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Customer Appreciation Week 2019 – DocuWare Fuels Efficient Invoice Processing and Client Growth for Alternatives in Engineering


It’s the last (but certainly not least) day of DocuWare Customer Appreciation Week! July 18 is the next official Get to Know Your Customer Day but at DocuWare, we celebrate in June – and why leave it to just one day? Visit our Modern Digital Business blog to read each DocuWare success story from this past week and see photos of the festivities. See all the celebrations on social media at #DocuWareCustomerWeek.

logoAlternatives in Engineering (AIE), based in Defiance, Missouri, has been in the fire protection design, inspection, and repair business since 1983. They currently handle over 23,000 support calls annually from several major retail, wholesale, and industrial complexes. Their staff coordinates with local contractors from around the country to maintain their clients’ fire protection systems, for example, inspecting and fixing a retail store’s sprinkler system. They have the respect of contractors with a highly educated and well-trained staff. AIE is a certified woman-owned business that has stood the test time with their experience and expertise.

As the volume of AIE’s customer calls increased, they were being buried in paper and wanted a solution to digitize and securely store their documents. On average, by looking back at old documents, there were 4-6 total pages generated per call. With the high volume of calls, that was about 17 four-draw file cabinets per year. With a 6-year retention requirement, that would be 102 file cabinets just for retention alone. Also, contractors mailed in invoices which totaled to 50,000 invoices per year – employees would process these by manually passing packets of paper around and then filing it all once completed. This sometimes led to misfiling documents. Overall, they wanted to be more efficient and eliminate wasted time by not having to manually search for and retrieve paper files.

AIE was an early adopter of DocuWare and has been using it for 12 years with the support of Authorized DocuWare Partner Miken Technologies.

iStock-1056361736DocuWare has allowed AIE to simplify their previously intense invoice processing and expand the scope of their business while maintaining a smaller staff of highly skilled employees. Contractors now email their invoices in and the AIE team can easily index and store them in DocuWare. This kicks off a workflow with the following steps: 1) the invoice is stamped that it needs to be reviewed and it’s routed to a reviewer, 2) the reviewer checks the invoice to make sure all the details are accurate and stamps it to be paid, 3) the invoice is paid 4) after the contractor is paid, the client is invoiced and 5) once paid, the client invoice is stamped completed.

The 24/365 staff uses DocuWare both in the office and remotely to meet their customers’ needs and DocuWare fulfills that need with very high uptime. Now when a client calls in, the team can find invoices and related documents in seconds. Currently, AIE has about 3,000,000 documents stored in DocuWare; in paper, that would be about 588 four-drawer file cabinets! The types of documents stored include invoices, contractor bills, pictures, inspection reports, sprinkler reports, email correspondence and more.  Kati Smith, President at AIE, also uses the Connect to Outlook feature to store email correspondence right from her inbox into DocuWare. The biggest benefits that resonate with the staff are the amount of time they save, the reality that documents don’t get lost, and no one is buried in paper anymore.

AIE began using DocuWare to just process contractors’ invoices and inspection reports. Now they use it more extensively to archive jurisdictional requirements, state licenses, design files, required fire protection inspections, required certificates of their employees, and several other internal processes. They are looking forward to expanding it to HR as well, as they already have the file cabinets set up.

“DocuWare has made us way more efficient than we were 15 years ago and has given us the ability to take on new clients,” said Kati.

Check out DocuWare for Invoice Processing in action and see how it can streamline and automate your AP processing: 

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The AIE team cheerfully received their Customer Appreciation plaque and catered lunch, presented by DocuWare Regional Sales Director Shamarr Fonville and Authorized DocuWare Partner Miken Technologies.

award presentation

lunch time


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