Established in 1898, AE Smith is a private company with over 700 employees. The company has nine offices across Australia. They offer practical solutions in building services, energy efficiency, and air conditioning. However, AE Smith struggled to transition to a paperless work environment. They faced several challenges in fully integrating numerous processing points into their primary ERP system. In this Acceleration Case Study, learn how AE Smith reduced expenses and improved customer satisfaction by maximizing their ERP with a paperless solution.
Business Challenge & AE Smith’s Current System
The primary ERP system AE Smith uses is KEY2ACT. This is a hybrid field service management solution allowing companies to better manage their workflows and business operations. However, because they did not fully integrate paperless solutions into KEY2ACT, they encountered significant challenges. Initially, AE Smith only partially implemented a paperless solution into one business unit. In addition, it was not well integrated with their ERP system. Due to changes in ownership with the software vendor, tech support for the product was also lacking.
Because of these various challenges, AE Smith eventually decided to go in a different direction. Their primary focus was finding a well-supported paperless solution that would be able to completely integrate into their main ERP system, KEY2ACT. With a paperless solution, the company could dramatically reduce expenses. It would also enable AE Smith to better meet individual customer needs.
Risks of Paper Processing
There are significant security risks with storing paper documents inside an office. Misplaced documents can fall into the wrong hands. This can result in a data breach with countless expenses and break customer trust. This can lead to negative PR as well. Additionally, a natural disaster can destroy documents in the office, making it difficult to continue business operations.
Also, paper documents need to be manually copied or faxed to be sent to clients. This takes a significant amount of time, adding stress and reducing employee productivity. By eliminating paper processing, the company can easily streamline operations and eliminate additional tasks.
Benefits of Going Paperless
Implementing a paperless solution enables AE Smith to experience many benefits. For instance, it reduces costs and enables the company to process larger amounts of documents. Without paper processing, the company can save a lot of space with this information being uploaded to the cloud. Additionally, they can focus on more important tasks, as they don’t have to spend time organizing or seaching for through piles of paperwork for specific documents.
With greater understanding, AE Smith will be able to fully take advantage of digital documents and have less impact on the environment. It’s easier to digitally transfer documents across multiple departments and send to clients.
It’s not always easy for a company to transition to paperless. Several challenges can arise. For instance, there may be a lack of software or insufficient training. Other obstacles could include shortage of funds or employees resisting change. By recognizing these challenges, the company can better prepare to deal with them and smoothly transition to paperless.
Technology Solution – Implementing DocLink
AE Smith looked at numerous solutions. However, integration issues, pricing challenges, and unnecessary complexity made it difficult to find a paperless solution that best meets their needs. Thankfully, an ERP partner recommended they use DocLink to help digitally transform their business.
A main selling point of DocLink was accessibility. They provided demonstrations on how the product can benefit the organization. These examples simplified decision-making for AE Smith in implementing this technology.
The implementation of DocLink was not difficult. Altec provided an on-site consultant for an entire week to ensure a smooth the training process. Follow-up support for implementing this technology was superb in allowing employees to take fully advantage of the new system.
Due to the improvements to efficiency, AE Smith will be looking at ways to perform other AP processes. For example, they will be looking into attaching documents in email messages to clients related to invoices. This enhances the customer experience.
The ease of going paperless enables AE Smith to have a greater future outlook on how DocLink can further improve business functions. Also, automating workflows saves time and boosts employee productivity. By giving managers the ability to grant user permission to various documents, DocLink makes it possible to secure confidential information. These security controls are more effective than phyiscally having paper documents in offices.
Besides replacing paper forms, DocLink is beneficial for remote workers. These employees can access important documents without the need to be inside of an office. Working in real-time from remote locations improves productivity and allows AE Smith to operate normally without the need for everyone to work in the office. Remote work opportunities will only continue to grow as more businesses get comfortable, allowing employees to work from home.
Results of Going Paperless
Ultimately, it did not take AE Smith very long to realize the many improvements in their business operations. Now it is much easier to find information, and these documents are much more organized. The seamless integration of KEY2ACT enables employees to retrieve invoices for each transaction without any technical difficulties easily.
Filing paperwork is now almost obsolete, which saves a lot of time and money. One of the main features was access an electronic record through DocLink and ERP due to the integrated visibility. AE Smith praised the entire team at DocLink due to their excellent customer service in answering questions quickly while also going into great detail while providing technical support.
Access to quality customer service was even more impressive, as Altec does not have local support for Australia, but AE Smith claims that they often receive better support with DocLink than using customer support from other local software providers. A strong technical support team and a regularly updated product are the main reasons DocLink delivers significant value for the money.
AE Smith plans to continue to use DocLink throughout the workplace while also utilizing more advanced functions. Eliminating paper documents makes it possible for AE Smith to focus on improving its business operations and meeting the needs of each customer. Going paperless with DocLink is a win-win situation for everyone.
The role of technology will continue to expand, as going paperless offers immense benefits for businesses small and large. AE Smith is one of the most recent success stories in transitioning to a paperless environment and experiencing a significant ROI within a year. This positive outcome highlights the importance of adaptability in the workplace. Now is a great time for other companies to consider the many benefits of going paperless and transitioning into a digital work environment.