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Document Management Best Practices Needed

Jerry Miller's Profile

We handle a tremendous amount of documents (invoice, PO's and receivers), so I was wondering how well document management software actually works?

Answers

(Agent, JKS Solutions, Inc.) |

Hi Jerry,

I can't answer your question directly because its rather subjective based on experience, but I suggest that when you are looking at new systems, be sure to ask the vendors about the workflow features. If there is no workflow, there is no real benefit in my opinion. Of course that is just my opinion. :)

If you have the workflow feature that connects all the submitters and different levels of approvers you are able to effectively administer your company's procurement authority matrix. I have worked with SAP workflow and as long as the documents are scanned from a Lockbox location, all works really well. Once the implementation bugs are worked out, its great.

One of the nice features of workflow is that you can do your own analysis in a spreadsheet and upload it to sit on the vendor invoice record and approvers down the line can see that also.

These systems can be a great way to increase visibility, protect documents, share them appropriately, and comply with internal controls.

Document management alone is not enough, be sure to add the workflow to it for the full experience.

Val

Melissa Kulesz
Title: Business Development
Company: DataBank IMX
(Business Development, DataBank IMX) |

As with anything, you get what you pay for. Here are a few important things to consider:

* It is scalable? Can it grow with you?
* It it viewable from within your LOB software?
* Does it show you what's missing and/or related documents (i.e. packing slips,
PO's, invoices, etc.)?
* It is user friendly?
* Do you want an on-site solution or a "cloud" solution?

Val is correct about the workflow aspect. Once the proper routing is set up, it will save you valuable time and money.

Perhaps the most important -- find a vendor that you feel comfortable working with. If you purchase a car from a dealership and you don't like their customer service, you're probably not going to return for oil changes, tires and other routine maintenance. The same holds true here.

Hope this helps.

--Melissa

Robert Neyens
Title: Finance Manager
Company: TITAN Containers A/S
LinkedIn Profile
(Finance Manager, TITAN Containers A/S) |

I second both previous answers.
Just one thing to add. Don't see it as a stand-alone solution. Most solutions I've seen so far can be connected to your accounts system with automatic postings as well. Secondly the system should be able to 'learn' 'improve' over time. Adding new suppliers, accounts, change procedures, functions etc...
Many regards

Topic Expert
Keith Perry
Title: Consulting CFO and Business Operations A..
Company: Growth Accelerator
(Consulting CFO and Business Operations Advisor, Growth Accelerator) |

I've had great experience with document mgt software; it is relatively simple and mature, so there aren't too many pitfalls that I've seen in the software itself. Knowledge Tree is one, but there are many, many others.

However....
...the software itself isn't really the issue. Process and requirements are. If you have to have a physical process, then a DMS solution is just adding steps, not taking them away. Sloppy filing or failure to file are an additional problem that plagues implementation.

So...do a process map; if you think you can change your processes, the change can be well worth it.

Topic Expert
Wayne Spivak
Title: President & CFO
Company: SBAConsulting.com
LinkedIn Profile
(President & CFO, SBAConsulting.com) |

May I add a proviso - Standards. Use solutions that adhere to the standards vs a propritetary solution. This way should you choose to change vendors, systems, etc, your data is acessible and moveable.

Chuck Boecking
Title: Open Source ERP and Business Intelligenc..
Company: Chuck Boecking
(Open Source ERP and Business Intelligence, Chuck Boecking) |

Hi Jerry,

The ideal situation is to manage and store documents within your current processes and software. Most of the time you can make small changes to your current system and realize big results. I think it is important to define your needs. Let's take a PO as an example. Here are the steps in a typical PO life cycle.

Some of all of these steps apply to you:
1) draft a PO - not yet usable by the system. System should prevent sending document to the vendor.
2) Prepare PO for Approval - reserves inventory and routes the document to the right person.
3) Complete PO - system only allows the right role to complete this action. Document can now be sent to vendor.
4) Send version to vendor - system creates a print format. System my track this document as a 'version'.
5) Scan or attach vendor response - this is especially important for receipts that include packing slips and invoices.
6) Edit document and create new version - repeat the above steps when PO needs to be modified. The system should be smart enough to allow/disallow mods based on receiving state.
7) Close - when all activity is complete, close the PO and cancel outstanding quantities. Track who closed and possibly why. Prompt employees for quality responses if needed for quality certifications.

Some or all the above steps apply to other documents (receipts, invoicing, payments, inventory moves and adjustments, etc...).

I usually implement the above processes inside ADempiere. It is free, and it is open source. The document life cycle and workflows are already included. You can attach a document to any record. For example, If you navigate to a vendor invoice, you see the attached original vendor document inside the system.

This is the scanner I typically recommend (http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16838115052). It is fast, It scans two sided. And, it is durable; I often deploy these units in a warehouse setting.

I hope this helps!

Chuck Boecking

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