Eliminating housing association paper records and improving workflow

Improving workflow at Hillcrest benefits staff, tenants, contractors and suppliers

Hillcrest Housing Association provides social housing to those in need including people with learning difficulties, drug and alcohol problems and other physical and mental difficulties. The organisation employs 600 staff and generates a great deal of paperwork at multiple sites across Scotland.

With a move scheduled to a new HQ building that would offer reduced records storage facilities, the association needed to reduce its paper records immediately.

Also, the organisation had an urgent need for a system that would improve the ability of employees to retrieve documentation held throughout its various offices. There were a volumes of paper records stored at several remote sites and it was a very time-consuming process for staff to attempt to retrieve specific documents from these locations.

Invoice processes also needed to be streamlined. With approximately 100 budget holders in various locations all over Scotland, it was inefficient sending invoices to all the relevant persons for authorisation. Typical paper invoice approvals, using the Royal Mail, took over a week.

Finally, the association had an expressed goal of achieveing more environmentally sustainable business practices including reducing its paper usage.

Choosing Document Manager for Housing Association

"We investigated six potential document management suppliers and issued a tender document. Following various demonstrations and discussions, we decided the Document Manager system best met our requirements" said Ken Birse, IT Manager.

Major factors leading the association to choosing the Document Manager EDM system were the ease with which documents could be automatically indexed using bar codes, the ease of integrating Document Manager with other business applications and also the recommendation from their Platinum Partner Konica Minolta.

"The fact that it was a UK-based organisation who were willing and able to modify the package in line with our requests, the friendliness and professionalism of the Document Manager staff, and the fact that the solution was based on MS SQL Server and offered close integration with our existing QL system from Aareon, all helped us choose Document Manager from among the competition" said Ken Birse, IT Manager.

Benefits of Document Manager for Housing Associations

  1. Reduction of paper usage and storage
  2. Instant recall of all relevant client information
  3. Accelerated invoice authorisation
  4. Improved staff efficiency
  5. Indexing of documents via barcode
  6. Admin tools allow easy set-up and deployment
  7. Simple integration with existing business systems

Document Manager in action at Hillcrest Housing

The most immediate cost savings delivered by Document Manager for Hillcrest Housing have been a dramatic reduction in document printing, copying and storage.

The time-saving benefits delivered by the electronic document management (EDM) software are largely related to acceleration of various document authorisation processes that formerly relied on external paper mail services.

Document Manager software has also enhanced staff productivity by providing instant access to relevant information on-screen, without having to retrieve the information from other premises. For example, when viewing a tenant's record on-screen it is now possible to easily call up all the correspondence from and to the tenant, including letters, tenancy agreements, original application forms, and so on.

Document Manager has enabled a more efficient process for authorisation of invoices too. All budgetholders have been trained to use the software and already, we are able to see that less paper documentation is being passed around the offices and invoices can be authorised in a much quicker time" said Ken Birse, IT Manager.

IT staff at Hillcrest have found the management and administration tools within Document Manger is extremely easy to use, allowing easy creation of users, groups, drawers and so on. The Document Manager system is currently live for Hillcrest's HR, Payroll, IT and Purchase Ledger departments. The association intends to roll Document Manager out to the other departments in time for the move to new HQ premises.

"In the setup stages, especially installing the system on our CITRIX server, there were some issues with certain features not working correctly. However, the Document Manager helpdesk quickly resolved all setup issues and the system is working very well" said Ken Birse, IT Manager.

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