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ABI PRODUCT is one of the leading meat processing companies in Russia, with three plants and 150 different products in the product line. The distributor network includes 48 regions of Russia. Elena Krasavina, the document management officer, talks about the role of document management in business development and describes how implementing ELMA has helped improve and adjust the existing internal processes of the company.
ABI PRODUCT
(Meat Processing)
20 years in business
1500 users
55 business processes
125 748 transactions
Have been using ELMA since 2014
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– What role does document management play in the development of your company?
– The internal and external document workflows provide informational support for the management activity. The speed and transparency of document workflow allow for dynamic decision making for both development and performance of obligations.

– How did you come to the idea of process management?
– At first, we felt the need to optimize and accelerate the contract management process and make it transparent for better control and manageability. Using paper contracts and moving them from city to city for approval was very tedious and risky, let alone inconsistent with the twenty first century technologies. Then, we needed to make it possible to integrate all our corporate information resources in one platform.

There are two things most important to the users: intuitive interface and quick response.

– What were your criteria for choosing the system?
– There are two things most important to the users: intuitive interface and quick response. We needed a system with features for document routing that would work for offices with a complex organizational structure, located in different cities. In addition, we wanted the system to comply with security requirements and to allow using the existing access mechanisms. Moreover, it was important for us that the system supported data search, had different administration settings and could store large amounts of information.
We had a scoring system to evaluate the vendor’s experience, the price, the implementation period, and see how the software complied with our requirements.

– What objectives did you set for ELMA?
– We wanted to make our document routing processes transparent, and the document history visible; to decrease the non-productive working time of our employees, accelerate and put under control the decisions related to document routing, and to control the execution of document-based tasks. Basically, we wanted to get rid of all the paper.

– Which processes did you automate first and why??
– We started with the contracting processes, from the moment the contractor is verified until the moment the contract is sent to the archive. The old way simply didn’t work for us anymore, because we kept losing contracts, sometimes contract approvals were influenced by personal relationships, so the working process mostly came down to a lot of unnecessary actions and wondering “where is my contract at the moment?”.
It took us six months to automate the processes, from making terms of reference to putting the system in operation.
We implemented electronic contract approval, automated the routing processes for administrative documents, internal instructions, incoming and outgoing documents. Also, we completely automated assignment and execution of document-based and regular tasks.

– How did ELMA incorporate in the IT landscape of your company?
– ELMA is integrated with the corporate directory that stores the company hierarchy, contractor database, and catalogs of document attributes. We have also configured integration with 1С and Axapta.

What effect did the implementation of ELMA have on the company?
– We came across a very conservative behavior of our personnel and their lack of desire to change things. They were afraid of transparency because that meant losing the power that they had before. You see, when document management did not depend on a business process, but on a certain employee, this employee was the one to decide how exactly the document was to be approved and when. This approach left a lot of room for manipulative behavior and created difficulties.
Therefore, the biggest effect was that this project changed the way that people think when dealing with documents. ELMA allowed our employees to see that documents are an integral part of a business process, and showed the role of each employee in this process.
Implementation of ELMA revealed the bottlenecks in the existing processes of the company and helped us adjust and improve them. Centralized document management guarantees transparency and competence when it comes to document management. We got the opportunity to distribute our resources, evaluate the efficiency of each employee and control their performance

We got the opportunity to distribute well our resources, evaluate the efficiency of each employee.

– How do you develop the system within the company?
– User-friendliness is one of the main priorities for us. During the implementation project, we collected feedback from our personnel and improved the processes and the system. Now that everyone has got used to working in ELMA, we want to focus on process automation. We have already planned to automate order processing and business trip administration.

– What advice can you give to those who are considering business process automation?
– I would advise the company´s management team to thoroughly describe the processes prior to automation, and decide what profit is expected from the project. There are other important things to consider: the roles of a certain document routing process, levels of access, activities in the system, history of actions, visual representation of pages and attributes, administration of the system after implementation, and others.
I would advise making it clear to your software provider that you need a flexible approach to implementation. Also, choose the system that does not require tons of user manuals and long-term training during implementation, but is still convenient and understandable to the users.

I would advise the company´s management team to thoroughly describe the processes prior to automation, and decide what profit is expected from the project.