WSB Banks on SpoolFlex
Published: October 31, 2006
by Mary McCauley-Stiff
Steve Bohn, a vice president at Washington State Bank in southeastern Iowa, arrived ready to work everyday. Before becoming productive, however, he would wait up to two hours as two or three employees distributed the previous day's reports. Although the bank's core OS/400-based application provided a wealth of data, Bohn was fed up. "It was frustrating to have all this information on the computer that spit it out on paper reports that would then take more time and effort to distribute," he says. But a solution wasn't far away.
Unlike the stereotyped image of a rural town business, WSB keeps up with the technology and services its customers expect. The bank, which is 85 percent locally owned and prides itself on knowing its clientele and their needs, offers clients banking from its Web site, including bill paying and access to check images. This work has paid of for WSB, which has more than 8,000 customers in a town with only 7,000 residents.
The bank uses core processing software from Jack Henry & Associates, which has served its needs well. However, the distribution of more than 100 reports--some of which are up to 200 pages--from the JHY system was becoming troublesome. The reports, which were printed on 17-inch wide green-bar paper, had to be burst apart and sometimes reduced in size on a copy machine. And then there was the collating, stapling, and manual distribution to upper management. It was all becoming too much.
WSB decided to find out just how inefficient and costly the manual report distribution system really was. The bank calculated that, every week, the system cost 10 hours in staff time and $150 for three boxes of paper. Over the course of a year, this inefficient system would occupy 520 hours of staff time and use up $7,800 in paper. Suffice it to say, WSB had better uses for that money.
The SpoolFlex Selection
WSB had several requirements for a new electronic report distribution system. It had to be cost effective, simple to implement, and easy to modify. Furthermore, the solution had to deliver their reports without any of their employees actually having to touch the reports. And the reports had to be easy to access.
Since Bohn and another employee share the responsibility for the bank's technical operations--and neither have a technical background, a testament to the ease-of-use of the OS/400 and i5/OS platform--it was especially important that the solution was easy to set up and modify.
Luckily, Bohn mentioned his problem to Matt Ritter, an employee of Clear Lake Bank & Trust in Clear Lake, Iowa. As it turned out, Clear Lake Bank & Trust used the same JHY software on the same platform. It also used DRV Technologies' SpoolFlex electronic document management system to distribute reports.
"He just said it was a great thing," Bohn said of Ritter's experience with SpoolFlex at Clear Lake Bank & Trust. "He was able to pay for it based solely on paper savings alone." Bohn decided to give SpoolFlex, which costs about $4,000, a shot at solving his bank's reporting problem, and hopefully saving them a bundle along the way.
SpoolFlex in Action
After receiving the SpoolFlex program from DRV, Bohn got himself up to speed using DRV's documentation and online training Webinars. "The program itself is not difficult," he says. "I'm not a programmer … it's not difficult or hard to use." After one day, Bohn had SpoolFlex converting spool files to PDF and storing them on a server for management to access.
Although WSB still prints some reports on their IBM 6400 printer, it's now saving between $7,000 and $10,000 per year in paper and printer ribbon cost, largely due to the fact that 75 percent of its spool files are being converted into PDF documents right after being generated by JHY on the iSeries server.
Bohn is thrilled with the results of SpoolFlex. "It's like having a secretary, someone that grabs the reports, makes copies, and distributes them," he says. "It's faster, it's quicker, and certainly much cheaper." What's more, the employees who previously spent their first two hours at work mired in green-bar reports now have more efficient ways to spend their time and energy.
After some configuration, WSB's top managers now have easy access to their reports. "We simply have a system set up where we have some links established on their desktop and they can go in and view their reports without any effort at all," Bohn says. "It's the efficiency and ease of having that information distributed wherever I want every morning."
Other savings not as easily measured include recouped employee hours. For example, in the past, employees would have to visit the bank's basement, where reports were archived, and search for a hard copy of an old report. Now they can just open an Excel spreadsheet with hypertext links to the PDF reports.
Bohn commended the flexibility of SpoolFlex. "You can take it and sort it based upon parameters you set up," he says. In fact, Bohn admits that he probably isn't taking advantage of all of SpoolFlex's features. In the future, Bohn is considering using SpoolFlex to print and deliver electronic bank statements to WSB customers.
Bohn isn't the only one currently benefiting from SpoolFlex. The bank's loan-processing and customer service personnel are also relieved because they're now spending less time handling reports and more time doing the jobs they were hired to do, namely processing loans and keeping the bank's customers happy with shorter lines.
Mary McCauley-Stiff is a freelance writer with experience in copywriting, marketing writing, and technical writing. Her writing business is Five Star Writing.