REVIEWER: David Byng, chief information officer for Western Forest Products.

BACKGROUND: Western Forest Products is an integrated Canadian forest products company and the largest coastal British Columbia woodland operator and lumber producer. WFP sells products in more than 30 countries worldwide. The company's main activities include timber harvesting, reforestation, sawmilling logs into lumber and wood chips, and remanufacturing. WFP has an annual available harvest of approximately 7.4 million cubic meters of timber.

PLATFORM: We are currently using Xerox DocuShare CPX, an enterprise content and process manager, with AP-FLO, an accounts payable workflow solution from integrator CDIT, Inc. The solution automates manual tasks inherent in the traditional paper-based accounts payable process, such as matching invoices with the general ledger, invoice review and approval and payment processing.

PROBLEM SOLVED: Invoice processing is a significant overhead cost for our business, and the accounts payable department is inundated with approximately 500 to 700 invoices each day coming in from more than 50 different locations across the coast of British Columbia. The highly manual process was extremely ineffective and time-consuming. For example, we had a high number of late payments, and our managers were spending almost 10 percent of their time dealing with the administration associated with incoming invoices. Prior to the implementation of DocuShare and AP-FLO, invoices were processed through each location in hard copy and then mailed to a central office where the accounts payable team would manually code the invoice into a system and cut the check, which could take up to a week to be sent out. And because our payments are timely, we're now able to take advantage of 95 percent of early payment discounts and other benefits.

PRODUCT FUNCTIONALITY: The solution has completely automated our accounts payable process. Now our remote offices and more than 2,500 suppliers are able to email, scan or fax invoices directly into the accounts payable office. The invoices will appear in the system and be ready for payment within an hour. Many of our vendors are commenting on how quickly they are being paid, which now can happen within 24 hours. In addition, we have much more control of the process and are able to set up rules as part of the application, so an invoice is automatically sent to the correct folder in the system. Because we were able to streamline and automate the processing and approval methods, we reduced our accounts payable staff from five to one person and have also improved the accuracy of our invoices, because paper-based processes can be very error prone.

STRENGTHS: Using the AP-FLO system built on DocuShare's technology, we have seen a huge boost in the department's productivity, and we were able to eliminate the majority of late payments all together. Now that everything is digital, our process is very transparent, which has eliminated errors. We have reduced invoice processing time dramatically, and can now find previous invoices in minutes, where it would have taken us hours to find hard copies in folders or cabinets. We've saved about $20,000 per month in hard costs and are on track to recoup our investment cost in 15 months, much more quickly than we expected.

WEAKNESSES: While we are ecstatic with the performance of our new solution, there are a few things we'd like to see in the future. One is to have unlimited seats available. Our current licensing agreement allows us seats for initial primary users of the system, but we'd like to make it available to everyone. Also, as our organization begins to use DocuShare CPX in other departments, we hope that Xerox can be very involved in fostering the use of the software and help us to better use all functionality so we can make the most of our investment.

SELECTION CRITERIA: We evaluated a number of different options and chose DocuShare and AP-FLO because of its proven track record. Many other vendors offered a solution that was too customized; we did not want to be a guinea pig for the development of a solution.

DELIVERABLES: The AP-FLO solution provides us with a workflow that suits our digital accounts payable processes.

VENDOR SUPPORT: CDIT, a leading ECM solution provider in Canada, was the main vendor involved in the rollout of the solution and provided spot-on project management throughout the planning and implementation process. The right questions were being asked; the right tasks were being done. Xerox has been excellent in terms of providing financing for the project. They were more than willing to work with use on lease arrangements, which were much appreciated given the current state of the economy.

DOCUMENTATION: As part of the selection process, we received a detailed proposal from CDIT and Xerox that spelled out our problem, how the solution would rectify it, the process for implementation and the components that would be needed. We knew from this proposal that Xerox and CDIT truly understood our information overload problem. What we have received specific to DocuShare CPX explained exactly what we were getting in terms of a product and features, workflows and what infrastructure we would need to implement the software.

DocuShare CPX

Xerox Corporation

45 Glover Avenue

P.O. 4505

Norwalk, CT 06856


CDIT, Inc.

144 Front Street West

Suite 785

Toronto, Ontario M5J 2L7

(416) 640-0706

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