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Gardan is a Wisconsin-based mechanical assembly and packaging companythat implemented SmartSearch document management.The Challenge

Through decades of paper-based processing, filing cabinets had consumed Gardan’s storage space. Staff members, like Accounting and Human Resource Specialist Crystal Ebeltoft, struggled to consistently find documents in a timely and efficient manner. “We would physically print out every sales order so they could be acknowledged and delivered to the floor.” said Ebeltoft. “Not only was this a waste of paper, it slowed workflow and delayed the start of production.”

“Capacity was an issue for us, as was security,” Kathy Westover, Gardan’s Chief Financial Officer, explained. “With so many files and employees on site, how do we control who can see and remove what?” Executives were considering offsite storage, but knew it would not solve issues with accessibility and collaboration. Plus, with a $150/month storage charge, Gardan would be spending dollars better spent elsewhere. “As a company, part of our strategic plan was to move toward doing as many things electronically as possible,” said Westover, who quickly turned to Modern Business Machines for help.

The Solution

MBM worked closely with Gardan to identify its needs in order to improve efficiency through the appropriate customized solution. Key requirements were ease of use, speed, flexibility, security and price. Gardan also needed effective document sharing, while ensuring no files were lost or misplaced. They no longer wanted to search for who had a file last – it was time-consuming and they needed to improve productivity and service by always knowing exactly where documents are.

MBM implemented the award-winning SmartSearch document management solution into Gardan’s existing daily processes. Used nearly company-wide, Gardan has significantly reduced their physical storage by eliminating almost all existing filing cabinets. Members of the Sales team use SmartSearch to review customer purchase orders, while Accounting and Materials departments use it daily to control vendor invoices and customer orders. Human Resources also uses SmartSearch to securely store all employee records. “We also keep all of our legal documents and contracts in SmartSearch,” Westover explained. “Plus all compliance related documents, such as W9s, sales tax exemption forms and more. In terms of numbers, we currently have 9,000 POs in SmartSearch and 17,000 vendor invoices.”

By introducing Gardan to the power of document workflow, MBM was able to create a customized route for files directly related to Gardan’s invoice approval process. They can mark a document as ‘Pending-Materials’ so the Materials team can later go in and execute a search to pull up only the documents they need to address. Invoices are now secure and once an invoice has been approved and is paid, users can go into the database and view the details of all purchases. This is a feature used frequently and provides the support Gardan needs to meet ISO and other compliance requirements.

The Results

With guidance from MBM, Gardan now leverages the power of document capture and routing to easily index files within their electronic document database. “Running files through a scanner and being able to index them immediately is more effective than piling documents up and waiting for someone to file them when they have time,” Westover said. “Before SmartSearch, filing time sheets was a time consuming process, and nobody wanted to do it. But now everyday it’s like whoosh! You scan them, and without a lot of effort, HR can find what they need. SmartSearch forces a discipline to manage documents appropriately, and it works wonderfully.”

With all of Gardan’s POs and invoices saved in their database, information is right at their fingertips. Employees can use a number of different searches that have been set up to pull related records. Accessing a file is now up to five minutes faster than it used to be. The added security has been a welcome addition to Gardan as well. All of their documents are stored on their server now and are backed up with their other critical data. If a fire or other disaster were to occur, their documents are not physically on site.

Gardan uses SmartSearch document management to manage most of their paperwork now, but they are considering adding and keeping all of their equipment and user manuals in SmartSearch for easy access. This would also allow the user to highlight particular sections and email pages to co-workers or vendors that might be looking for information.

Gardan was provided with a dedicated MBM professional service technician who not only provided a personalized level of service, but also fully trained Gardan staff members and is continually available to assist as needed. “Anytime we had a question MBM was on top of it,” said Ebeltoft. Westover continued, “MBM was great from the initial install; they addressed all of our concerns and made sure the SmartSearch solution worked for us. MBM was why we chose SmartSearch document management and we trust their recommendations.”

Download Gardan Case Study (635K PDF)