Logicalis helps Ryder Europe move to an almost paperless environment.
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Ryder Europe is the UK’s leading provider of commercial vehicle rental, contract hire, maintenance and dedicated delivery solutions. With a fleet of over 2,000 vehicles ranging from light vans to heavy trucks, it provides customers with a flexible, reliable and cost-effective alternative to owning and maintaining their own commercial vehicles. From its nationwide network of 26 depots, plus over 300 approved service locations, the company’s maintenance service ensures that customer fleets and vehicles are repaired and maintained to the highest standards.
With around 3000 service and repair jobs to carry out each month, maintenance staff in Ryder’s service depots throughout the UK have to deal with huge volumes of invoices, service sheets, certificates and other vehicle documentation - a task they were finding increasingly cumbersome and labour-intensive, according to Development Manager, Jase Azulay.
“It was becoming extremely time-consuming to manage and share information,” he says. “Our service engineers would typically work on a vehicle, then write the details of the service or repairs on a pre-formatted form. If someone else in the organisation needed that information, they had to fax the form across to them - a manually intensive and very time-consuming task.”
As if the large volume of service-related documents were not enough to cope with, Ryder also receives hundreds of invoices each month from its many suppliers, each of which needs to be matched against the appropriate purchase order to confirm its date, amount and number. Accounts payable staff therefore faced similar problems to those of the maintenance department when it came to working with Ryder’s manual systems.
“We needed to free up staff in both departments to do what they’re meant to do, namely service customers and deal with invoices - rather than photocopying and faxing forms,” says Azulay. “It meant we had to find a way to make service documentation and invoicing paperwork more accessible to staff. What’s more, to satisfy legal requirements, we needed to make information available to customers electronically via the Internet.”
“Everything pointed to the need for an automated system to capture, process, store and share our ever-increasing volume of paperwork,” says Azulay. “We therefore decided on a fully integrated system that would allow us to classify, verify and extract information from any service-related or accounts payable documentation - a multi-site solution that would rationalise its document management once and for all. At the same time, we needed to integrate the new technology with our older IBM AS/400 architecture to which employees are accustomed, so as to make it transparent to them.
“Having already developed a strong relationship with our preferred IBM business partner, Logicalis, we were confident they could provide the innovation and service to help us achieve this. We were also confident they would not only help us implement the necessary IT, but also work with us to realise further business benefits and improve our overall productivity.”
Following recommendations from Logicalis, Ryder’s final choice of solution comprised:
- An IBM iSeries Content Manager database to store the electronic files.
- Kofax Information Capture software running on Kodak scanners.
- MaxImage software to interface with Ryder’s AS/400-based Enrich ERP system.
- An IBM eClient to transmit the data to customers electronically.
During implementation of the solution, Logicalis worked closely with Azulay’s in-house team and with Ryder’s IT service provider Unisys, who installed all the hardware and operating systems. Once the systems had been installed and the interfaces written, Azulay says staff in Ryder’s service centres experienced an immediate increase in their productivity.
“It meant they no longer had to waste time faxing and posting pieces of paper. Instead, they could simply batch and forward all the paperwork for scanning centrally, so they could get on with the more important task of servicing customers.”
Instead of going through manual processes and internal mail, incoming documentation in paper format is now scanned and digitised by the Kofax software and fed into Ryder’s Enrich business system via an interface created by Logicalis. It means accounts payable staff are now able to make instant decisions about invoice payments, rather than having to scour mountains of paperwork.
Logicalis also wrote an interface to Ryder’s IBM Content Manager Repository to enable invoice and service documentation to be stored and retrieved easily by accounts and maintenance personnel respectively. The introduction of IBM Content Manager means they now have access to a central source of documents, whilst allowing Ryder to maintain full control and security. This has improved customer satisfaction by making documents instantly available to customer service staff when dealing with enquiries.
The introduction of a Web interface to the system has also resulted in significant improvements in customer satisfaction. “Whereas before we had to post service sheets out to customers with multiple locations, using our Web service they can now see those documents immediately wherever they happen to be within their organisation, and whenever they choose,” says Azulay. “It also makes audits with the Vehicle and Operator Services Agency (VOSA) much easier because we no longer have to phone around the depots or get paperwork faxed here and there - now it can all be done online.”
As well as moving Ryder towards a paperless environment, Azulay says the company has benefited from a high level of skills transfer by Logicalis. “They took our staff through the process of “teaching” the Kofax system to recognise any new type of document, classify it, validate it and then release the information into the IBM Content Manager. “Nowadays, the solution is almost part of the furniture - it just happens. Thanks to the MaxImage integration tool that Logicalis provided, all our back office staff need do is click a button on their familiar screen and up pops a PDF or scanned image of whatever document they need. We now have a base platform upon which we can continue to refine our document management. For instance, we now have to do far less scanning because third-parties are able to publish documentation to us in Adobe format.
“We now have a very open platform that enables us to seamlessly integrate new types of software. As far as users are concerned, they simply want to access their documents from the Enrich system - they don’t need to know that several pieces of software are required to make this possible. Having used the solution for some time now, we’re extremely happy with what it’s enabled us to achieve. It does exactly what it says on the tin” concludes Azulay.
For more information on Ryder Europe, visit: http://europe.ryder.com/