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Streamlining Service without a Hitch

United Road Towing doesn’t bat an eye at hauling 100,000 pounds of equipment or recovering off-road vehicles, yet the company hit numerous roadblocks when moving its internal documents. Expensive storage costs and high-volume paper processes impounded the company’s regional operations in Phoenix, AZ with time-consuming, inefficient content management.

The company faced four major challenges:

  • Storage: Lack of space in the office for filing cabinets cost the company $650 a month to rent storage sheds. Temperatures inside the sheds often topped 110 degrees, degrading documents and discouraging retrieval by accounting employees.
  • Decentralized Files: Every vehicle tow resulted in the creation of documents by multiple departments, each with their own filing methods—which meant accounting employees had to contact at least three departments to complete a vehicle file. From gathering vehicle photos from the sales department and inspections from the vehicle storage facility to tracking down titles in the title department, staff spent more time searching than billing.
  • Security: Transferring files among departments compromised security and led to a proliferation of outdated copies.
  • Customer Service: Spread-out storage and misfiled contracts made it difficult to deliver towing contracts to customers by 2:00 p.m. on the day following a tow, as outlined in vendor contracts.

“The vehicle could sometimes be moved to another storage or auction facility, and sometimes the files would not get to the new vehicle storage location,” notes Sheila Gallegos, project manager at United Road Towing.

The company put out a request for proposals for an enterprise content management (ECM) product that could:

  • Quickly and easily scan documents.
  • Read vehicle barcodes and file documents with minimal human effort.
  • Perform quality checks on barcoded scans.

After reviewing RFP responses, United Road Towing saw that Laserfiche could easily set a company-wide standard to transition it away from inefficient paper-based processes.

“Laserfiche was the easiest to understand and the most user-friendly by far. Quick Fields and Workflow sessions were doing most the work, instead of our staff,” says Gallegos. “Most importantly, Laserfiche was an enterprise software solution, whereas the other vendors had to piece together other products to create the solution we were looking for.”

Gallegos led a three-month installation and in-depth training process which brought 73 employees in seven departments and seven locations—as well as 23 vendors—onto the Laserfiche system.

“Laserfiche has helped us streamline our processes, and it also helps us make sure that the processes are standardized from location to location,” she says.

Giving the Green Light to Better Records Management

The first step for United Road Towing was standardizing the documentation process from the time a vehicle hitches to a tow truck to when it leaves the tow lot—which brought immediate improvements in customer service and employee efficiency.

A custom integration between Quick Fields, Workflow and the company’s towing software now takes data from vehicle barcodes, driver invoices and customer-submitted documents across many departments for cradle-to-grave records management.

Because the towing software doesn’t contain an open database, the company worked with Laserfiche to create a custom Workflow script with an HTTP post. The script automatically pulls information from the towing software to fill in additional data in Quick Fields.

As outlined below, records management is now much simpler and more consistent:

  • When the company tows a vehicle, the truck driver places a barcode sticker on the vehicle to identify it in the vehicle inventory and places a barcode sheet in the storage reports.
  • Storage facility staff scans the barcode sheets into Laserfiche.
  • Quick Fields reads the barcodes, places the inventory number into a field and saves the storage report in the Laserfiche repository.
  • The custom Workflow script runs a session that searches the towing database using the barcode. Quick Fields then fills in additional template fields with retrieved information about the vehicle, such as the vehicle’s make, model, year and VIN number, as well as customer information and invoice and payment dates.
  • When all fields are complete, the Workflow session electronically files the documents by tow date.

With the automated system, the average user can process five documents a minute. Each day, the company as a whole can easily process 1,500 customer documents and 500 driver invoices.

WebLink Revs Up Customer Service

The integration has also improved the availability of customer documents within the contractual one-day grace period. Prior to Laserfiche, one employee would collect 200 documents a day from the accounting department, scan the documents into a network folder, rename all the documents, move the documents to an FTP folder and then make the documents available to customers on a Website in PDF form. This time-intensive process often resulted in late documents and $75 in vendor fines for each delayed delivery.

With Laserfiche WebLink, an automated process ensures that customers can view documents on the same day of the tow—many hours before the deadline.

  • When a towed vehicle is added to the storage inventory, storage facility employees scan documents from the drivers along with customer-supplied paperwork like driver licenses into a network folder.
  • From the network folder, Quick Fields brings the documents into the Laserfiche repository and identifies the documents by reading their barcodes.
  • The custom Workflow session retrieves the vehicle information from the towing software using the barcodes, and Quick Fields completes the template fields.
  • The accounting office then e-mails digital invoice copies to customers.
  • Quick Fields files the documents and automatically makes relevant documents, such as storage reports, driver licenses, private party impounds and pre-tow pictures of the vehicles, available for customers via WebLink.
  • Customers can view the files related to their tow with an assigned, secure login.

This fast flow of information empowers United Road Towing as well as the customer. The customer may view the document on the same day as the tow, and United Road Towing now:

  • Saves half a pallet of paper (50 boxes) per month.
  • Eliminates $650 a month in off-site storage costs.
  • No longer needs to train storage employees on a formerly laborious customer service process.

“In the past, a dedicated staff person spent eight hours completing this process. Now, it only takes 30 minutes to verify all the documents that were scanned,” says Gallegos.

Overhauled Processes Bring Big Benefits

United Road Towing counts centralized data as the most basic gain from Laserfiche, which has completely eliminated the company’s reliance on a carrier to move documents from remote sites to the main office.

The rewards multiply when it comes to customer satisfaction. “Now anyone who answers the phone can answer inquiries about the status of a vehicle by doing a simple search in Laserfiche,” notes Gallegos. “We used to have to transfer calls to the storage lot where the vehicle was stored.”

The company’s five storage facilities follow the same procedures, but the company can shift tasks around depending on the available employees and their skill levels. For example, when a customer calls requesting paperwork from their insurance company to release the vehicle to a body shop or the police department inquires after proof of ownership forms, dispatch staff can now look up the related information in Laserfiche instead of relying on lot staff.

More employees can be cross-trained to complete work in multiple departments. Whenever the staff has downtime, employees input and check metadata in Laserfiche from any documents that don’t include barcodes. Recently, the company even changed its file clerk positions into quality assurance roles.

With Audit Trail, Gallegos can run a report that outlines which employees have accessed certain documents. Every month, she uses the report to check productivity and conduct any back-training
for employees based on their efficiency.

United Road Towing is close to completing an expansion to the corporate office in Illinois. Instead of spending money on overnight mailing costs, the company will now digitally send Department of Transportation documents to corporate employees via WebLink.

Other plans for growing United Road Towing’s Laserfiche system include:

  • Using the Laserfiche Mobile iPad app to digitize the signed agreement binders that tow drivers currently carry in paper form. Capturing and storing the most current authorization forms will ensure that drivers remain in compliance with local regulations.
  • Working with municipalities to write laws that standardize the authorizations needed to tow a vehicle and giving cities access to signed agreements via WebLink.
  • Expanding the Laserfiche system to 11 additional sites to further standardize procedures and bring cradle-to-grave records management to the rest of the company.

“Laserfiche has helped to ensure that processes are consistent throughout the company while allowing us to improve processes and gain efficiencies,” Gallegos says. “It’s one of the best investments we’ve ever made.”

Laserfiche Identified as a Champion by Info-Tech Research Group

LONG BEACH (Laserfiche)—December 28, 2011—Laserfiche today announced that it has been listed as a Champion in Info-Tech Research Group’s Enterprise Content Management (ECM) for Process Workers Vendor Landscape. Based in Ontario, Canada, Info-Tech Research Group is North America’s fastest growing full-service IT analyst firm.

Assessing vendors by the strength of their offering and their strategy for the enterprise, Info-Tech Research Group Vendor Landscapes pay tribute to the contribution of exceptional vendors in a particular category. According to Info-Tech Research Group, the research is designed for organizations looking for an ECM solution that will:

  • Increase the efficiency of workers that engage in repetitive tasks.
  • Improve key transactional processes such as accounts payable or onboarding.
  • Integrate with key line-of-business applications such as ERP, GIS or CRM.

“Laserfiche is a stalwart that is exploiting the new capabilities of emerging technology,” said George Goodall, Senior Research Analyst with Info-Tech. “It has strong alignment with Microsoft technologies, an innovative iPhone app that allows for remote scanning using the iPhone camera and an Integration Marketplace, where connectors can be purchased for a wide variety of products.”

Of the four vendors listed as Champions in the report, Laserfiche received the highest Value Score. This means that, of all the Champions, Laserfiche offers the most “bang for the buck” in terms of features, usability and stability.

“The Info-Tech Research Group ranking confirms that our focus on providing cost-effective transactional content management solutions is paying off for our customers,” said Tom Wayman, Vice President of Product Strategy at Laserfiche. “The advanced business process management capabilities and administration tools included in our newest release, Laserfiche 8.3, will enable even more organizations to increase efficiency and improve transactional processes such as case and contract management.”

About Info-Tech Research Group

With a paid membership of over 8,000 organizations worldwide, Info-Tech Research Group (www.infotech.com) is the global leader in providing tactical, practical information technology research and analysis. Info-Tech Research Group has a thirteen-year history of delivering quality research and is North America’s fastest growing full-service IT analyst firm.

About Laserfiche
Since 1987, Laserfiche has used its Run Smarter® philosophy to create simple and elegant enterprise content management (ECM) solutions. More than 30,000 organizations worldwide—including federal, state and local government agencies and Fortune 1000 companies—use Laserfiche® software to streamline document, records and business process management.

The Laserfiche ECM system is designed to give IT managers central control over their information infrastructure while still offering business units the flexibility to react quickly to changing conditions. The Laserfiche product suite is built on top of Microsoft® technologies to simplify system administration, supports the Microsoft SQL platform and features a seamless integration with Microsoft Office® applications and a two-way integration with SharePoint®.

Laserfiche distributes its software through a worldwide network of value-added resellers (VARs), who tailor solutions to clients’ individual needs. The Laserfiche VAR program has received the Five-Star Rating from Computer Reseller News/VARBusiness magazine.

Laserfiche®, Run Smarter® and Compulink® are registered trademarks of Compulink Management Center, Inc.

Tech Tip: Support Site Resources You Might Be Missing

The Support Site contains a lot of useful information about how to use, optimize and troubleshoot your Laserfiche software, and some of the most vital links are right at the top of each page.

On the main page, in addition to links to license files and activation keys for you and your clients, you’ll also find a link to a guide to all of the resources available on the site:

Supportmain

By clicking on one of the product links in the left bar (e.g., Laserfiche or Workflow), you’ll find Support Site information such as Knowledge Base articles and tech papers filtered for that product. In addition, links in the page header take you to online help files and the current list of hotfixes for the product.

LFmain

WFmain

If there are specific materials you’re looking for on the Support Site, but can’t fine, or if there are features you’d like to see documented, please let us know at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Tech Tip: Using the “For Each” Activities in Workflow 8.3

With Workflow 8.3, you can automatically process each item in a group. The four “For Each” activities run one or more activities.

  • For Each Entry in a collection.
  • For Each Row in a table of information.
  • For Each User in a group.
  • For Each Value of a multi-value token and/or of multiple tokens.
  • Example: Jill wants to search the repository for all project proposals filed in the last week, and she wants to use the For Each Entry activity to apply metadata to each proposal.
  • Example: For each row returned in a database query for new employees, Mark wants to create a new document and assign a tag to it.

The For Each activities are easy to configure, but the activities placed inside these activities often need special attention so that they will process the correct entries.

Define the Information “For Each” Processes

To configure a For Each activity, first specify which collection of information the activity will process. When you drag and drop a For Each activity on to the Designer Pane, a property box will let you define a collection of information.

  • Example: With the For Each Entry activity, Jill specifies a collection of entries to process in the Entries property box. By clicking the Select link and choosing a collection of entries from the list provided, Jill configures the activity to process the search results (“Output Entries”) found by a Search Repository activity.
  • Entries Property Box

Define How That Information Is Processed

After selecting a collection of information, drag and drop activities into the For Each activity. Then, specify which entry the activities inside the For Each activity will act on. By default, activities are configured to act on the Starting Entry. However, in many cases, you will want them to act on a different entry.

  • Example: Jill wants to assign metadata to each entry being processed by a For Each Entry activity. She drags and drops an Assign Field Values activity into the For Each Entry activity. In the Assign Field Values To property box, she selects Other Entry, clicks the Select link, and chooses Current Entry in the Select Entry dialog. The Assign Field Values activity will now assign metadata to each entry processed by the For Each Entry activity and not the starting entry.

Assign Field Values to

Selecting Entries 2

All activities that interact with entries will have a similar property box in which you can choose which entry the activity will act on.

The For Each Row, For Each User, and For Each Value activities do not interact with a collection of entries, and you will not have the “Current Entry” option when selecting which entry the activities inside the For Each activity will act on. However, you may still want to specify an entry other than the starting entry for these activities.

  • Example: Mark wants to create a new entry for each row of data returned in a database query, and he wants to assign a tag to each created entry. Mark places a Create Entry activity and Assign Tag activity inside the For Each Row activity. When configuring the Assign Tag activity, Mark specifies that the activity will apply a tag to the created entry, not the starting entry.

Select Entry 3

Tech Tip: Find the Answers You Need

Answers to almost every question about Laserfiche software are at your fingertips. All you need to do is click any variety of “Help” in the software.

  • In the Administration Console, Folder Browser or Document Viewer you have multiple options:
    • Click the ? button in the toolbar (the Administration Console button looks different but still has a big ?).

      help

    • Press the F1 button on your keyboard (HINT: This opens help in most software programs).
    • Select Contents (or Help Topics in the Admin Console) from the Help menu above the toolbar.
  • On any dialog box, click the Help button to open information about the specific dialog you’re clicking from.

help-context

What’s the help you get?

Laserfiche online help files are the single most comprehensive resource for information on how to use our software products.

    • Most up-to-date source. Online hosting means we can update our help files as necessary to add information about a feature or clarify anything confusing—so you get up-to-date information at all times.
    • Most complete source. Everything we know about how to use the software goes into the help files, and they often serve as a foundation for the papers and videos we create. The help files are your single best option for “What does this do?” and “How do I do it?” questions.

Laserfiche 8.3 Released

Laserfiche is pleased to announce the release of Laserfiche 8.3, including Server, Workflow, Web Access, and Client in English, Arabic, Chinese (Simplified), Chinese (Traditional), French, Italian, Portuguese (Brazilian) and Spanish.

empower 2012Laserfiche 8.3 is a major release including numerous new features and significant performance enhancements that help automate transactional processes, simplify information governance and improve deployment flexibility for administrators and users.

Enhancements include the following and more:

  • Versions: Versions now track content and metadata changes as a history within a single document, allowing you to review, compare and revert to older versions. Legacy version behavior from Laserfiche 8.2 and before continues to be supported in the Link Group feature, described below.
  • Digital Signatures: User can digitally sign documents, indicating that documents are authentic and signed by particular people. Other users can validate signatures to verify that the contents have not been modified since signing and that a trusted root authority validated the signatures.
  • Template Colors: Administrators can now associate a color with a template. Icons for documents and folders assigned to a template appear in that color in the Client and Web Access.
  • Volume Checksums: Checksums allow users to verify the contents of a volume to detect tampering, corruption or data loss and notify users if opened documents do not have valid contents.
  • Encrypted Briefcases: Users can encrypt Laserfiche contents exported as briefcases using AES 128 encryption, ensuring that the briefcase cannot be opened or imported into a repository without a valid password.
  • Link Groups: Laserfiche 8.3 retains version groups from Laserfiche 8.2 and prior as collections of related but independent documents called link groups. Users can convert link groups to Laserfiche 8.3 version-controlled documents using our Link Group Conversion Utility.
  • Full-Text Search: The Full-Text Indexing and Search Engine can now be distributed to a different computer than the Laserfiche Server for improved performance. New features also include new index status reporting, memory management and localized indexing.
  • Workflow 8.3 offers a vast expansion of capabilities, with more than 60 new built-in Workflow activities including activities for PDF forms, database access and directory access, scheduled automation, workflow statistics reports, performance improvements and much more. See the supplementary announcement of this exciting release to extend the reach of business process management. Laserfiche Workflow is included with Rio and Avante systems.
  • Web Access 8.3: Performance enhancements include improved handling of scanning and importing, caching enhancements, improved memory usage and more efficient information loading.
  • Laserfiche Client: Users can save different customizable column displays with column profiles and easily switch between profiles without manually re-configuring them. The Laserfiche Client includes full support for new Laserfiche 8.3 features.
  • Office Integration: Updated compatibility fully supports the x64 edition of Microsoft Office 2010 and the expanded versions feature.
  • Web Administration Console: A new, full-featured administrative thin client allows authorized users to administer their repository from anywhere using a Web browser. Additional features not available with the desktop Administration Console include:
    • Centralized Management Dashboard: A convenient dashboard provides easy access to statistics and functions of your Laserfiche Server and Repository.
    • Integrated Event Viewer: You can now view Laserfiche-related informational and error messages from the Laserfiche Server or Search Engine computers from anywhere.
    • Availability: The Laserfiche Web Administration Console is included with Rio and Avante as part of the Laserfiche Server installation.
  • Snapshot 8.3: Enhancements improve batch processing and troubleshooting.
  • PhotoDocs 8.3: Full integration with version control supports the new 8.3 features. PhotoDocs also includes new options for cropping images.
  • Localization: Laserfiche 8.3 provides fully integrated installation and UI localization with a complete simultaneous release of all components in Arabic, French, Portuguese (Brazilian) and Spanish. All components except Workflow are also available in Chinese (Simplified), Chinese (Traditional) and Italian.

Next Steps:

  1. Read the release notes and list of changes for Laserfiche 8.3 Avante and Rio
  2. Read the release notes and list of changes for Laserfiche 8.3 Web Access.
  3. Visit support.laserfiche.com for videos, forums, Knowledge Base articles, and more.

Laserfiche Workflow 8.3 Released

In conjunction with the release of Laserfiche 8.3, we are pleased to announce the release of Workflow 8.3 in English, Arabic, French, Portuguese (Brazilian) and Spanish.

This is a major release featuring product enhancements and more than 60 new built-in Workflow activities that simplify third-party integrations, offer easy customization and enhance administrative control.

Workflow 8.3 will now install without a license when configured with a Laserfiche Avante or Rio Server, eliminating additional licensing or activation steps. Workflow 8.3 is compatible with Laserfiche 8.0 and up, with some activities requiring Laserfiche 8.3.

Workflow 8.3 Enhancements Include:

  • New Activities: Workflow 8.3 boasts a variety of new activities including PDF activities, database activities, directory activities, custom token activities, error handling activities and more.
  • Starting Rule Enhancements: You can now schedule starting rules to run workflows on a timer and without a starting rule. New Rule Manager folders help you organize workflows and search for starting rules.
  • Condition Enhancements: In activity conditions, you can access tokens from the right-hand side of a condition—allowing you to compare the value of two tokens.
  • Search Enhancements: A new Common Searches Pane lets you run pre-configured searches for workflow instances with updated search options in the Search Pane. The Search Results Pane also lets you select and interact with multiple workflow instances at once.
  • Workflow Statistic Reports: With this new reporting tool, you can view information about your workflows, like the average time it took for a workflow to run, in a table or a chart.
  • Administration Console Changes: An expanded Workflow Administration Console lets you monitor and interact with your workflows and provides advanced performance options to ensure that Workflow takes full advantage of your system’s resources.
  • Script Editor: The redesigned script editor makes creating and using tokens easier. Additionally, you can add or remove any assembly references you want.
  • Usability Enhancements: Improvements have been made to the Minimap, Toolbox, Workflow Properties, Workflow Designer Canvas, print options and more.
  • Configuration Manager: Configure the Workflow Server, Subscriber, Monitored Repositories, E-mail Servers and Trustee Directories all in a convenient Configuration Manager.
  • Failover Clustering Support for the Workflow Subscriber: A second machine can ensure that no Laserfiche Server notifications are lost if the machine hosting the Workflow Subscriber fails.
  • Workflow Architecture Changes: Architecture changes include a new Workflow Server-Subscriber relationship, SQL changes, new primary message queues, scripting changes and more.
  • Supported Languages: Workflow can now run in English, Arabic, Spanish, French and Portuguese (Brazilian).

Next steps:

  1. Read about known issues for Workflow 8.3.
  2. See a list of changes for Workflow 8.3.
  3. Visit support.laserfiche.com for videos, forums, Knowledge Base articles, and more.

Installation Details for Laserfiche 8.3 and Workflow 8.3

With release of Laserfiche 8.3 and Workflow 8.3, you may be wondering how the new features will affect your existing systems. Please note the following details for downloading, installing and licensing the new products.

Download Package

  • The release consists of four packages: Avante, Rio, Web Access and Workflow. All package sizes have been condensed to reduce download time. Each package still contains the same amount of content as previous releases, but in a smaller size.
  • The Avante 8.3 package now includes Client, Server and Workflow in one bundle, eliminating the need to download a separate Workflow package. Team/United customers should also use the Avante package to access components compatible with their systems.
  • The Rio 8.3 package includes the standard Client, Server and License Manager, as well as Workflow and Web Access, so Rio customers no longer need to download the Avante and Web Access files to gain all features for their systems.
  • Since Workflow 8.3 is compatible with all versions of Laserfiche 8.0, a smaller package is available for customers who need Workflow but are not yet not updating to Laserfiche 8.3.

Web Access 8.3 and Laserfiche Mobile

  • If a customer currently uses the Laserfiche Mobile application, the Laserfiche 8.3 download will automatically update Laserfiche Mobile for compatibility with the new system.

Digital Signatures and Web Administration Licensing

  • Rio customers will automatically receive the Digital Signatures feature when downloading Laserfiche 8.3.
  • For Avante customers, the Digital Signatures feature is sold as a 5% add-on.
  • Rio and Avante customers will automatically receive the Web Administration Console, which can be installed through the main Laserfiche Server package. The previously available Desktop Administration Console is still included in the Client installation.
  • Digital Signatures and the Web Administration Console are not supported for Team/United.

Workflow 8.3 Licensing

  • Workflow 8.3 is included for Avante and Rio customers. The installation detects the server type, connects automatically and will not require them to activate a license file.
  • Team/United customers with Workflow must activate to generate a license file when installing Workflow 8.3.

Learn more about the new features and functionality of Laserfiche 8.3 on the Laserfiche Support Site.

Experts Outline Business Value of Laserfiche 8.3 in New Video

Learn directly from Laserfiche experts how to make the most out of our Laserfiche’s product developments in “Laserfiche 8.3: Taking Transactional Content Management to the Next Level.”

In a five-minute panel discussion, Alex Wilson, PDP Partner Manager, Brian LaPointe, VP of Strategic Solutions and Steve Hackney, Senior Solutions Engineer, discuss how new product enhancements in Laserfiche 8.3 translate into immediate value for customers’ lines of business.

You’ll hear how Laserfiche 8.3 provides:

  • ECM as integrative middleware for a better user experience.
  • Enterprise workflow activities that eliminate the need for programming.
  • Accessible and secure mobile content management.
  • Extended security with VERS Certification (Digital Signatures).

Watch the video now!

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