Case Study: Wheat Distributor Streamlines Processing of 20,000 Invoices/Mo.

Wheatbelt, a stockholder-owned distributor and buying group, works primarily with providing drop ship programs direct to retailers in farm and home industry segments. Established in 1955, the company provides its membership product and promotional support and direct access to three annual product shows. About Select Imaging Since 2003, Select Imaging provides content management solutions, advanced capture and document scanning services to companies throughout North America. The company focus is geared at providing a range of industries the ability to automate document processes.

The Process

The Problem

With more than 175 active company members and over 400 retailer outlets from coast to coast, it was a vital part of Wheatbelt’s business to facilitate all sales activities via vendor to the retailer as seamlessly as possible. Prior to the company’s conversion in processes, Wheatbelt was receiving roughly 20k paper invoices a month, which were being received from Wheatbelt’s vendors, then re-distributed out to the retail stores so consumer pricing could be established and completed prior to merchandise being sold.

At that time, all paper invoices were mailed via United States Postal Service and Wheatbelt’s clerical staff spent approximately 35% of their day actively separating and sorting documents prior to them ever being processed. The invoicing process cycle took roughly 7 business days to complete with little room left for errors. Additionally, the unforeseen predictability of the United States mail service hung in the balance as a critical concern worth evaluating.

Solution Requirements

In a much-needed attempt to stop the bleeding, Steve Nash, the Director of Finance & Information Systems at Wheatbelt, immediately introduced email and a scanner into their workflow processes. At the very least, retailers who had access to a computer along with an email address would be able to receive the necessary invoices and documentation in a more timely fashion. The clerical staff then began the tedious process of scanning invoices to be mailed. Although well-intentioned, Wheatbelt learned early on that this process would prove to be unfit and required further investigation.
The diversification of their consumer base proved too great for this to be a viable, long-term solution. This issue could not be overlooked; rather it needed to be a significant part in finding a resolution. Whatever software solution was ultimately chosen, it needed to be both easy to use and flexible.

The PSIGEN Solution

“EDI (the method of communicating via electronic data interchange) became a significant challenge, for us in this process. A large number of our customer base were mom-and-pop/rural stores with limited access to and/or knowledge of technology.”

Steve Nash
Director of Finance & Information Systems

Capture Software

PSIGEN PSIcapture

Content Repository

Filebound

Scanners

1 Canon 110 Scanner, 1 Panasonic 4085 high-speed scanner

The initial phase of the two-phase migration process at Wheatbelt was established through the use of PSIcapture software and a single scanner and later introduced one with high-speed output along with a Filebound repository to house all electronic documentation. The introduction of the PSIcapture software was felt almost immediately.

“The normal seven business day invoice turnaround time was reduced to a mere 24-hour to 48-hour window of time,” said Tom Cain, System Support Manager for Wheatbelt. The Bates Stamping capability was leveraged throughout this solution as well, which saved significant time, and created a valuable reference point where there once was none. So on the occasion that a staff member needed to refer back to a particular document, they had the ability to access the date/time-received information with ease.

Wheatbelt’s Action Plan consisted of the following steps:

Phase I

(comprised of PSIGEN scanning software & scanning equipment)

  • Acquire documents, emails or scan documents
  • Parse them
  • Index the documents
  • Take data and leverage through accounting system & document management system (simultaneously)
  • Email the end user (in this instance, the various retail stores*)

*A workflow was created in this process to send directly to the stores.

Phase II

(then managing the documents digitally)

Through the use of PSIcapture software, Wheatbelt can enable a client to login to Filebound and see an invoice. This is significant from earlier methods in that instead of simply pushing documentation to be stored, they could actually access the document if needed.

Conclusion

The PSIcapture software coupled with the Filebound repository has enabled Wheatbelt to significantly reduce turnaround times, proving to make their business run more effectively by reducing processing times from 7-14 days down to just 1-2 days.

In the future, Wheatbelt plans to explore additional PSIcapture features to create further efficiencies for Wheatbelt and improve company processes.

“The PSIcapture/Filebound solution has allowed us to become more creative with our jobs. We’re trying different things with our personnel, that’s allowed us to do more than ever before, such as extracting data from pdf documents. By using PSIcapture software in conjunction with Filebound, we’ve gained a lot in that we no longer have to file or pull paper. We have direct access to all documents– a tremendous impact on our clerical staff and what they have to do.”

Steve Nash
Director of Finance & Information Systems

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