As more businesses begin to embrace digital, not only in the way it chooses to deliver services and solutions, but also in how it operates, it has become increasingly important to identify areas where technology can create efficiency.

It is an aspect of doing business that Kyocera Document Solutions South Africa is acutely aware of, as it tries to improve the operations of its clients, as well as itself.

“True success comes from ensuring that your employees and your processes are ready first. The employees need the right skills to deal with a digitally transformed approach to business, and the processes need to be designed to suit what amounts to a different way of doing things,” explains Werner Engelbrecht, general manager at Kyocera Document Solutions South Africa.

“Most crucially, for digitalisation to be successful, it’s imperative that the transformation is driven from the C-suite,” he adds.

Interestingly this is when Kyocera adopted an Enterprise Content Management (ECM) system internally. Not by meeting a customer need, but rather one of its own. That issue centred around invoicing, and more specifically the costs associated with having to send out physical invoices to its clients.

A challenge that needed solving

It’s an issue that lingered with Kyocera up until 2014, when roughly 3 500 invoices needed to be sent out routinely, incurring significant costs over time.

Aside from the cost and tedium of this process, the company was concerned that the manual distribution of documents would be in contravention of impending privacy requirements set out by regulatory bodies such as ISO27001, SARS, Protection of Personal Information Act (PoPI) and the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR).

Add to this a reliance on the South African Postal Service to deliver invoices in a timely manner, which unfortunately was not always the case, resulting in time-consuming delays.

These considerations, in addition to the fact that Kyocera prides itself on being ahead of the curve in terms of innovation and reduced of environmental impact, spearheaded the company’s decision to adopt the technology and processes to achieve digital transformation.

After a thorough investigation and cost assessment, it was decided that the solution lay in implementing an ECM system, which mapped out and digitised the invoicing process.

Several benefits to the business

Identifying the problem and having developed a digital solution to tackle proved a masterstroke by Kyocera, as the new ECM resulted in benefits that the business began to experience with immediate effect.

The implementation of the ECM system reduced the cost per invoice from R12.04 to less than R0.88 per invoice, representing a reduction of 93 percent. This change also meant the staff member who previously handled the manual preparation of the monthly invoices, could be moved to a more meaningful position in the business as a debtors’ clerk. It resulted in an overall productivity increase across the finance department too.

Other hidden costs such as the paper printing were drastically reduced as well because of the switch to digital. Not to mention the invoices now residing in a central repository, allowing for easy access and retrieval, effectively reducing the margin for error and documents no longer go missing.

Added to this, and tackling the aforementioned regulatory concerns, the ECM required very little customisation and addressed more than 90 percent of the regulatory requirements.

This invoicing process automation enabled the ability to extract metadata from an otherwise basic PDF document. Having this data available meant that further process automation is made possible, such as automatic folder creation, dynamic routing based on invoice value and certain item code detection for additional processing.

The implementation of this one process successfully achieved ROI and paid for itself relatively quickly, Kyocera found.

Right for your business?

The successful implementation of the ECM system spearheaded a desire for Business Process Optimisation and Automation across Kyocera Document Solutions South Africa. Employees in all departments began asking – What can we do to improve our processes?

The ECM also allowed approvals via mobile, which increased overall productivity and began to foster a more mobile workforce, the executives at Kyocrea found.

“By creating a culture of process improvement over an extended period within our business, we have saved time and reduced costs. For me, digital transformation succeeds best via incremental small changes and constant improvements to processes within the business,” says Ian Dury, business support manager at Kyocera Document Solutions South Africa.

“The ECM system also assists us and our customers by ticking the security box, as most organisations struggle with how to control unstructured data across their business,” he concludes.

To find out how Kyocera Document Solutions South Africa’s ECM solution can help your business, head here.

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