high, they are correctly identified, labelled and indexed with a map that provides directions to all the various cabinets so people can access the information when they need it. There’s just one problem with this scenario, can you imagine reading the map and trying to find the cabinet you want that holds the information you need when you need it?

A document management system is an organisational, technology driven way of taking those filing cabinets and storing them in what can best be described as a digital filing cabinet. Business man throws paper work pages to air floorDocuments and images are stored in a repository allowing management and retrieval of the files.

Document Management software (the software behind the system) creates a secure digital file cabinet where literally thousands of documents of any type can be stored and is the equivalent of a digital safe where archived documents can be housed and accessed many years later.

Having the right document management solution can provide the necessary cohort required for scanning, document imaging, document archiving, fax archiving and electronic records management.

Does an organisation need a document management solution?

This largely depends on how much paper you have entering and leaving the building. I recently visited a customer site who had two large offices filled with archived boxes up to the ceiling. That was the half of it the rest had been off-sited to a bigger and secure location. If ever there was a need for a standalone document management software solution it was staring right at me. As for the security implication…!

Information is key and your business depends on it. Can your employees locate the information they need quickly and easily? The majority of companies store information in a variety of different places such as DVD’s, CD’s, Zip drives, on networks, individual PC’s and the mainstay of most office buildings the filing cabinet. The answer to the question for many businesses is that “yes” they need one.

Why… because

  • It reduces the costs of antiquated paper based storage
  • It improves customer services by giving advisors access to up to the minute and legacy information
  • Reduces the risk of regulatory non-compliance problems
  • Provides a disaster recovery plan for all company documents
  • Significantly reduces staff time trying to locate documents
  • Provides critical document security and accessibility

How does it work?

Document management software helps your organisation expand without having to increase administrative staff and enables documents to be better maintained as records to meet compliance objectives. There are a number of ways to capture documents into the archive:

  • scan the document from any document scanner
  • drag and drop files from windows explorer
  • check documents in from MS Word, Excel, PowerPoint
  • Add the entire contents of a network folder
  • Retrieval time reduced
  • Save thousands £ a year by eliminating off site records storage
  • Reduce paper supply costs by thousands £
  • Free up office space

Document management software captures, indexes and manages scanned paper documents, faxes, emails, PDF’s, computer reports and anything else in its final form.

Once archived, documents are easily retrieved by  the use of search tags and indexing criteria which have already been set up allowing anyone within the company to access a file or information within seconds and without leaving their PC.

Security measures can be strictly imposed for authorised users ensuring that access is restricted.

What are the benefits?

Companies are better organised by making files easier to access, file, share, retrieve and secure information. Employees are productive because they save time searching for business critical information.

Having a digital filing cabinet affords greater functionality than paper files because multiple people working from home, different offices and even on different continents can access and work on files simultaneously.

So, imagine the football pitch scenario…. if this is your company then call us for more information on how we can help you set up a secure document management system that will work for you. 

Implementing a document management system will save you time and money!

What do you think? Are you drowning in paper? Have you given any thought to the time it takes to find what you’re looking for? Leave a comment we are always interested to hear your views.

For regular news and updates please do follow us on twitter, like us on facebook and connect with us on linkedin. By subscribing to our updates hit the orange RSS button at the top of the page they will be delivered automatically into your inbox.

If you like this blog and think it will be useful to others please share it and leave a comment to!

Alchemy will grow with your business – imaging, capturing, indexing, archival and retrieval, document management, records management, integration and distribution functions all available when you need it. Running either on a server or as a stand-alone configuration, it can also be deployed over the web for remote user or self-service.

Alchemy supports many scanning and capture systems as it is built on Microsoft technology and provides out of the box integration for Microsoft Office, Microsoft Exchange, Microsoft SQL Server and Microsoft SharePoint. Irrespective of the document type, Alchemy provides a centralised digital archive where documents from multiple systems can be consolidated and then be delivered using multiple delivery channels.

 

 

 

 

How to implement a document management solution

What is document management?

Often referred to as DMS (Document Management Systems) is the use of a computer system and software to store, manage and track electronic documents and electronic images of paper based information captured through the use of a document scanner. [Source: aiim.org]

Loss of data and information management poses challenges for many organisations not least the intergrity and security of senstive company information and the management of

Implementing a document management system will save you time and money!

Implementing a document management system will save you time and money!

customers data. Many companies operate on an ad-hoc reactive basis only developing systems when the need arises or when there is an obvious breakdown in the management of internal processes.

Unstructured and ad-hoc solutions evolve out of a legacy of existent systems most of which are paper based resulting in duplication, non standard and system inefficiencies.

This coupled with the increasing public awareness in the sensitivity of data exposes companies to unncessary risks and cost.

How do you manage your documents?

Information management is a critical part of the business process on par with more traditional business operations but few organisations consider it to be so or, have the time or expertise to build an information management program.

Document Management is one of the more complex and sensitive jobs that an organisation has to manage.

Documents are created, edited, published, revised and stored either as a paper file or electronically. This is referred to as the documentation life cycle and managing the procedure is known as document management.

Companies create and store many business documents with people contributing to the system daily making the management of the process an even greater challenge.

When a document is created electronically, it requires some storage space on a PC. Someone creates a document but it is feasible that several other people in the company may require access to it this can be problematic if the organisation has many employees and this is further complicated when you factor in employees who work remotely or are located all over the world rendering saving the document on a personal computer locally inaccessible.

Document Management systems reduce paper filing provide instant access to files, can store any document type securely.

Document Management systems reduce paper filing provide instant access to files, can store any document type securely.

Here are some tips on how to implement a document management system using an outsource partner

  • Hosted document management solutions offer a pay-as-you-go model based only on the services you need and the volume you process. The solution provider is responsible for hardware and software upgrades giving you access to the latest features without capital expenditure. A hosted document management solution can be running in a matter of weeks compared to the months it takes to evaluate, procure and then install an in-house solution.
  • The average business produces a massive volume of documents which can make locating and retrieving documents in a timely fashion a real challenge and to compound matters files are often filed in non standard indexing systems making documents difficult to find. A single source supplier for document management solutions can help reduce operational and legal risks by managing a company’s information assets as they have the expertise, infrastructure and knowledge to provide best practices for implementation.
  • Workers waste thousands of pounds each year trying to find information that doesn’t exist, can’t be found or is recreated again. Up to 50% of our time can be wasted trying to find the information we need.
  • Outsourcing enables the service provider to minimise your business risk associated with in-house solutions where physical records are moved offsite to storage facilities, scanned and then returned for re-filing increasing the risk of lost and incorrectly filed documents. Physical documents are easier to find, scan and can be filed in a single location and the paper document never leaves the security of the vendor’s facility. Audit trails are maintained making it easier to access valuable content.
  • Managing documents with unstructured content and in a non standard format requires additional business and information technology resource. Documents stored in cabinets, record storage boxes and scattered in different locations and electronic files stored in multiple applications makes accessibility a real challenge. Using a DMS combines the cost effectiveness of traditional paper storage for the bulk of your records with the speed, convenience and cost savings of digital access. Files are kept in paper format and are scanned on demand.
  • Employees want self service access and retrieval and as speed is of the essence digital file access has to be put in the hands of end users. A hosted document management system can support this requirement providing intelligent scanning and image capture features supported by a digitisation process. Once documents are imaged they can be made available via an FTP site (File Transfer Protocol), ECM system (Enterprise Content Management) or via a hosted repository.
  • Few organisations have the resources or expertise to create or implement an effective document management strategy and solution. When outsourced the vendor takes care of the document management conversion, information security and privacy making sure best practices and compliance are followed.
  • Implementing a DMS can be a foreboding exercise but using an experienced provider who can manage the complexities of setting up a program cost effectively and efficiently will save time and money and will provide considerable value to the organisation in the long term.

Alchemy Document Management solutions and software creates a digital file cabinet for your company where you can securely store any document type and then find it within seconds. Providing document scanning, document imaging, document archiving, fax archiving and electronic records management capabilities.

For an impartial chat call us

For news and updates please follow us on Twitter, Linkedin and like us on facebook!

 

Managed Print Services. Paper Chasing! How paper has changed in our hi-tech world!

I’ve been working in the print industry in some shape or form for over 20 years and witnessed the migration from electronic typewriters to PC’s.

Emailing has become the staple method of communication, CRM systems allow us to manage our communications and how we interface with customers, the rise of social media another way of promoting yourself and your company’s brand.

These technological developments have impacted our working lives radically changing the way we work, how we interact with customers and as a result the way we use and interact with paper has also changed.

Or has it?

The lifecycle of a document use to be very simple.

A document would be created as a form or letter, it would be saved, printed and posted.

The letter would then be stored in a drawer or in an appropriately labelled file dependent on how often it would be accessed or, filed into obscurity until such times when you had a spare few minutes to go through your filing cabinets or drawers.

When information from the document was needed we’d hunt around for it, not always an easy task to remember where you filed it and which drawer you relegated that letter.

Once retrieved from storage it was copied if needed but this bit of paper involved a human interaction.

Finally, when the document was finished with, it was filed and returned to storage. A process repeated many times up and down organisations in the UK.

The problem with this filing method is it is very slow, prone to errors resulting in many documents being misappropriated or misfiled.

In the last ten years electronic document management has exponentially changed our working life’s. It has changed the way we interact and use paper. No longer perceived as a long term medium, human interaction with paper has changed from being a permanent record to a transient or short term interaction.

Paper storage hasn’t completely been relegated to the annals of history. It is still required in regulated industries and government but this is fast changing too as many of the permanent records of information are now being stored electronically!

You’d expect that with such a major shift to electronic document management paper work flows would be drastically reduced.

Statistics indicate paper usage is on the decline. The evolution of paper from a permanent record to a short-term bit of information has only changed how paper is used – not how much!

The shift has swung to documents being printed far more times from its electronic master when compared to antiquated filing systems.

Why is this happening?

Because there is still a preference for human beings to interact with paper or to interact with the information that is on the paper.

Think about how we use paper daily. We print the document, use it and then toss it in the bin when finished and then the next time you need it, you guessed it, you print it again repeating the process.

I don’t believe anyone can wholeheartedly put their hand up in the air and say they’ve never done it, we all do it daily unconsciously almost. It is a repeatable process.

The evolution of smartphones, tablets and the need to reference information sometimes makes it easier to work with paper!

Let me quickly illustrate, I’m writing this blog and am working from material and articles that I’ve researched and annotated. If I have two screens easy but its actually quite difficult to switch between what I am writing and what I am reading. Yes, I know I can minimise but its still not that easy.

Even with advent of great mobile apps like Goodreader, webnotes all of which are useful note annotators, it is just not the same as working from the printed article!

Where you can scribble, hi-light and make notes using a pen!

Which validates the statement I made above, people like interacting with the information on paper. The only difference is the way in which we interact with paper, it is very different than we did say twenty years ago!

With most business processes still reliant on paper output for records, transactions, reference or simply for better readability the best solution is to print smarter with print management and apply print policies to ensure that when a document is printed it is printed securely and on the most cost effective device.

Employing managed print services (MPS) will track print usage enable, duplex printing rather than simplex printing when needed, print mono rather than colour, encourage users to be made aware of what they are printing and why they are printing it, how many times they’ve printed the same document and how much its costing the organisation.

MPS will also give users the relevant tools to ensure they make the right printing decisions such as pop up alerts that recommend a different printer for the job they are printing.

Paper as a permanent record held in storage is declining, paper as a substrate isn’t going anywhere.

The use of paper can be better managed with achievable cost, security and improved workflow results.

What do you think?

Do you have a paperless office? If so how have you achieved it?
Is your office under siege with paper?
Would you like to implement a reduced print policy?
What about employees? Do you have a no print policy but find it difficult for staff to employ your no print policy?
Share your thoughts please or post a comment.
We’d love to hear what you think!

If you would like more information click here

You can find us on twitter, Pinterest and facebook or you can connect with us on linkedin and Google+.