Finch Aggregates is a family run business based in Blackburn, Lancashire, who supply large volumes of sand, aggregates and soil to the construction industry.
After trading for over forty years, they have built up an extensive customer base not only in the North West but throughout the UK. Their dedicated team focus on quality and the best customer service possible. A large part of their business comes from recommendation and word of mouth.
Their business was paper heavy with thousands of orders to process monthly. This proved to be time consuming and laborious so a better solution was needed.
Historically, orders were received via email, fax or post which were hand written onto an order pad and manually entered into their ERP system.
From there, delivery was arranged with the haulier and supplier via phone or email.
Once a paper invoice from the supplier was received, the finance team checked that it matched the information recorded in their ERP. The invoice details were keyed into their finance package and a customer invoice could then be produced and the supplier invoice passed for payment.
This process was very labour intensive and paper heavy and involved numerous steps and reference numbers. Whether it was a customer order number, ERP reference number or supplier collection number, things could go wrong, and mistakes were easily being made.
Finch Aggregates' Accounts Manager told us:
"Documents were found by searching for one reference number. If that number was wrong the document was lost and we were in for a lengthy search. When a customer or supplier called with an order, conveyance note or invoice query, there would often be a delay in getting back to them due to the sheer volume of documents to search through. We also held a large physical archive which was taking up space".
Finch Aggregates were approached by other invoice capture suppliers whose solutions were not exactly right. Eventually they were introduced to a member of the DocTech sales team.
"The sales team at DocTech are very knowledgeable and really good to deal with. It looked like their Document Management Software could provide what was needed. This turned out to be true.”
A consultation process with DocTech took place and after a detailed scoping session and production of a Statement of Works, the benefits were clear. The bespoke digital document management system was implemented in March 2022, which was also Finch Aggregates' busiest month on record!
All orders received are now stored digitally into DocuWare's central repository via a scanner or directly from an email. The order pad will soon be upgraded by DocTech into an integrated digital form.
Orders are created in the ERP system and then placed with the supplier. Once the invoice is received it's stored in DocuWare along with any other related documents, including sales orders, conveyance notes and proof of deliveries.
Finch Aggregates are in the process of replacing their transport, sales and distribution software which will then be integrated with DocuWare to provide a seamless flow of information between all systems.
Once in DocuWare, Intelligent Indexing's OCR tool automatically extracts and stores key pieces of information from documents which can subsequently be searched for and retrieved. Machine learning means that as more invoice data is captured the more accurate it becomes.
Their Managing Director told us:
“DocuWare enables our business to process more invoices in a much shorter space of time.”
After Intelligent Indexing has run, there are rarely any manual checks needed. The system accurately captures all the relevant information including supplier name, dates, reference numbers and values. Users can search for documents from their machines using any of these criteria and have the results in seconds.
A visual check is performed on screen between DocuWare and the ERP system and when they match, a digital stamp is added to the invoice in DocuWare.
Once stamped, the information is automatically exported to the Finance System which is done on a daily schedule.
Finch Aggregates decided to implement a cloud document management system to keep up with technological advancements.
Organisations that adopt DocuWare Cloud get a full suite of modules as standard and all the benefits that come with them, including accurate data capture, automated workflows, digital form creation and software integration options.
DocuWare Cloud is simple to implement and can be up and running in days. Its flexibility and scalability mean that Finch Aggregates managed their usual workload alongside the addition of new software during their busiest month, proving how seamless the solution is.
The biggest benefit to Finch Aggregates of using DocuWare is:
"The ease of storing and retrieving documents, which is now instantaneous".
After a successful few months of using the software, the company plan to digitise their sales order form and create digital storage cabinets for other areas of the business including HR and Health and Safety.
Plans for a new ticketing system will also be rolled out which will see further integration with DocuWare.
To summarise their Managing Director said:
"Not everyone likes change but we can all now see the benefits that DocuWare has given us and we would never go back to a paper-based process".
Saved 15 days of admin time per month
Relocated staff time to other tasks rather than repetitive admin
Upgraded and improved the entire accounts payable process
Saved £800 on paper costs in the first six months alone
Enhanced customer and supplier relationships
Removed physical storage folders and cabinets
Staff have embraced this far more efficient way of working
Recruitment of an additional member of staff was no longer necessary
A DocuWare implementation from DocTech has improved Finch Aggregates' finance processes by reducing risk and saving time, ensuring accuracy and consistency.
"Using a new system with our highest workload on record meant all our tasks were completed in a much shorter period of time.”
Finch Aggregates, Managing Director.
saved per month when processing invoices and orders.
stored in six months since going live with DocuWare. That's close to 7,000 documents every month!
“It saves so much time, we no longer manually file, retrieve and copy large volumes of conveyance notes. When customers are on the phone we are more professional as we can instantly provide what is needed, rather than searching through paper documents and having to call them back.”