One giant leap towards digitisation
Case Study Lamprecht Transport AG (09/2016)
Every day, countless documents arrive at Lamprecht Transport AG as part of the company’s day-to-day business. Each document needs to be assigned, processed and securely stored. Together with its IT partner Kendox, the Swiss company has now migrated its paper-based archive to a modern digital system.
Lamprecht Transport AG, based in Switzerland, provides bespoke solutions for domestic and international shipping. Founded in 1945, this family-owned business has four subsidiaries, 14 branches and over 300 employees across Switzerland and the USA. Over the years, Lamprecht has collected millions of documents in its archive – some vendor and customer invoices, others delivery records. “This enormous mountain of paper and digital documents was impossible to manage and was distributed across multiple storage locations. This made it difficult both to find individual documents and assign them to specific business transactions”, said Tullio Rocca, Head of IT at Lamprecht Transport AG, describing the initial situation.
Wanted: A modern archiving solution
The documents were stored in an ERP system based on IBM AS/400, in the archiving solution Solitas InfoStore. Older, paper-based documents ultimately ended up in an external warehouse. “We were now looking for a way to move the old InfoStore archive to a modern platform. The various storage sites would then be integrated,, creating a central document access point”, said Rocca, explaining the challenges. “The next step for us was to look for a suitable provider.” Lamprecht ultimately chose Kendox and its solution InfoShare. “We initially made contact through one of our IT partners. The decisive fact, however, was that Kendox was the only service provider with an understanding of the AS/400 archive and the integration of our ERP and BI applications. It was also important to us to have a local partner who could guarantee on-site development and service”, said Rocca.
Old archive migrated in full
After completing a process analysis, Kendox began to migrate the data from the existing InfoStore archive system running on an IBM AS/400 server. Over three million stored documents were transferred over to the new InfoShare system and converted from spool files to PDF format. It was also necessary to implement a number of different business processes. “We only wanted to transfer the up-to-date information to the new system; the old information was to be archived on an additional file server and made searchable. The existing keyword process also needed to be carried over to the new archive in order to enable keyword searching. Finally, we also needed a web application through which our logistics partners could view signed delivery notes”, explained Rocca. Although the complex migration process posed no great technical challenge for the specialists at Kendox, it nevertheless took around three months to complete. “Converting and scanning three million documents took more time than expected. Our collaboration with the experts at Kendox remained straightforward and professional throughout – we were able to resolve many questions on the telephone. The final checks and tests showed that all migrated documents were findable and readable”, said Rocca, indicating his satisfaction.
Centralised archive access
The Kendox InfoShare solution makes it possible to digitally capture and archive both vendor invoices and delivery notes across numerous locations. Customer invoices – after being converted from AS/400 spool files to PDF format – are given “overlays” before also being archived in InfoShare. The overlays help to maintain the standard corporate design by adding background images such as letterheads to the converted PDF files. The system allows domain-based permissions management, guaranteeing employees access to the specific archived information they need – and, conveniently, through existing applications such as the ERP system trans-it and the business intelligence tool QlikView. “All invoices are now revision-safe thanks to digital signatures. This brings us much closer to our goal of realising digital dossiers containing all documents related to a given business transaction”, explained Rocca.
Moving away from paper
Moving to the modern InfoShare system paid off in a big way for Lamprecht. “We were able to streamline processes and save time and effort. Under the old system, each invoice had to be sent to the accounting department in paper format, manually processed and stored in physical folders. Now, they are scanned and stored in a central location. Simple multi-function devices are all we need for this process – we no longer need specialist scanners, which was also a cost factor for us. The most practical element of all is the fact that the documents can be easily called up using all sorts of applications at any time. Meanwhile, the accounting department adds an EAN code to documents, enabling automatic keywording to simplify searches”, reported Rocca. Not only is InfoShare easy to use, it is also flexible and can be adapted to meet new requirements. “We also find it positive that searches for data sets run very quickly. As a result, the solution sees high acceptance rates among users and we are able to provide information to customers faster than ever”, added Rocca.
The future is digital
With Kendox’s solution, Lamprecht Transport AG has come a step closer to its goal of moving away from paper and towards a digital transformation of the business. “We rely on flat structures, fast reaction times and high flexibility. We now want to build on this competitive advantage in the future. The specialists at Kendox are helping us by securing our business-critical processes”, explained Rocca. The next joint project is already underway. “We now want to also integrate a contract management system into InfoShare that can be used to scan agreements, store them and provide a reminder function, for example when a contract is about to expire. In future, document management will be more important to us than ever”, said Rocca, looking forward.