Read the manual…you may find hidden features

Posted On May 30, 2012 By Advance Blog

Several times over the last few years I have changed models of technology that I use every day, day in and out… phones, TVs, computers, even our cars are technology tools for outside sales representatives. Most of the time I am doing the research and listening to reviews to determine what I need.

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After the sale, and on the rare occasion that I slow down long enough to get instructions or God forbid read the manual, I run across a great feature that would save me time. I happily announce, “Great, what a wonderful application. I’m glad I upgraded.” This statement is often greeted with an embarrassed representative or installer weighing the option of telling me that the technology was there on my previous version.

Believe it or not, at Advance, we receive calls or requests from clients and perspective clients that follow my same pattern. It is understandable since often times we are so rushed we don’t have time to examine why we are doing processes the way we have always done them. In our industry this can lead to a very sophisticated conversation on a document lifecycle. The depth of a document lifecycle conversation can turn off even the most progressive business person. Deep down, we know the opportunity for productivity improvement should be worth the investment of time, if and only if both parties share information and have the experience to implement solutions.

One of the technology tools that we have recently demonstrated is Savin’s Personal Paperless Document Manager (PPDM). Most of this technology has been around for years, but has not been packaged in one total software group.

A few examples of opportunities for PPDM to help our clients include:

#1 – Document Merging
An administrator receives brochures in a PDF file, a customized letter in a Word document, or digital photographs in JPEG, and instructions on what is applicable to be added to the hardcopy. All of this information is printed out, organized, written on and scanned into email as a PDF. This proposal is customized, but it took hours and is second generation quality. In addition, all of those pages were printed out. PPDM can take various file types and electronically merge them into one document. This can have mark ups and edits added to the PDF and then sent out via email. The process is faster, less expensive and the proposal looks better.

#2 – Print Multiple Documents
Another example is a client that receives construction drawings from the state of Maryland. The way construction files are created often leads to each page living in a unique TIFF or PDF file. This helps the state move potentially large files around via email, FTP, etc., but creates a time consuming process for companies downstream that need to estimate work on hard copy. In order to print the 100 TIFF files on the state’s disk, our client was opening each one and hitting print each time. This took two hours and created a log jam on the network for the print jobs. PPDM allows this client to drag and drop multiple files for print submission with the individual process.

In both cases, it took about an hour of conversation to understand my client’s bidding or estimating processes. It wasn’t about how many pages per month, it was about why? Share your processes and challenges with us; we may be able to make that initial investment of time pay off in a better bottom line.