Food Distributor sees immediate benefits from Document Imaging


Rancho Foods, Inc.
Frank Celano, Jr., Operations & Human Resource Manager

Document Imaging allows a user to scan or import documents and electronically file and link them to Canopy transactions or file to a selected folder. It was designed to allow quick access to critical information and as a means of reducing paper storage costs. Frank Celano Jr., (Frankie) the Operations and Human Resources Manager of Rancho Foods, Inc., provided us with a firsthand look into the benefits his organization realized following the implementation of Canopy’s Document Imaging module.

Frankie had begun a search for an Imaging solution that would meet Rancho’s requirements. Front_View_sm.jpg He describes the state of affairs that led to this search, “We were running out of room, and the business started pushing for a decrease in paper. We had boxes stored in the building. When that filled we started storing in unused semi-trailers with flat tires. When they filled, the roof was an option. But even the boxes can be big money. For inside storage, it may be $2.00 per box. Then there are the racks required to store the boxes. But to weather the elements in trailers and outside, plastic boxes are needed, and these can be upwards of $10.00 per box. We even had an employee cut themselves on a plastic box and end up in the emergency room. That’s all overhead cost to the business”.

Recognizing the importance of finding a solution to the paper storage problem, Frankie evaluated a variety of software packages designed to electronically file documents. Frankie’s decision to go with Canopy’s enhanced Document Imaging module was based primarily on performance, price and the value of integration with Canopy. The ability to call up documents while working in Canopy and be able to email or fax them on the spot was an overwhelming advantage in Canopy’s favor. Frankie explains, “With any other solution, I would have to search a detached, third party, un-integrated system for the image I am looking for. With Canopy, I simply drill down from the place I am used to being anyway. If I am looking up invoice history on one of our customers, I can drill down into that invoice and up comes the image. If I want to see the actual Accounts Payable invoice one of our vendors sent us, I simply drill down into that history record. With every other solution, you have to go somewhere else outside of Canopy, search for the document you need, find it and retrieve it. With Canopy, it’s a right-click.”

Feedback from Aspen customers, including Rancho Foods, indicates the evidence of cost synergies from the implementation of Document Imaging that are equivalent to two to three full-time employees, and that is just taking into consideration Accounts Receivable and Accounts Payable. This is realized through labor reduction related to filing and document retrieval. Add to this the overhead savings realized through reduced copying (toner supplies) and paper cost, and it is easy to see how quickly this product provides a return on investment.

Frankie recalls, “It was very painful. The subject of retrieval was so bad we used to charge our customers a fee to retrieve a hard copy invoice. photo_sm.jpg With Aspen’s Document Imaging, I just right-click in Canopy. The image can be immediately exported via email, further expediting the process”. Frankie went on to describe the labor impact in the event of a big retrieval, for perhaps an audit or a loss-prevention or fraud investigation. In one instance, Rancho had a situation where they had to pull 200-300 invoices. The labor impact to them was approximately two and a half weeks of a person’s time, eight hours per day. He went on to estimate that if he had Canopy and Document Imaging at his disposal, that same effort to find, retrieve and re-generate actual hard copies for 200-300 invoices would have taken him approximately 15 minutes. The labor savings behind that one example of approximately 6,000 minutes versus 15 minutes is staggering.

While the labor and overhead reductions are weighty benefits, cost and risk avoidance makes Document Imaging certainly worth the investment. Document Imaging might easily pay for itself the one time you cannot locate proof-of-delivery using your manual paper retrieval system. As Frankie puts it, “For us, it would be more likely that we would lose a whole day’s worth of documents as opposed to a single invoice, since we store A/R invoices in batches by day. A whole day could easily be misfiled in a barrage of paper, and perhaps never found. This is one reason we embarked on an initial scanning project for A/R. We went back an entire year and scanned invoices, and then shredded those documents. In addition to the instantaneous retrieval benefits, the immediate amount of paper reduction was shocking.”


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Aspen Systems develops enterprise software solutions for food processors and distributors.

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