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As the operator of a chain of membership warehouses, Costco Wholesale likes to offer customers a good deal. Perhaps that’s because it likes to save money itself. And apparently a new document capture system has Costco on the receiving end of a bargain.

According to a recent news release, the company is saving both time and money with the system, which has increased the number of documents processed each day while reducing the labor costs associated with the old system.

“We have already seen a return on investment because of reduced support and labor costs,” says Rob Berg, manager of imaging at Costco.

Through its international chain of 334 warehouses, Costco advertises that it sells quality, brand name merchandise at substantially lower prices than are typically found at other wholesale or retail sources. The company has 72,000 employees, more than 13 million members and fiscal revenues for 2000 of $31.6 billion.

The old capture system couldn’t handle the increasing volume of documents that needed to be processed each day, so higher labor costs loomed. Costco wanted to avoid that by automating the data entry process and integrating new software with its existing AS/400 system. One of the biggest problems with the old system was downloading information from the AS/400 to a database, which employees used for verification purposes.

To help solve its dilemma, Costco turned to F.Y.I. Image, a systems reseller and integrator, which, in turn, recommended eCapture 4 software from Captovation. A component of the software processes barcodes and automatically updates Costco’s AS/400 system to prevent redundant document images from being entered. The software eliminates almost all manual data entry, allowing Costco to grow in volumes without growing in labor costs, according to the news release from Captovation. The software could also be integrated into Costco current Optika FilePower system and will be compatible when Costco upgrades to Optika’s new Acorde family of imaging and workflow solutions.

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