Company experiences zero lapse of work during pandemic as employees seamlessly shift to working remotely
Company experiences zero lapse of work during pandemic as employees seamlessly shift to working remotely
invoices processed annually by 1.5 full-time employees
reduction of time processing expense reimbursements
months to ROI through AP automation alone
Damuth Trane depended on paper documents in every department – from invoices, POs, expense reports and credit card reconciliations in accounting, to resumes and employee files in HR and orders and receipts in three locations.
The Accounting team was feeling the pain, processing approximately 25,000 invoices per year. The company relied on physical spaces for storing files. Processing invoices, from receipt through approval and payment, was done manually. Too often invoices never made it to AP, sitting in mailboxes unopened, or misplaced on approvers’ desks, slowing the process significantly. AP also fielded calls from vendors asking for payment updates which required them to physically track down invoices or request copies.
AR also had difficulty managing their incoming payments. PO processing from vendors and technicians as well as managing the flow of service documents through invoicing was time-consuming and cumbersome.
HR was bogged down by paper as well. Paper resumes would be received and either sit in HR’s mailbox or on reviewers’ desks, and the company potentially lost top candidates because of these inefficient processes. Additionally, significant time was spent manually providing documents to employees and responding to employee inquiries by phone or email.
Furthermore, the business unit that services commercial HVAC equipment had difficulty manually managing the paper related to their service agreements. Bill Mitchell, CFO for Damuth Trane states, “Every aspect of our business was laborious. Our teams were spending too much time on every task. Accessibility and visibility were difficult for everyone, resulting in significant operational inefficiencies across the board. We knew we needed a solution to help us better manage our documents and processes, and were introduced to DocLink at a Key2Act Synergy conference. DocLink’s automation capabilities really excited us and after a complete evaluation we were sold.”
In accounting, DocLink has enabled them to go paperless and automate many of their processes. Document file rooms have been turned into conference rooms, and invoices are no longer lost in mailboxes or on approvers’ desks. While some invoices are now received by email for processing, the remaining invoices are received via mail. These are funneled directly to the receptionist who scans them in and drops them into DocLink’s workflow. In both instances, if the invoice has a PO number on it, but there is no received transaction in their ERP system, the invoice automatically goes back to the internal buyer to receive the PO. If a PO exists, it is received, and if the amounts match, the invoice is sent to AP for processing. Invoices that do not need a PO are routed directly to AP for processing.
Mitchell comments, “DocLink has really helped us condense the time it takes to enter the invoices into the system for processing. Plus knowing where they are at all times has been incredible. In addition to streamlining invoicing, DocLink also helped us shave a lot of time from our month-end analysis since the documents we needed were at our fingertips. Now instead of days to find what we need in the file room, I can access the documents online and drill down to find what I need instantaneously.”
DocLink also simplified the task of coding the company’s credit card statement that used to be done manually. Over 40 management and sales personnel hold company credit cards for out-of-pocket expenses, and DocLink has digitized this process completely. The monthly statement is uploaded into Doclink and sent through an electronic workflow to each individual to code their items and add receipts (which they can take a copy of using Doclink’s mobile app.) Once completed, it’s routed via workflow to their supervisor’s workflow for approval. This short electronic approval process enables the accounting team to pay the statement well ahead of its due date.
The company’s accounts receivable team has also benefitted from DocLink. For example, AR has simplified customer refunds through their three parts sales centers with the use of a Check Request Smart Form. Since the centers do not keep large amounts of money in-store, the return automatically triggers the check request form be sent to AR for refund.
Additionally, DocLink’s Output Manager enables the AR department to send invoices from the parts centers, job cost and equipment divisions out to the customers via email at day’s end. With the capability to automatically email them, Damuth Trane has been able to collect payments in a significantly shorter timeframe.
“In our parts division alone, we typically have two thousand invoices per month. Thank goodness about 65% of our customers choose this electronic option, so now, at the end of the day we don’t have to stuff all those documents into envelopes and snail mail them. DocLink has saved us significant time and cost of mailing,” says Mitchell.
On the HR side, they’ve successfully used DocLink to store and access all their personnel documents and to streamline important processes such as recruitment. As soon as resumes are received, HR logs them, prints them to DocLink and they are immediately dropped into the appropriate workflow. DocLink has enabled HR to speed up the review and turnaround time which has shortened the recruiting process, helping to ensure the best talent available is hired quickly.
Mitchell says, “From an HR perspective, DocLink has definitely made a huge impact. It’s challenging to find talent, and we notoriously have a long hiring process. We could lose a candidate because we were so slow to respond. That no longer happens because now we know what day, time, minute and second a resume goes into somebody’s workflow, and we have reminders set up if they don’t review the resume quickly. We receive hundreds of resumes a month and this has allowed us to be much more efficient and effective in this process.”
In their services division, DocLink’s integration with the MobileTec app used by their field technicians has been instrumental in eliminating many time-consuming tasks. For instance, when technicians submit their timesheet and expenses, their coordinator scans the timesheet along with the copy of the receipts and DocLink’s barcode reader uses the barcode to automatically send the timesheet to the proper workflow with the proper vendor ID for processing. Technicians would have to physically come into the office to turn in and get approval of their expense reports and receipts.
“Previously we completed expense reports in Excel – all employees other than technicians would have to physically come into the office to turn in and get approval of their expense reports and receipts. AP would have to scan the expense reports in to Doclink in order to process them. Now we’ve streamlined the process by using an Expense Report Smart Form. Now everything can be done out in the field on their phones. They simply take pictures of their receipts and attach them to their expense reports which, when submitted, go to their supervisor’s approval workflow and then on to AP for payment. And everything is stored and accessible in DocLink. With the technicians using their timesheets to turn in expenses and the Expense Report Smart Form for all other employees – it has sped up the process of getting our people reimbursed and our techs can stay in the field and be far more productive,” comments Mitchell.
Damuth Trane has also seen benefits by using DocLink in the area of job costing because they can now see everything related to individual jobs and provide quick access to job documentation.
Mitchell says, “Now when we perform a job for a client, everything job-specific financially related – the contract, AP invoices, purchase orders, estimates, billings, customer payments – are together in DocLink. We now have immense visibility in every department which makes everyone’s job so much easier.”
One unique use of DocLink has been the company’s creation of a subcontractor checklist. “DocLink provided us with a framework for creating and sharing the checklist, which gives our team access to a list of subcontractors that are approved to do business with us and what type of work they do (plumber, etc.). We can review past documents and see EMR or safety manuals which is very important as well. Now our team can call subs onto a worksite that have already been approved, saving us countless hours of researching and re-qualifying these partners,” adds Mitchell.
DocLink continued to play a crucial role for Damuth Trane during the pandemic when work-from-home orders were given. Invoice processing, workflows, job approvals and more were able to continue seamlessly with almost all of their 110 office employees working from home.
Mitchell states, “It’s been pretty amazing, we haven’t had any bumps in the road, and haven’t missed a beat due to COVID. Everyone has a laptop, and with our VPN and multi-factor authentication in place, combined with DocLink and MobileTec, many employees have worked remotely for some time so it’s really no different from a functionality standpoint with everyone working at home. Everyone’s completing their workflows and expense reports are done as normal. There was really no difference for us. We’re just as efficient as ever.”
The biggest benefit Damuth Trane has experienced across the board has been the visibility they now have to all their processes. DocLink provides them with a much higher level of accountability in every department. “Visibility is a big deal and the accountability we now have with DocLink is huge. Simply knowing where things are at all times and how long they’ve been there, raises the bar for everyone. It forces responsive behavior. Even for me – every day at 4pm I receive emails about what documents are awaiting my review. Everyone’s much more efficient because DocLink has made it easier for people to follow up and complete tasks more quickly,” says Mitchell.
By going paperless and automating processes in accounting, the team was able to:
Auditing has also been tremendously simplified and the team reduced audit times by over 75%. Prepping for an audit used to take three weeks to pull together multiple banker’s boxes of files, one week for the audit team to complete the audit in-house and then another week to re-file and clean up. Now there is minimal time pulling together hard copies of files & the on-site audit takes 4 days at most, and instead of tons of files, the audit team is simply given access to DocLink and a thumb drive with everything they need.
Mitchell comments, “We have redistributed work and created efficiencies by using DocLink. It’s helped us to grow substantially and automate, not populate, which has contributed to the company’s bottom line. We did a ROI calculation, and just in the AP area alone we had a very quick payback for implementing DocLink, achieving ROI in about 3.5 months.”
He continues, “And I can’t say enough about the Altec team, their customer service is exceptional. We’ve been a DocLink upgrade beta site in the past and the team really listens to what our pain points are and either educates us about how we can change our processes or, in an instance or two they’ve incorporated some of our wish list items into a new release. That’s just one example about how well they listen and value their clients. I honestly can’t imagine not having DocLink. It’s created so much efficiency, accountability, and visibility for us. To me it’s taken our company to a different level.”