By Jerome Lavalley
President, Enlighten.Net, Inc.
Having the systems to support remote workers seemed like a nice perk just a few short weeks ago. Some of you may even have thought of it as unnecessary. Clearly things have changed.
Today as we practice social distancing, enabling your employees to work from home may just allow you to keep servicing your customers. Our business is ready made for remote working, and obviously yours is different, but that doesn’t mean you can’t or shouldn’t make the transition.
There are numerous articles being published on remote working and the digital workforce that can help guide you through the entire process. I highly recommend an article from March 12 on aiim.org called “COVID-19 and the Importance of the Digital Workplace“. In it, the author outlines some things to think about and tools to make your office a digital workplace. Two of his suggestions jumped out at me: “Digitize Everything that Moves” and “Digitize Your Business Processes”. I’d like to think he is referring to a Document Management System, since simply scanning your documents to a network share isn’t going to give you the results you want. We’ve been touting the benefits of digitization for years, and if you are reading this, you probably already bought in, but there are probably still areas of the business that can utilize these tools more efficiently.
The warehouse is an area of business that relies on and generates a tremendous amount of paperwork. Your warehouse staff must be onsite to ship and receive goods, but they play an important part in the digital workplace. Vendor packing slips, picking tickets and work orders are all critical parts of a process that flows into the back office. In many organizations the paperwork is hand delivered to the accounting group throughout the day or maybe your branch offices truck or ship paperwork to the main office – a process that can take more than a day. Neither of these solutions are effective in a remote work environment. Having the warehouse staff scan their paperwork into a document management system, eliminates time delays and means the accounting team can be disconnected from the warehouse.
The payables team probably receives the majority of your vendor invoices via email and those that don’t should be encouraged or incented to. Most document management systems can be configured to automatically accept that email so that anyone who needs access to them can find them quickly and easily – without having to ask for them. The same process can be used for order acknowledgements and sales orders.
In the past, the accounting team was drowning in paper as they matched the packing slip with the order confirmation and the invoice. The same was true of the purchasing department as they matched order acknowledgements with original order. Using document approval and workflow in your document management system allows users to be in different locations and working from the same documents in real time.
As the world adjusts to the current reality, companies can go on with business, sustain employee collaboration, improve security while providing remote employees access to their documents through a cloud based document management system. This just one piece of a larger technology puzzle. It is however an easy place to start.
About the Author
Jerome Lavalley has been helping industrial distributors with their technology needs for 25 years. He co-founded Enlighten.Net, Inc. in 2004 to focus on document management within these organizations.
About Enlighten.Net, Inc.
Enlighten.Net, Inc. is a leading provider of Document Management software for small to medium sized organizations throughout North America. Our robust solutions manage tens of millions of corporate documents saving time and money.