Customer Success Story:
Top 5 Reasons for Going Paperless
Western AgCredit is part of the nationwide Farm Credit System, providing financing to farmers and ranchers in Utah and the surrounding area. The Farm Credit System will celebrate its 100th birthday in 2016. Western AgCredit is a borrower-owned cooperative with a well-established history of providing credit to the agricultural community. Their mission is “to provide the most dependable source of credit and related services to agriculture and the rural community.” Many of their employees have a background in production agriculture, and they find great satisfaction in serving this segment of the market. Western AgCredit has consistently grown for the past 20+ years, and is the largest agriculture based lending institution in the State of Utah.
With eight branches spread over two states (7 branches in Utah, 1 branch in Wyoming), going paperless became a top priority for Western AgCredit. David Brown, COO, has helped lead the company’s paperless initiative. “We had already made the decision to go paperless when we were introduced to eFileCabinet,” he says. “We knew that was the strategic direction we wanted to go, we just needed the right paperless solution to facilitate the process. eFileCabinet has provided that solution. It provides some real benefits that we need in our business.”
The company had a list of reasons for transitioning to an electronic document management system. Here’s what Brown has to say about Western AgCredit’s top 5 reasons for going paperless.
“I think that the banking industry in general could really benefit from this type of product. All lending institutions store information, and they need to be able tostore it securely, efficiently, and consistently.”
David Brown | COO Western AgCredit
“We’re very concerned about the security of customer information. By having our information stored in electronic format in a secure manner and location, we can avoid having paper files out where information could be compromised.
I think the banking industry in general could really benefit from this type of product. All lending institutions store information, and they need to be able to store it securely, efficiently, and consistently—so that people can use that information.
We like role-based permissions, which allows us to manage who is able to access certain types of information and what they are able to do with it.”
“One thing that we have struggled with in the past was making sure that all the branches filed things in a consistent manner, and that all the files were of similar structure. To some degree, having eight different branch offices, there was a tendency to have eight different ways of doing things. This has been one of our challenges, and we needed to develop some consistency in our filing system.
With eFileCabinet, we love the ability to have pre-defined document names and an established file structure. We have created a master template with folders and sub-folders, and pre-defined document names for each document we will be storing. Each document now has a name and a home. As a result, regardless of which branch location you’re in, the file structure will be the same and the documents will be consistently named, because everything is pre-established. This is one of the biggest benefits that we have realized so far.”
3. Efficiency without geographic restrictions
“eFileCabinet has helped us become more efficient because we can spread the workload more evenly, regardless of the physical location of an employee. We don’t need to have the paper file in our hands anymore to get work done. If we are busier in one area of the state than another, others can assist by getting on eFileCabinet to access information needed to move work forward. Dealing with paper, we didn’t have that option as readily available.
In the future, when we’re entirely paperless, we plan to look at employee roles. We’ll be able to say, where can this person provide the most benefit to the organization? We won’t be as restricted by geography as we are today. We can change job descriptions and play to peoples’ strengths. It won’t matter where someone is located—if they’re really good at something, they can utilize that strength through electronic means. This has the potential to change your workforce.”
“We have no reservation about our transition to paperless. We are very pleased with the results so far, and in the end will probably wish we had done it sooner.”
4. New ways to deliver credit to customers
“One of the main reasons for going paperless is to increase the number of options available for credit delivery. Many of our customers live in outlying, rural areas, far from one of our branch locations. eFileCabinet facilitates being able to deliver credit through electronic means as easily as we can deliver credit to people who live close to our office.
Another reason that we chose eFileCabinet is that the program is very intuitive and user-friendly. We also like how it integrates with SecureDrawer and RightSignature. SecureDrawer gives us a secure way to transmit documents to outside parties. We use it to send documents to customers, title companies, or other outside parties where confidentiality and security of information is a concern.
We have already realized some cost savings by not having to physically move paper files between locations. We are also saving money by transmitting documents electronically to title companies and other agents, rather than shipping paper packages.”
5. Reduced Storage Space and Other Savings
“In our industry, by regulation, most information has to be retained for a period of time. Instead of storing that information in locked-down filing cabinets, we’re able to store it electronically. This reduces the amount of space we need in our buildings for storage.
Because paper has a tendency to pile up, the retention feature looks to provide a big benefit to us. The ability to set retention on documents should allow for cleaner files and a simpler process to delete information when it is no longer needed. We look forward to transitioning from paper shredding to deleting information from the system electronically.
As we construct and design new branch offices, we are able to greatly reduce the amount of storage space needed. That space can be more effectively used for other purposes. And, last but not least, we are pleased to be able to conserve resources—less paper, ink, shipping, storage, etc. We’re happy about that.”
Western AgCredit has implemented eFileCabinet branch by branch, converting hundreds of paper files to paperless. In the process, they have been cleaning up files as they go, which Brown notes has been an additional benefit. Here’s his advice for a successful paperless transition:
“The key component that has led to our success has been planning. We carefully developed a comprehensive implementation plan that has proven to be very effective. That plan consisted of processes, timelines, documentation and instructions. We have also developed a team of paperless specialists within the company that have been very effective at leading the implementation and providing support at the ground level. Our entire approach was very systematic, which has led to a very successful adoption of the program.
Looking back, we have no reservation about our transition to paperless. We are very pleased with the results so far, and in the end will probably wish that we had done it sooner.”
“eFileCabinet has helped us become more efficient because we can spread the workload more evenly, regardless of the physical location of an employee. Dealing with paper, we didn’t have that option.”
Learn the Best Practices of Document Management Software
eFileCabinet is a leading provider of electronic document management software for small to mid-sized businesses. With electronic sharing capabilities and paperless filing, you can cut out pounds of paper and save your business time and money. With features like eSignatures, optical character recognition, instant electronic sharing, and cloud-based file storage, eFileCabinet can bring your office into the paperless era.
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