WH Smith swaps manual processes for digital document management

WH Smith has gone live with document management, imaging and workflow software to enable digital archiving of invoices and other documents for its its head-office accounts operations.

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WH Smith has gone live with document management, imaging and workflow software to enable digital archiving of invoices and other documents for its its head-office accounts operations.

The high-street news retailer is using Perceptive Software’s ImageNow to replace its an “unreliable” and partly manual document management set-up that was being used.

David McGrath, IT manager at WH Smith, said the previous system required staff to handle and approve documents manually, and only scan for archiving when the process was complete.

“Because we handle approximately 300,000 pages per year, this meant a lot of wasted time and paper handling,” he said.

The new system was integrated “very easily” with WH Smith’s COA Solutions financial software, McGrath added.

With the introduction of the ImageNow technology, WH Smith is now scanning documents on receipt, routing electronically using ImageNow workflow to accounts payable personnel for entry onto Cedar Financials, and then to managers for approval.

The change means WH Smith can now more effectively capture and organise its documents, and easily retrieve a page when needed, McGrath said.

The retailer is also using the platform to capture system-generated documents automatically using the ImageNow printer application, avoiding the time-consuming process of printing and scanning to archive.

Under combative chief executive Kate Swann, IT is playing a key part in WH Smith’s cost-reduction and growth strategy. In a recent financial statement the firm said it had achieved cost savings through outsourcing technology and renegotiating existing supplier contracts.

The company spent £9m on IT systems in the last financial year to 31 August 2007, and is integrating the financial systems behind its 543 high street stores and the system behind its 129 travel stores at airports, train stations and motorway service areas.

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