The end of paper as we know it
A Customer Success Story
North Carolina Mutual Wholesale Drug Company is a full-line wholesale distributor for independent pharmacies located in the Raleigh / Durham area. Their mission is to support independent, entrepreneurial pharmacists so they are able to compete with large chains in today’s environment. They carry approximately 23,000 products, work with 1,000 vendors, and service over 600 pharmacies. In business since 1952, they have 160 employees, many of whom have worked there over 30 years.
The company ships out $5.2 million in product each night, which equals revenues of about $1.3 billion per year. This translates into lots (and lots!) of invoices. In Accounts Payable alone, they were maintaining 25 5-drawer file cabinets for just one year of invoices. Clint Syvinski, Corporate Controller at NC Mutual, explains, “As a company, we generate a lot of paper. When you have that much data, trying to find a specific invoice gets pretty difficult.”
“As a company, we generate a lot of paper. When you have that much data, trying to find a specific invoice gets pretty difficult.”
Seven Years’ Worth of Paper
It gets even more complicated because of record retention. By law, they are required to retain all A/P invoices for seven years, which meant a warehouse with several pallets for each year of invoices. “If we didn’t have room in our current building we probably would have had to rent additional space just to store files,” Syvinski says.
Mike Broome, CFO, agrees. “It was very labor intense in filing and processing those invoices daily. It was also very labor intense to archive those invoices at year-end. And just the retrieval of information—if we had a vendor or supplier call with a question, it was not easy to retrieve the required documents.”
With all these paper pain points, it made sense to look into going paperless. They compared several paperless companies and chose eFileCabinet. “We liked the ease of the workflow of it,” says Kathryn Zechman, Tax and Compliance Manager. “And we liked all of the individual support that was available.” NC Mutual worked closely with the Implementation Team and the transition went smoothly as they set up templates and electronic cabinets.
They started their paperless transformation in their particularly paper-heavy Accounting Department. “Our goal initially was to implement in the Accounting Department as we thought it would provide immediate payback and create success,” says Broome. “As we implement, it triggers other potential areas of opportunity—other places we can streamline operational issues.” They plan to roll it out next in Human Resources, followed by the Sales and Merchandising Teams.
“We had a very successful implementation,” says Broome. “The software is very user-friendly, and that’s facilitated an easier adoption of the application. It’s been really smooth.” The biggest hesitation was convincing employees that they really could throw away paper documents once they were scanned and entered into the system, as they were used to huge paper trails. Broome continues, “Anytime you change a process there’s some anxiety, and you wonder if people will adopt the new change. We’ve been very excited to see that because of the ease-of-use of the software, people came on board really quickly. After a couple weeks, they said they would never want to go back to having to file hard copy documents.”
“After a couple weeks, they said they would never
want to go back to having to file hard copy documents.”
Saving Pallets of Paper
Because of the sheer volume of data they handle, it was easy to misplace or misfile a document. “We spent hours looking for stuff,” Syvinski says. “It’s common to get a call from a vendor, requesting a copy of an invoice. Before, the process was go through the files, find it (if it was scanned properly), scan or copy it, and send it. Now, it’s simply one click and send. With eFileCabinet’s search function, we don’t have to spend time looking for files anymore.”
NC Mutual Drug Wholesale has discovered a host of additional benefits as well. Here are a few of Syvinski’s favorites:
Space Reduction. “Space reduction is the number one benefit. We have racks full in our warehouse of the past seven years’ of A/P data. This is our last year of paper. We can now use our warehouse to store our product instead of storing paper.”
Cost Savings. “As a company, we were going through over a pallet of paper a month. That’s going to be a big money savings. By the end of our fiscal year I think we’ll see a pretty good savings just with the paper we’re not using.
Eﬃciency. “Just from the sheer volume of files that we had, if you were looking for an invoice you could spend hours looking for it. Now it’s an easy find. It also allows other departments to view them, and eliminates the phone calls between departments. They have access at their fingertips, and can find files themselves. This is also going to help our year-end audit, and we’re looking forward to that.”
“This is our last year of paper. We can now use our warehouse
to store our product instead of storing paper.”
Other time-consuming projects that are now obsolete for NC Mutual Drug include the year-end file transition, where over 1,000 old files needed to be stored and replaced with 1,000 new files, a project that took a few weeks each year at the busiest time for their business. Also, the company’s annual “shred project” that purges a year’s worth of paper is no longer necessary, freeing up valuable employee time and resources.
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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