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Documents & Work-flow Management

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Despite the increasing digitization of our society, it has not actually led to less physical documents. The availability of information, precisely because of the digitization, has created more documents. For many organizations it becomes increasingly important how they can control the flow of documents and information. Much time and consequently money is lost by the organization to print, distribute and archive documents. Large organizations spend approximately three percent of their annual turnover from the external processing of documents. This involves creation, production, distribution and storage of documentation.

This is the conclusion of a study, conducted by RS Consulting, involving 250 EU companies, commissioned by Xerox. Did you know that at your organization every day 35-50% of the time is spent on search and store documents and only 5 to 15% in actually reading the information? (Reuters Study) A more efficient use can significantly save money for each organization. In order to achieve the best result a distinction needs to be made between document flow and work-flow management.

Documents flow.
This involves automating sec documents, such as with housing associations, it consist of leases, grant applications, complaints, etc., which need to be easily accessible. Process Automated systems prove in practice to have problems with unstructured information which does not belong to one unique process. Think of legislation, manuals, memos and e-mail. This creates a proliferation of copies for various departments and stakeholders.

However, these documents can become digital available to stake holders, with a Document Management System,  The paper documents are scanned using Optical Character Recognition (OCR) makes it readable and accessible with a computer. The documents are printed only there where they are needed. This avoids that documents constantly need physical distribution. It also significantly improves the speed of distribution. Data are simultaneously available to all stakeholders.

This approach also has the advantage that far fewer documents by mail need to be circulated. In the mail system are a large number of documents, as attachments, often stored in multiple mailboxes. This jam-packed many mail servers with the same  information.

Another problem with digital archiving of documents is the storage structure. Often organizations work with specific directory structures, but are likely to become irrelevant with changes in the organization structure.  There fore it takes a lot of time for such storage structures to be maintained. A better solution is to work with relational structures. The documents are then central [server] stored and to each document tags are assigned to identify the document and it’s relation. This may be the invoice date, contract number, or other specific typologies.

Media Logistics, the company boasts 52,000 hours saved per year through efficient document management. [link] So companies can by using Document Management significantly curb their paper flow.

Work-flow Management

Work-flow management is the efficient and effective consulting, distribution and approval of documents. It is, therefore, the work-flow of your documents. Your processes through which information flows can be arranged along the digital path. In addition to efficiently managing the flow of documents, is also allows organizations to pick up the distribution of internal documentation.

It is important to have the assurance that you have the latest version of each document.  Additionally, you can easily enrich digital documentation with links and other relationships to other relevant documents. Finally, these options also let you search and navigate, allowing quick insight into the underlying matter. An effective control of digital documentation improves the opportunity to actually reduce the total number of documents, as well digital as physical.

Example:
A grant application is received by post. This is scanned and assigned to the treating section. The department / person attending will receive a signal from the WFS that a document has entered treatment. Without printing out the document is processed and ready to put the next section, which reviews and approves the application and the applicant is informed by mail informing upon his request.

This allows a document flow throughout the organization without being printed. The big advantage is not just the savings on paper. The duration of the application is significantly reduced. In addition, the organization has real-time insight to where the document is. This also provides the organization the ability to step in the overall process to evaluate effectiveness. At each process step one can see which operations are carried out and what time it is involved.

So especially for organizations such as government agencies, document and work-flow management is a clear opportunity to make significant savings.  This shortens the time frame, the transparency of information flow  and customer satisfaction would increase with shorter application times and always known status of their applications.

Sources:

http://www.logistiek.nl/nieuws/nid7064-efficinter-documentenbeheer-levert-media-logistics-forse-besparing-op-.html