Finance Express Home Loans
We have a system and partnership that, while already having delivered on our immediate needs, have the flexibility to go well beyond.
Located near the border of Victoria and New South Wales, Albury-based Finance Express Home Loans is a locally owned business that has gained a strong reputation for high levels of client service in a competitive market. The company, which is owned and operated by two well-established brokers, is renowned throughout the region as being responsive and, above all, professional and reputable.
In early 2010, that professionalism and responsiveness was given a boost with the introduction of a Ricoh-based document management solution that delivered time savings, streamlined document management workflows, security and cost reductions.
Challenge: A paperwork nightmare
The world of finance is, by its very nature, one of a seemingly endless stream of paper. Contracts, building permits, plans, general correspondence – they’re just a handful of the myriad of documents that are accumulated daily by Finance Express.
For Marg Bevis, the company’s administration manager, maintaining a paper-based file system had reached almost nightmare proportions. “We had filing cabinets all throughout the offices and even more in a nearby storage facility,” she says.
“And even though I’d tried to keep them organised, it wasn’t unusual for it take up to half an hour to locate a client’s file.”
Time spent locating a file, though, was only part of the time equation. Add to that the time required for properly collating incoming documents then inserting them into the correct file, distributing them to brokers then refiling, and it was easily becoming the most labour intensive administration task within Finance Express.
Solution: A Ricoh Laserfiche solution
It was a visit to the Finance Express offices by a representative from a Ricoh Business Partner, that marked the opportunity to end the nightmare.
“Our Ricoh Business Partner had already had discussions with one of the owners about our document management problems,” Marg says, “and when he came in and talked to me about what could be done with a Ricoh MFD [multifunction device] and Laserfiche solution, the benefits were immediately obvious.”
A solution for the past
Most importantly, we’re providing a more secure and accessible solution to deal with the thousands of active and archived files.
Where Finance Express offices and off-site storage were previously almost overflowing with filing cabinets and archive boxes, the Ricoh MFD and Laserfiche solution is the means by which the tide is being stemmed and pushed back. Archived files, which can easily have anything up to 300 pages, are now being scanned on the Ricoh MFD and stored in Laserfiche within a matter of minutes; and according to Marg, that’s just about the worst case scenario.
“By the time I’ve stacked a file’s documents in the Ricoh MFD’s feeder, pressed the ‘scan to folder’ button then returned to my desk, every page has been scanned, processed and ready for a simple drag-and- drop into a new Laserfiche folder,” Marg explains.
Even with thousands of files in archives, representing hundreds of thousands of individual documents, it is expected that six years of archived files will be transferred to the new solution within a matter of months. “And that,” Marg says, “is without having to bring in additional people to help deal with the backlog.
“Whenever I get a few minutes, I simply grab more files and run them through the system. It’s no disruption to my workday, and in fact, as I add more files to Laserfiche I’m actually saving more time every day by cutting back on the time previously spent locating and retrieving files. Most importantly, we’re providing a more secure and accessible solution to deal with the thousands of active and archived files.”
A solution for the present
While there are any number of large business and enterprise Ricoh MFD and Laserfiche solution successes, the single seat licence model at Finance Express is a clear demonstration of how well the Ricoh solution works across organisations of any size. After all, more efficient document management and distribution are imperatives within any company serious about streamlining business operations.
In citing an example of how the Ricoh solution helps streamline the Finance Express business, Marg says: “It’s quite common for a client to visit our offices unannounced and request a meeting with one of the partners.
Accessing the client file in Laserfiche and sending it through to the partner via email takes seconds; and it really is quite impressive. Almost as soon as the partner has greeted our client and they’re sitting in an office, the entire file has been delivered in an email and is only a single click away.
With the Ricoh solution resulting in much improved speed of file location, distribution and access, Finance Express is gaining more of one of business’s most critical commodities – time. Where it may have taken anything up to half-an-hour to locate a client file stored off-site and have it delivered to the partner, it’s now close enough to being considered immediate.
Clients aren’t kept waiting. Partners aren’t kept waiting. And an office managed and administered by a single staff member is now more time-efficient than all too many large organisations.
Contributing further to the time efficiency of Finance Express is the Ricoh solution’s fax management model. When it comes to outgoing faxes, a document required by a bank, for example, can now be faxed to the bank, emailed to one or both of the partners, and automatically stored to Laserfiche with nothing more than a few pressed buttons on the Ricoh MFD. It’s a case of a single operation invoking a sophisticated document workflow for multiple outcomes.
Then, of course, there’s the issue of reducing paper consumption in an industry that seems to have paper as its very lifeblood, as evidenced in the Finance Express offices of old. Well, that used to be the case, especially when it came to incoming faxes.
“In implementing the system, the Ricoh Business Partner configured the MFD as our central incoming and outgoing fax management platform,” Marg explains. “Now when a fax is received, instead of resulting in a stack of paper, the MFD automatically emails it to me as an attachment. From there, I’m able to forward it on to one or both of the partners, drop it into a Laserfiche folder and, if required, print out only those pages that need to be printed.
“Considering we often receive faxed contracts of up to 40 pages from financial institutions – and generally only two of those pages need to be in hard copy – the paper savings are continually increasing.”
A solution for the future
The time, paper and space savings being realised by Finance Express as a result of the Ricoh-enabled document management solution are seen as just the starting point. In partnership with the Ricoh Business Partner, the company is continually exploring new possibilities to exploit the Ricoh solution’s potential; and all those possibilities point towards even greater savings and efficiencies.
“We have a system and partnership that, while already having delivered on our immediate needs, have the flexibility to go well beyond,” Marg states. “Essentially, the Ricoh MFD and Laserfiche solution is the foundation for any number of new process improvements within the business.
“As the business grows – and this is definitely occurring – improved efficiencies are crucial; and the Ricoh solution and partnership with the Ricoh Business Partner is enabling us to capitalise on that growth without the burden of having to employ additional personnel or purchase and implement additional support systems.”