Taming the paper tiger with Ricoh
The Customer: Saint Ignatius' College
Saint Ignatius College is a co-educational catholic school located in the eastern suburbs of Adelaide. Established in 1951, it is part of an international network of Jesuit schools and caters for more than 1500 students from pre-school to year 12. The school offers a full curriculum and focuses on helping young people become competent, live according to their conscience, and practice compassion. Upon graduating, they are encouraged to use their skills to "Go, set the world alight".
The Challenge: Find an alternative to the school's paper-heavy work practices and to improve the efficiency of workflows to save both time and money within the college.
As the college grew and expanded its offerings for students over the years, it also managed to produce an increasing amount of paper. Everything from lesson planning and schedule creation to back-office administration involved the creation and storage of masses of paper documents. The documents were used in various workflows throughout the school and then stored in dedicated filing cabinets on campus.
Senior management realised they needed to find an alternative to the school's paper-heavy work practices. "We were quickly running out of storage space for our tens of thousands of documents," says Samantha Trenerry, Director of Finance, Saint Ignatius' College, Adelaide. "We were also keen to improve the efficiency of our workflows to save both time and money within the college.
The solution: Deployment of Ricoh's Electronic Document Management System
The college had been working with Ricoh for over 20 years around its printing and copying facilities. More than 35 Ricoh devices had been deployed across the campus, allowing teachers and support to staff to create documents in a variety of different forms.
"Ricoh was a valued technology partner for us and so we discussed with them our desire to move away from our heavy reliance on paper," says Trenerry. "They evaluated our requirements and recommended we deploy an electronic document management system."
In 2015, the decision was taken to deploy a new system based on document management technology from Ricoh. Working with the college, Ricoh fully assessed requirements and undertook the design of a repository that would become the school's central digital library.
Ricoh then undertook a roll out of the new platform, based on its EzeScan and Laserfiche solutions. Once in place, the platform provided a complete electronic archiving system across the school.
With the new Ricoh electronic archiving system up and running, the benefits of making the shift away from paper quickly became obvious.
Trenerry says the first stage involved the scanning of more than 50,000 pages of accounts payable data into the repository. Once completed, this allowed "pallets" of paper to be removed from files and destroyed.
"We could immediately see the benefits of having a digital archive," says Trenerry. "The electronic documents were readily accessible from a single, central point which removed the need to dig through cumbersome paper files in multiple locations."
"Also, staff no longer needed to request paper copies of archived documents as all are available on screen at all times."
Once the repository was operating effectively, attention shifted to the creation of electronic workflows across the school. This began with the budgeting process where electronic forms were created to replace the paper-based documents that had traditionally been used.
With the workflow now in place, each department head is able to submit their annual budget requests via a shared form stored on the school's intranet. The information is then sent electronically to the appropriate person for approval before being forwarded to the finance department for processing. Once there, data is automatically extracted and entered into Maze, the school's financial application.
"Changing workflows in this way saves us not only piles of paper but also piles of time," says Trenerry. "A budgeting process that used to take the school six weeks to complete can now be finished in less than three weeks."
The school is now working Ricoh on the next phase of the electronic documents project which involves payroll forms. Rather than needing to fill out paper-based documents, casual and temporary teaching staff will be able to log their hours online using a shared electronic form. Each form will be able to be approved electronically before being sent to finance for processing.
"Ricoh has been a trusted technology partner for us for a long time, and through this electronic document project they have added significant value to the school," says Trenerry. "I truly believe we have really only just scratched the surface of what is possible and I look forward to what else we can achieve in the future - the possibilities are endless."