The use of DocuWare by the Utilities department has empowered the staff with a tool that helps them accomplish their jobs easier and faster, reducing workplace stress and lowering employee turnover costs.
The full-text search feature allows the staff to easily rectify complaints. The staff can quickly search for all bills attached to a specific meter and look for discrepancies such as a broken meter or meter reading that is unusually high. The staff uses the system to search for information associated with a particular location address, such as an apartment that has had various tenants, and resolve any issues. Customer service has improved as access to information regarding past bills is now instantly available. The department is also able to easily audit individual accounts or all the accounts in order to produce a report for a rate study.
“The department can pull up and reprint old bills, something they could never do before. Having all of this information at their fingertips has improved customer service,“ said James Stump, IT Coordinator for the City of Niles.
Additionally, DocuWare is also used to store a permanent record of change of service request forms. The system is also helping reduce fraud. When an individual comes in to set up their electric service their application and a form of ID such as a driver’s license or green card are stored in DocuWare. The department can search across previous applications against name, date of birth, and social security number for outstanding bills. Before the system was installed, applications were stored in paper folders by SSN and were very difficult to check. Fighting fraud was inefficient as the department relied more on their employees’ memories than the hard to use paper system.
For the City, the expansion of DocuWare to the Utilities department brings them one step closer to having a city wide records management system. It all began when the Police department started using DocuWare to store old incident reports, eliminating the need to store the records in a heated garage away from the main building, reducing document retrieval time and improving access to information, which helps the department solve cases faster. The system then expanded to the Utilities department and they have seen a substantial increase in productivity and customer service. Now the Finance department is using the system to store Accounts Payable checks and supporting documentation such as purchase orders, invoices and packing slips, reducing filing time by one third and showing the real time savings on the retrieval side, with only seconds to access information.“In the past, it was easier for our employees to use their memory to fight fraud, than to use our paper system. When an employee left, knowledge was lost. Fraud isn’t a big problem, but a recurring problem that we are now successfully managing with DocuWare,“ said James.
“In the future we would like to use DocuWare’s workflow capabilities, we are only just touching the tip of the iceberg regarding the information DocuWare can help us manage,“ said James.
In conclusion, DocuWare is helping the City of Niles maintain fiscal responsibility to the tax payers by better serving its residents while keeping costs low.