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An enlightening process

Summit Electric Supply is said to be realizing more than $80,000 per year in ROI through a new document process automation system it implemented. The electrical distributor is using Covus from FormScape to enable early supplier payment discounts and to improve customer service by providing employees and customers with self-service access to documents.

"Many discounts are based on how quickly we pay our vendors," says Lee Lewis, IT manager for Summit. "The new system will automate our vendor invoice processing and payment approval processes to allow us to approve checks as quickly as possible so we can achieve these discounts."

Previously a large volume of payments slowed Summit's check approval process. Covus, however, allows the distributor to image vendor invoices as they are received and automatically enter data from them—such as amount, date and vendor code—into the company's financial application. Summit will also use the software to route vendor checks for approval. If a question arises about a check, approvers will have instant access to the imaged original of the vendor invoice.

The initial implementation will provide customers with Web access to their signed ship/charge tickets, which provide proof of shipping. It also will enable employees to access documents online from anywhere in the organization—rather than having to fax or overnight them. Subsequent Covus implementations will provide customers with self-service access to a wide range of documents including statements, invoices, open order reports, shipping performance reports and others.

"The self-service capabilities will help us improve customer service and reduce customer phone calls and frustration, making it easier for customers to do business with us," Lewis says. "It will also allow us to give our customers more feedback on the value we're adding to their business."

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