By Mechthilde Gruber, Freelancer, Munic
alfred rexroth is a company with a long tradition in the metal industry. Based in Berlin, the company produces intricate parts for customers from a wide range of industries, but predominantly the medical and manufacturing plant engineering sectors. The documentation requirements are particularly high in this field.
The company needs to archive several hundred thousand documents every year. In the past, anyone who needed to look something up was faced with a time-consuming search. When they decided to switch their ERP system to SAP Business One, the decision was also made to find a new DMS system. Updating their previous system – in order to work with the planned integration into SAP Business One – would have been too expensive and only possible with the help of costly consultants. Together with their local DocuWare Partner Neffe Consulting GmbH & Co. KG an interface was instead developed for this purpose. According to Michael Schieben, Managing Director at alfred rexroth, the interface “works very well and makes work much easier.”
No invoice stays unprocessed
In partnership with their systems house, the company first began using DocuWare in its accounting department and installed a workflow for authorizing incoming invoices. In the past, invoices were sent around the company in circular files; it was often difficult to track where they were at any given time. Today, invoices are either scanned or automatically retrieved from the email inbox, indexed and archived in a central document pool. In a subsequent workflow, after an initial check, the accounting department assigns the documents to various departments, where they are again verified. A built-in escalation process ensures that no invoice is left unattended. The workflow ends as soon as a document is finally checked back into the accounting department and (if approved) automatically posted and archived.
At alfred rexroth, not only are accounting documents stored in the electronic document pool, but also all documents that are generated in the various departments of the company: personnel records as well as quotes, order confirmations, delivery slips, material test certificates, production support letters, standards and even blueprint drawings. Thanks to the interface to the ERP system, everything that needs to be filed is automatically indexed and stored in DocuWare. Employees do not have to actively take care of this. Paper documents are scanned and archived. Using the convenient full-text search, all authorized persons from across departments can access the documents.
Customer immediately receives documentation with goods shipped
This system has been particularly helpful for compiling all the extensive documentation that must be provided to a customer for each product manufactured. For this purpose, a workflow has been set up that starts as soon as a delivery slip for a finished product is printed out. As soon as an employee has checked and approved the file assembled by the workflow, it is automatically sent to the customer by email. In this way, the documentation is already on hand at a customer’s when the goods arrive with the delivery slip. According to Michael Schieben, about 80 percent of the work in the documentation department is now automated.
At the end of 2020, after about two years of using DocuWare, around five million documents had already been stored in their archive. Many require very long retention periods – 50 years for turbines, for example – which are easily met. Digitization will continue at alfred rexroth. They want to achieve completely paperless production within three years. Right at the production machines, for example, all setup plans will be available digitally, as well as all maintenance plans; correct adherence to all will be ensured by smart workflows.
Michael Schieben, managing director of Berlin-based company alfred rexroth,
has automated elaborate documentation and administrative processes with DocuWare.
Thanks to DocuWare, Berlin-based metal supplier alfred rexroth automates around 80 percent of work in its documentation department.