KANSAS CITY, Kan. -- Associated Wholesale Grocers here is considering expanding the use of a document-management system that has already provided a significant savings in labor and storage in the retailer's accounts-payable area.
"We've been using the system in our accounts-payable areas since October 1998, and we expect a 13-month return on our investment," said David Sanchez, director of operational accounting for AWG. "We see a tremendous amount of opportunity to use this technology to streamline document processing."
The wholesaler has been able to achieve a 40% staff reduction, eliminating 11 positions through attrition or reassignment. In addition, AWG eliminated about $3,000 per month in records-storage costs. "These are all significant savings, and we feel we can take it further by expanding it to other areas," Sanchez noted. While plans have yet to be determined, Sanchez said he hopes to expand the system to include other departments by the end of the year.
One application for the document-management system under consideration is to electronically store information about promotional deals AWG has with vendors. The document-management system would take these documents and scan them to create an electronic image of the document. This document-management system allows more than one person to view a document simultaneously.
"We file those promotional commitments to audit after the fact to see that the deals we have with our suppliers are being carried out. We could file these commitments in electronic folders, which are easier to manage and can be viewed as needed. The review process is very similar to the processing involved in accounts payable, " he said.
AWG is also looking to use the document-management system in the legal and human-resources departments, based on the success of the system in the accounts-payable area.
"The system could be used to store and retain contracts and other legal documents as well as human-resources forms and other documents associated with hiring and benefits," he said.