The Weinig Group
The Weinig Group is a leading global manufacturer of products for the solid wood industry with a large sales and service subsidiary, WeinigUSA, located in the U.S.
The machine sales process is long and complicated involving inside sales representatives, external sales agents and WeinigUSA’s quote preparation team. Each machine is carefully configured according to customers’ unique needs, and every machine is customized to exacting specifications.
The amount of documentation produced in this business environment is substantial and most pieces of information must be retained for future service, repair, and safety compliance purposes. WeinigUSA needed an electronic document management solution that would support the uniqueness of their sales and service process while addressing the challenges of physical storage space, misplaced documents, and incorrect machine documentation which are problematic to paper-based processes.
Streamlining and Automating Business Processes Throughout The Organization
WeinigUSA first implemented SAFE to store the sales and service history of machines already sold. Data was scanned into individual folders created for over 10,000 machines.
The firm found SAFE to be a very effective electronic file repository for the sales and service history of thousands of machines already in use throughout the United States, and quickly extended the system internally throughout inside sales, service, diagnostics, parts, accounting and order processing departments. In addition, the company extended Cabinet’s electronic document management to external sales agents as well as service technicians in the field.
WeinigUSA found their initial scanning requirements – conducted on five stand-alone workstations – quickly diminished as individual electronic machine files were created, and when access to these folders was available to more than 80 users. Each user is assigned individual secure access parameters to control which documents they can view, edit, move, copy or delete.
WeinigUSA found the intuitive, user-friendly system of visually familiar file folders and cabinets was easily customized to the manufacturer’s unique sales process. For example, when the inside sales department started to directly input machine sales quotes into SAFE, these files would be electronically transferred to the next stage of the sales process. When the machine was sold, the electronic file was transferred to the order processing department, which would assign the machine a purchase order. Until the machine was delivered and installed, the file would remain in order processing, and would then be transferred to the central machine file repository.
WeinigUSA was quickly able to use the Cabinet solution to enhance its sales process in a paperless fashion. WeinigUSA works with a number of external sales agents throughout North America. With SAFE, an agent can email a worksheet outlining the details of a specific machine. A machine specific folder is automatically created in SAFE, and a quote number is assigned to this machine. Then, the inside sales people fill in the quote specification sheet and SAFE routes the folder electronically to the quote preparer. The quote is prepared and routed back to the sales person, to be approved and electronically signed.
When the machine is sold, its unique file is sent to the company’s order processing department, which orders the machine and related accessories and sends the purchase order to the manufacturing plant in Germany. All financing and collection information is also filed directly into this particular machine’s folder.
In just a few years, WeinigUSA has completely integrated their sales and service process into Cabinet to the extent that Dennis Hargan, WeinigUSA’s IT Manager, says “We are now extremely, extremely dependent on Cabinet. How did we ever get along without it?”
WeinigUSA Uses Cabinet For Paperless Future and More
In the four years since adopting SAFE, WeinigUSA has put 10,000 machine files into the system. By January of 2006, over 50 physical file cabinets had been eliminated, and WeinigUSA’s sales and service process was almost completely paperless. Most importantly, though, WeinigUSA gained an electronic document management system that enabled the manufacturer to get instant, full and accurate information – accessible by all relevant employees – that makes them more productive and responsive to customers.
Other benefits include a more streamlined and error-free service and repair process. WeinigUSA has 30 different service technicians in the field, who frequently check machines on customer premises to ensure all safety standards are met. If they are not, a letter is sent to the owner of the machine and this documentation is retained in the electronic folder, which enables WeinigUSA to meet information retention and compliance standards.
In addition, service personnel send in hundreds of service/safety reports weekly. With SAFE, all reports are sent directly to the correct folder based on machine serial number. Customers sign off on reports via a signature pad plugged into the service technician’s laptop. The service techs send in their reports via email from mobile computing devices and these messages are automatically opened up, identified and filed. The result is elimination of scanning and manual filing and reports are always retained and correctly categorized. As with all other SAFE workflow improvements at WeinigUSA, all Microsoft Office documents and emails that were once printed out and filed, are now automatically filed in the appropriate cabinets.
Within the next month, WeinigUSA plans to implement a web-based Cabinet access system that enables its 30 service technicians and numerous sales managers in the field to access the history of every machine ever sold by WeinigUSA. Personnel in the field will have access to all machine specific information stored in the SAFE central repository from any geographic location using a standard web browser.
WeinigUSA’s experience with Cabinet is a prime example of how the elimination of paper piles enables better business processes throughout the company which saves time and money. In addition to the enormous streamlining and efficiencies gained by the creation of a central electronic information repository, WeinigUSA was also able to use SAFE to enforce document retention policies and address compliance concerns.