Whether you are running a large multinational, or a small enterprise, information governs the way we do business. Organisations hold vast amounts of paper documentation and now increasingly transact business by e-mail, publish content online and generate information in electronic formats. Staying in control of the resulting information, both paper and e-versions – e-mails, documents, contracts or invoices – is important not only for fulfilling statutory and legal obligations and maintaining an audit trail but also for affecting the bottom line.
As communication technologies continue to proliferate, information will also continue to grow exponentially. This means it is worth standing back and taking a view on your business and how information it relies upon and the processes that handle it could be optimised to your advantage sooner, rather than later. In doing so, organisations can begin to see wider benefits in terms of cost, efficiency and customer service delivery.
From the most sophisticated CRM or content management solution to a relatively simple document scanning implementation, the return can be impressive.
Converting paper documents into electronic formats can free up space with potential for reducing overhead cost – to state the obvious paper archives require too much physical storage. Capture technologies are now sophisticated enough to offer varying degrees of recognition, not just of characters and data contained within a document, but also of the type of document (i.e. whether it is an invoice or an order form, a receipt or a contract, for example), and treat it accordingly.
Once information is captured electronically, organisations have a greater degree of choice over how, when and who disseminates it. Electronic document and records management gives organisations greater accessibility and control over their content, even their market intelligence and enables them to respond to customers and market conditions in a timely way which can be vital in terms of brand perception and consumer loyalty. Having document and content management systems integrated with the work flow enables faster processing, and enables effective evidence based decision-making on up-to-date information.
Stock control and replenishment can be automated enabling faster fulfilment for the customer and the end consumer. Response times and turnaround can be dramatically shortened, and the greater degree of visibility and control allows for more effective fleet management and delivery routeing because it can be automated and assigned via the ordering system. Combine this with the flexibility which mobile technologies can offer to remote workers in terms of real-time data exchange, immediate recording of, say, proof of delivery (POD) and the return on investment in terms of time, efficiency and cost savings begins to be palpable.
Simple automation of bill payment and presentation can also speed up the time it takes to obtain revenues and improve cashflow. Streamlining information capture, management and delivery ultimately gives organisations flexibility, freeing up time and energy to focus on product and service rather than the mechanics of back office operations.
TNT Express is one of the world’s top providers of global express distribution services and among the UK’s fastest providers of nationwide door-to-door delivery services. It provides on-demand, time-definite and day-certain delivery of documents, parcels and freight. It provides express services to more than 200 countries. and offers Intra-regional services in Europe and Asia. It is the only company offering local, regional and pan-European road and air express services in all major European countries.
TNT is a prime example of an organisation within the logistics and distribution space which has technology to manage its information and ensuring continued performance.
It has been using a report management system from RSD since 1986. The current Enterprise Output Solution (EOS) software runs on the company’s OS/390 platform and handles the print management, worldwide report distribution and online availability throughout the organisation, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. EOS is split into seven self-contained applications, each corresponding to a business function.
This system handles vast volumes of data; TNT has 15,000 EOS users, 70,000 online reports accounting for 225 million lines and a further 100,000 reports are held in the archives, some of which are held for five years.
The system can deliver business critical data worldwide, managing the distribution of all reports that facilitate the movement of consignments to its global network of depots and customers. “EOS can be accessed from each of our depots throughout the world. It is a true worldwide solution,” says John Capes, TNT’s senior operations analyst.
Worldwide co-ordination often requires simultaneous distribution and immediate availability of information for all international depots and locations – TNT has some 878.
“One of EOS’ strengths is that it can ensure rapid distribution. We regularly generate reports that contain information for the whole world. The reports are split and distributed depot by depot by EOS, allowing every user to have their own section of the report. In essence we run one report, and it immediately goes around the world,” says Capes.
Since the initial implementation, TNT has extended the capability of the system reducing the amount of machine processing time spent on invoice retrieval, not to mention man hours. It has implemented EOS’ Table of Contents (TOC) indexing functionality for Invoice documents by simplifying the retrieval of information in large reports. Capes explains: “If one of our Customer Service Representatives