Challenge: For every house that gets built there are literally hundreds of documents that need to be created and then distributed to suppliers. Keeping track of these documents and all subsequent revisions and ensuring their safe delivery can be a nightmare especially if you are one of Australia’s largest home builders.
Jeremy Bree, CIO, for Henley Properties Group explains the impact of trying to manage large volumes of documentation across the business: “For each house we build, we need to send out orders to all of the suppliers involved with that build. We would attach the relevant documents relating to their part of the job to an email – this may include up to ten documents per email - plans, soil reports, colour selections etc. Attaching so many documents to an email makes for a very big email, especially with plans attached.”
“When we send an order out to suppliers every aspect of doing that specific job is related to an individual cost centre, and each cost centre generates a purchase order that is attached to the order – there are hundreds of cost centres involved, and all of these have to be emailed individually!
Solution: Henley built a test interface between MS Sharepoint and OnBase for one particular house type – the one that generated to most paperwork and emails. This then enabled Henley to generate an email for suppliers with a link back to the product information that the supplier needed.
Bree said: “We had some success with this solution, but it was limited because the information sat behind a user name and password on MS Sharepoint and that was often hard for up suppliers.
Henley then imported every document from their SharePoint server into OnBase and indexed them according to Henley’s indexing rules. The rules mapped the documents to the related cost centres. “It took us two to three months to build the mapping and then another six weeks to get the file structure right, then spent another 4 weeks tweaking our scripting to get it all right,” Bree said.
Henley now export all jobs on a daily basis and import into OnBase. Hyland’s technical services team built a web service and created a web interface that has a custom query within OnBase that retrieves all the relevant documentation.
Benefits: There have been many benefits derived from this project: IT have seen less load on their network and there are almost zero issues of orders not being received by suppliers.
“When a project is a ‘go’ – between one and six weeks out from when we need goods – we now know that the supplier has received the order, acknowledged it, and is able to supply in the time required. We have less missed orders and delays because of orders not being processed – now everything is tracked, and this allows our Estimators and Administrators to work more efficiently. And, our suppliers are happy, there’s less impact on their mail servers and the process flows seamlessly,” he said.
Future Development: Bree forecasts that: “Next year we plan to expand the web interface functionality to include “revisions to drawings”, these will be delivered the same way as the purchase orders are now, and suppliers will go through the same process of clicking on the landing page link, acknowledging receipt of the revised drawings, PO and all relevant documents, this will be tracked by OnBase and visible to our team."