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Scanning the Globe

This article appears in the issue Nov/Dec 2001 [Volume 10, Issue 10]


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User stories from the knowledge front

A company like Fedex is always trying to redefine the term speedy. Fast is good but quicker is better.

Recently the company installed a massive worldwide distributed scanning application that it believes will speed airbill processing and customs clearance by enhancing the capture and reporting of real-time information to customers and improve operational planning at FedEx and customer sites.

The solution couples Virtual ReScan software and Adrenaline boards from Kofax with Bell & Howell scanners. The technology provides image-enabled Web access to documentation on all international shipments, to reduce delays associated with customs clearance paperwork and eliminate the need for country-required physical documentation .

“The new FedEx imaging system pushes document scanning technology beyond today’s limits and represents the first worldwide network of document imaging-based capture systems,” says Todd Hollenbeck, managing director of shipment data capture for FedEx. “Business functions that can be enhanced through a paperless process will allow us to provide more information to our customers in the shortest amount of time.”

FedEx says it processes about 1.5 million airbills in a typical eight-hour period, and pre-clears 90% of U.S. inbound international shipments. The new system will link U.S. and international clearance, billing and invoicing operations, and eliminate the need to transfer paper-based documents through the FedEx system or between countries via fax.

Information gathered through the technology is accessible through FedEx InSight, the company’s Web-based application that provides real-time status information on inbound, outbound and third-party shipments.

Increased electronic availability of critical paper-based information, will improve resource planning at FedEx and at customer sites, according to a recent press release from Bell & Howell. For example, real-time information will help station managers plan staffing and routing before packages arrive each morning, making it easier to adjust for volume fluctuations.

FedEx has installed 500 imaging systems and plans to have another 200 in production this fall—in time for the peak shipping season. The company also plans to have nearly 900 high-volume production scanners in service by April


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