Business Automation

Resources Value Added Strategy

Salary reduction, layoff, no pay overtime, no pay leave and etc., are these the best measures to add value and cut cost? Without referring to management textbook, we all know that these are not the best methodology. One may be able to reduce expenditure but it does not help to generate new income. These measures will ruin the long established relationship between employers and employees. It hampers mutual understanding, morale and loyalty.

In order to achieve resources value added, the direct and effective method is to streamline the workflow and make use of the information technology to lift the efficiency and develop new resources. It is easy to say but it is difficult to practise. In general, it is scarce to find business process re-engineering expert. Even such specialist is available. Who knows the business better than yourself? Business Process Re-engineering Specialist will simply ask for 7 digits remuneration. This amount is a burden to enterprises. For SME, this is an astronomical amount.

To escape from this dead-end street, a breakthrough approach associated with new technologies is essential to address the problems. During the technology bloom, many people suggested total solution by using e-Form and paperless solution to elevate efficiency and reduce cost. Successful implementation of such solution is highly depended on the ethics of the solution providers. You may find a very low cost (sometimes below cost) quotations, any modification will involve sky high prices. At the end, user paid but did not achieve the intended result. Paperless solution available 3 years ago costs million of dollars. It is not affordable by SME companies. In 1999, Hong Kong Government spent HK$2 million to convert 200 commonly used form to e-Form. It is still far from the target of full implementation.

In this circumstance, we are applying our breakthrough approach and providing innovative technology to resolve this headache. We are using real examples to demonstrate the way we are using to achieve resources value added.

"Case 1 Logistics Management"

Logistics companies are handling material flow and the related document. Such document is traditionally paper based. Logistics companies may not be so familiar with IT technology. Even there is new business opportunity. They will apply the conventional method but it will be incapable to cope with the workload.

Using Shipper's Instruction as an example, many companies are using fax as communication media. After the Shipper's Instructions are received via fax, there are 3 to 4 staff re-typing the information into the computer for processing. After the goods are shipped, the remaining information is entered and the Bill of Lading or Airway bill is printed. 80% of the information on the bill of lading and airway bill is taken from the Shipper's Instruction. Relying on human being to transfer data is time consuming, costly and created many human errors.

Some service providers suggested customers to use shipping software system to resolve similar problem. These software systems may cost over HK$1 million. SME may not be able to afford and utilize such complex system. Clever Motion Technology invented our own form flow solution. It facilitates and automates from Shipper's Instruction at customer end till bill of lading and airway bill. The saving is more than 50% and the error will be approaching to zero. Through our special software tool (see Figure 1), it will take less than 10 minutes to convert a normal paper form to e-Form. The processing, look and feel is same as original form. There is no need to be learned and trained.

Figure 1 - e-Form design tool

This logistics company did not want to add a server. The e-Form can be submitted via email. It is the basic feature of the software (Figure 2). Clients can download the special software e-Biz Filler free of charge for filling in data and submitting data (Figure 3). Moreover, the company can buy a Data Consolidator (Figure 4) to collect the data, to analyse or export. Applying this small change, it is error free and eliminated re-typing. It improves working efficiency. Normally handled by 3 staff now can be handled by one person. The excessive manpower can be deployed for other tasks. Resources value added is achieved. This solution is only cost you a few thousand dollars. It is so flexible and scalable that you can decide to add other forms and become a Form Flow System step-by-step whenever suitable. This is the road to business automation and paperless operations.

Figure 2 Set up the email address for e-Form submission Figure 3 Using e-Biz Filler software to fill in e-Form Figure 4 Using Data Consolidator to read data from email

"Case 2 Financial Consultant Customer Management"

Case 2 is a medium sized financial consultant company. The company has to handle customers everyday. It took a lot of time to follow up each case from first met till transaction. Meeting report and follow up report are important factors to successful business. In Figure 5, it shows the form which is being used to record each case. We spent 10 minutes to digitized the form to e-Form. Since the look and feel is the same as the paper form, there is no training required. In order to let the record renew instantly, the company install a server. Using open source Linux as the operating system, we seamlessly spent no cost to set up the server. The company spent less than HK$10,000 to resolve piles of document to electronic filing system. It makes the follow up more efficient and better service level. Can you image the cost for an IT consultant who has financial background? Your own business know how can be better utilized to speed up the improvement process.


Figure 5 Customer Follow up Review Report

"Case 3 Complex Purchasing Information Analysis"

From the above two examples, you should have a feeling. If you are willing to accept new idea, a small change can bring a lot of difference to the company.

Many operations managers believed that they are pretty much computerized. Every staff is using computer to process the daily work. There will be limited improvement. Actually, using computer and working efficiently are two different subjects. Using computer does not mean working efficiently. It may not improve productivity. For example, many people are using office automation software such as word processing and spread sheet. Most of the people are using these sophisticated software for file and print which is less than 5% of the total function. Again, many government departments, schools require you to download forms from web sites. Print it out. Fill it in and then fax it back.

In most of the large corporations, purchasing procedure may require 3 quotations for comparison. Each department has to obtain the information and consolidate for centralized purchase. Of course, you may use spread sheet and macro formula. It will be very time consuming and not flexible. Normal staff may not be capable to handle it. There is a simple method. Figure 6 is a complex e-Form. It can handle addition and multiplication. The server will be used to consolidate the data. If you want to prepare graphic chart, the export function enable you to transfer to CSV format (see Figure 7). This is more efficient and effective. The cost of the software is affordable.

Figure 6 Complex purchase form with calculation functions Figure 7 Database software with export function

"Case 4 Three Minutes demonstration"

Last but not least, in order to let you really understand the result of the above examples, we are using one of the most popular form to make a demonstration. We are hoping it will stimulate your thought and apply it in your companies.

  1. Firstly, we are using a handy Paperport scanner. It took 30 second to scan the form and store in the PC. (The name of the form owner is purposely removed). Please see Figure 8.
  2. Using the e-Biz Form DIY, pick the form. Use the tools provided. By drag and drop technique, create the fields and set the field format. See Figure 9.
  3. After completion, click save button and enter recipient email address.
  4. The whole process took less than 10 minutes. User can use the free e-Biz Filler to complete the entries.
Figure 8 Figure 9

Spending a few million dollars to hire specialists to re-engineer work flow or install computer system, is not affordable by SME. It does not imply trimming staff is the only solution. From the above genuine examples, successful implementation of resources value added cost very little. In reality, you understand your own business much better than anybody else. To overcome the existing slump, we have to face the difficulties; put away subjective opinion; learn from successful stories and willing to try new approaches and technology. The strategy can easily bring dramatic improvement. We wish to work hand in hand with all of you.

If you wish to have further detail, please contact us now!

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