When you read the phrase “electronic document management,” you might think of towering high-rises and corporate campuses, not car dealerships.
But the paperless office is benefiting many industries, including automotive sales. More businesses are using electronic document management to automate processes, manage workflow, and save time, money and physical space.
When Fletcher Jones Mercedes Benz (FJMB) – the largest Mercedes-Benz dealership in the United States – grew tired of dealing with unnecessary costs, lost productivity and unsafe information storage, it decided to replace manual paper processing with electronic document management.
The dealership enjoyed several benefits, including:
- Increased productivity across all departments
- Improved customer service
- Growth that exceeded expectations
Here’s how FJMB did it.
FJMB created a stack of documents half-an-inch thick every time it sold a car. At the time, Fletcher Jones was selling about 700 cars a month. Generating 29 feet (or 9 meters) worth of records every month meant employees spent a lot of unnecessary time processing and accessing documents. Repair orders presented a similar problem, with over 440 cars a day generating 12 page reports each (that’s over 126,000 pages month). To make matters worse, the dealership could only store six months of documentation onsite.
Dealing with massive amounts of paper didn’t just affect workflow. The astronomical costs associated with printing impacted FJMB’s bottom line, while complex manual disposal processes increased the risk of information theft. When the dealership decided to reach out about an electronic document management solution, big changes were needed (and quickly).
To reduce employee burdens associated with retrieving and sharing documents across scattered call centers, FJMB installed an electronic system that automatically:
- Indexes scanned repair orders and sales documentation into a company-wide digital storage system
- Sorts repair orders into multi-page records using matchcode identification technology
- Backs up records onto CDs or DVDs as a failsafe measure
As per regulation, original paper documents are kept for four years and then destroyed. The dealership’s electronic record specifies where paper documents are kept in case the original hard copy needs to be produced.
FJMB’s move to electronic document processing and business process automation yielded significant benefits at all levels of the organization.
Users now have instant, online access to information and never wait on courier deliveries, boosting productivity and job satisfaction. Manual filing tasks are eliminated entirely, letting workers focus on more important, strategic projects.
Customer service also improved, as repair service specialists now have access to relevant customer records faster. Specialists also annotate online documents directly, improving collaboration and allowing one representative to pick up exactly where another left off, quickly and with no confusion.
Automatic disk backup provides better disaster recovery measures. In the event FJMB’s system loses its connection to the central server, the dealership’s IT department is able to resume operations in a timely manner.
At a corporate level, FJMB benefited from:
- $40,000 worth of annual cost reductions. By reducing or eliminating the printing, storing and shipping of documents, FJMB created a paperless office and reduced associated costs.
- An increase in premium office space. Fewer filing cabinets creates more room to get work done.
- Improved efficiency. By creating a single call center using electronic document processing, FJMB streamlined workflow and drove effective collaboration.
All of these benefits helped FJMB grow its business and improve profit margins without having to hire any additional employees.
“There is so much capability within DocuWare. It is an incredible product. Not only did we eliminate the filing room, but we are better managing our business processes, increasing profitability and looking to expand the solution enterprise-wide.” – Wayne Fitkin | IT Director | Fletcher Jones Mercedes-Benz
FJMB’s experience shows that electronic document management isn’t a luxury for businesses looking to improve operational efficiency. It’s a necessity. Business process automation doesn’t just help your staff do their jobs better: it directly impacts your profit margin.
If you’re struggling with the costs, inefficiencies and space constraints of paper document management, consider working with a solutions provider capable of crafting an electronic system tailored to your specific business needs.
Ready to learn more about successfully implementing an ECM solution at your organization? Read our free e-book, An ECM Insider’s Guide: The 7 Factors For Success.