With the adoption of the SharePoint 2010-based WorkPoint solution developed in Denmark, Dansk Standard annihilates an array of extremely time-consuming, paper-based business procedures and processes while sharing information across the organization.
A far more efficient application of the resources of the employees results in an increase in productivity. This efficiency-increase makes Dansk Standard able to pick up the gauntlet and stand tall against much bigger, international certification institutes.
One of the primary tasks of Dansk Standard is to certify the products and processes according to international quality standards on a vast array of parameters. Until the adoption of WorkPoint, the subsidiary, DS Certificering – DS Certification – has suffered from a somewhat inherit slowness, as Gert Steffensen, CEO of Dansk Standard, and responsible for the IT in the company.
– A lot of our processes has been manual to an extraordinary degree. The certification department’s case files has, literally, been carried cross country to make sure all signed documents and audit reports where kept together, Gert Steffensen explains.
– Of course, that meant delays were inevitable. In order to be able to work on the project in Copenhagen, you had to wait for a colleague to travel from the Aarhus branch to Copenhagen with the folder, Gert Steffensen adds.
A report estimated yearly savings of a minimum of a 1000 man hours – the equivalent of between US$
200,000 and US$ 400,000 – by digitizing the case files. On top of this, Dansk Standard had not organized its knowledge and document sharing of the already digitized information.
It took several years of research to find an IT solution to alleviate the problem of wasted man hours. Common to most of the solutions was the high initial costs and the fact that they were custom made to completely different sectors. Gert Steffensen systematized the search, and the answer came in form of the Danish WorkPoint solution, based on SharePoint 2010.
– WorkPoint made a convincing case for their SharePoint-based solution, and how it could integrate seamlessly with the rest of our infrastructure, says Gert Steffensen.
After the lengthy elucidating work, the WorkPoint consultants expanded on which elements were included as standard or in SharePoint and which elements had to be developed specifically for DS Certificering.
Gert Steffensen adds, that “the WorkPoint consultants demonstrated an impressive awareness of our business and needs – and when that happens, you’re much closer in the search for the right contractor.”
– I have no doubt we will be saving a lot of time and a lot of money, even if we only consider the digitizing of our processes. In that context, those 1000 man hours – the equivalent of about US$200,000 – is a good estimate, says Gert Steffensen. Simultaneous to the general digitizing of documents, shared folders were introduced, making it possible for the 60 employees in DS Certificering to share not only documents but mails and so forth pertaining to each individual case.
Just short of 30 implemented workflows ensures that the certification employees comply with the applicable standards and can be guided through the various processes.
– We used to spend the equivalent of a full time employee to keep our quality manual up-to-date and to ensure that all relevant employees were informed of changes to the rules, practices, deviations and so on. From now on, everything will be accessible in the system, which also keeps the employees informed automatically whenever the quality manual is amended, Gert Steffensen explains.
– The auditors at DS Certificering are, by the very nature of their jobs, trained to find flaws in any system. That’s one of their core competencies. Yet, they were impressed by WorkPoint going back to the introductory pilot presentations. Not only by the user interface, but by the numeral options to improve our processes. It’s quite telling that instead of the usual negative murmurs about new IT systems, people have typically responded to this with comments like “How come we didn’t do this ten years ago?”
Without having the data in, Gert Steffensen still estimate the advantages to be significant:
– I’m fairly certain we’re going to reap the benefits in a lot of different areas by this. Both measure on economy, productivity and time. As a result, we will be able to compete from a much stronger position against the really big, international certification organizations. And, that even if their custom document management systems cost them tens of millions of US$, and ours a mere fraction of that.
He adds that when the system is up and running, DS will expand on it even further. The expansion will include two-way integration with the Microsoft AX-based ERP-system. Further down the track, the idea is to file reports and data directly through a Windows 8 tablet.
– As WorkPoint is SharePoint 2010 at the core, the system is very flexible. We can even adapt it ourselves to a degree, since we have the know-how about the various web parts in-house. This makes us independent and in a better position to keep the consultancy hours under control – something which would not be possible with a through-and-through custom solution.
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