Beginning as a two-horse operation in 1909, Smith Dairy has grown into a thriving dairy manufacturer, producing more than 100,000 gallons of milk every day. However, accumulating nearly 100 years’ worth of paper, Smith Dairy became overwhelmed with documents, including invoices, purchase orders, packing slips, employment forms and more. Smith Dairy was running out of physical storage space and administrative tasks became labor intensive, difficult and costly.
Seeing the need to electronically manage content, improve business processes and save time and money, Smith Dairy turned to an enterprise content management (ECM) solution. ECM technology helps Smith Dairy employees capture information electronically, securely store it in a central repository, easily access the data and integrate with existing systems to streamline business processes in accounts payable (AP), accounts receivable (AR), human resources (HR), production, quality control, fleet maintenance and payroll.
Lifting Smith Dairy’s administrative offices out of the basement
Headquartered in Orrville, Ohio, Smith Dairy employs more than 500 people at three plants and eight distribution centers. It was critical for Smith Dairy to electronically store files in a central repository and build workflows to automate business processes across multiple departments and facilities. By implementing an ECM solution capable of scaling across the enterprise, Smith Dairy was able to save staff time and resources while also providing better visibility for management.
When a customer had a question about an account, a Smith Dairy associate would retrieve the file from the basement, fax the document to the customer and then return the call to make sure the customer received the fax. Because Smith Dairy processes between 1,200 and 1,500 orders per day, it didn’t take long for the AR department to become overwhelmed. Today, using ECM, when a customer calls with a question, an associate can electronically access the customer file and any related documents and instantly email the document to the customer. Instead of wasting time trekking to the basement and faxing the file, associates quickly resolve the issue without multiple communications, saving up to 20 minutes per inquiry.
After significantly improving customer service, Smith Dairy’s credit and invoice approval processes were next. Instead of mailing paper copies offsite, orders and invoices are electronically routed to a credit facilitator, who has full access to the accounts and greater visibility into recent transactions. Instead of paying late fees, Smith Dairy takes advantages of early payment discounts.
Integrating with the ERP system
Smith Dairy also integrated its ECM solution with its Microsoft DynamicsERP. The integration enables staff members to easily apply payments using electronic forms and upload that information into Dynamics. Once payment information is uploaded to Dynamics, the system automatically creates checks, saving staff time by automating a labor-intensive process.