Furniture Company Cuts Costs with IntelliChief
August 10, 2010 Alex Woodie
High Point Furniture Industries (HPFI) has gotten a handle on its paperwork in part through a new content management system from Quadrant Software. After automating several back office processes with IntelliChief, the MAPICS shop reports greater efficiencies, and fewer customer service headaches.
HPFI manufacturers upholstered seating, desks, and tables from its two factories in High Point, North Carolina. In business since 1958, the company, which operates 440,000 square feet of production space, has received environmental accolades for its use of recycled materials and raw material sourcing, while maintaining quality.
Despite the green push, the company was drowning in paper, according to a case study on the IntelliChief website. The company suffered from misfiled documents and lost invoices, and was often late in answering customer requests. All of these factors–in addition to a desire to become more efficient and more profitable–led the company to explore more advanced document management and imaging technology.
The search led the company to IntelliChief, which today operates as a subsidiary of Quadrant Software. HPFI decided to use IntelliChief, which the vendor dubs a “paperless process management system,” to augment back office processes governed by its Infor ERP XA (MAPICS) software.
IntelliChief helped JPFI to eliminate manual steps from its purchase-to-pay (or purchasing, receiving, and accounts payable) cycle. Instead of printing out purchase orders, faxing them to the vendor, stapling the confirmation receipt, and laying the paper bundle in a basket, where it would take up to four hours for somebody to authorize them, the Windows-based IntelliChief software relegated these tasks to the computer.
Instead of requiring employees to manually match invoices against purchase orders, IntelliChief does it for them, while keeping an archive of all scanned documents and keeping track of the workflow. And even when IntelliChief can’t automatically match the invoice, it makes HPFI employees’ lives easier.
“Every day I had to pull up the folder and try to match invoices . . . That was a big pain,” Crystal Delgado, HPFI accounts payable associate, says in the case study. “With IntelliChief, [the invoices] just wait to be matched up against the receiver . . . as if they were saying ‘Hey, here we are!’ It’s a tremendous timesaver.”
The new system also helps the company’s order-to-cash system. Under the old system, orders coming in via fax, e-mail, and regular mail would be reviewed before being officially entered into ERP XA. However, when a customer needed to make a change to the order or a discount needed to be applied, the lack of visibility into the order caused problems. In some circumstances, customers would be asked to re-submit their orders, which did not sit well.
Now, that IntelliChief is managing the workflow and storing all documents (like the original purchase orders, any change orders, acknowledgements, and related documents), the number of people touching the orders has dropped dramatically, and the processing time has sped up by a factor of two.
Everything runs much smoother now that IntelliChief is on the case, says HPFI accounting manager Elaine Handley. “Our ultimate goal was to find a way to improve the bottom line, to improve profitability,” she states in the case study. “It helped decrease the stress level. Being able to really see what’s happening, to see where bottlenecks are is incredible . . . From a management standpoint, that’s a benefit to me that’s hard to measure.”