It’s easy to make promises and share emotional stories that tug at the heartstrings, but what makes a municipal government actually successful is showing its residents – through action – that it cares about their needs. It starts with one small step – automating digital workflows. An IDC research revealed that companies that digitize their workflows can save 3.1 hours each week per employee on document-related tasks, which helps boost their productivity by 40.9 percent*.
The Township of Springwater is a municipal government that makes serving its residents better through improved and more efficient workflows a top priority. A small town just 100km north of Toronto, Springwater is situated between the City of Barrie and the Town of Wasaga Beach. One of their primary responsibilities is to store detailed and accurate records that their employees can efficiently access to perform various tasks. Information from these records is also made readily accessible to residents, based on Freedom of Information requests and other inquiries.
This was proving to be a challenge for the Township. Physical records would often go missing or have several different versions without an accurate means to identify which version was current. Responses to resident requests were sometimes delayed due to employees being on leave or due to the time consuming process of sifting through paper files. Storing files in their physical form took up a lot of space around the office and managing an accurate filing system was cumbersome and prone to human errors. All these challenges were resulting in a higher cost of operations, wasted staff time and frustrated residents.
The Township of Springwater turned to Ricoh for a solution. With extensive experience in providing digitalization solutions across numerous industries, Ricoh worked with the Township to understand their specific challenges and then implement a comprehensive records management system to help them achieve their objectives. The process involved:
- Scanning all legacy documents
- Capturing data from different source files
- Designing a process to digitize and capture future documents and data
- Defining an indexing method for all existing and future documents
- Organizing documents as per their latest version and implementing a system for version control
- Integrating all existing data and information into a central enterprise content management (ECM) system
- Defining a process to integrate all future documents into the ECM
This process not only eliminated redundant files and the challenge of version control, but also consolidated any repeated information that could cause errors. The content was now centralized and accessible to all employees which allowed for greater collaboration across departments and decreased duplication of effort saving staff time and reducing operation costs. Files were no longer stacked in storage cabinets which allowed the freed-up space to be utilized by the staff as needed. Immediate access to files reduced turnaround time to meet resident requests and decreased bottlenecks, even when employees were away for a significant period of time. Also, employees no longer had to check and re-check reports before sending them to council, saving precious time and effort. The digital records management system also allowed staff to create new automated workflows that saved them even more time. For example, Freedom of Information Requests are now available to residents via online forms and staff can process these requests much faster due to instant access to files via a central search mechanism.
Most importantly, taking this simple step has helped the Township of Springwater improve its relations with its residents and boosted the Township’s reputation for transparency: staff can quickly and easily deliver any document requested, immediately and accurately. The Township of Springwater has received significant industry recognition in its leadership and commitment to implementing a first-of-its-kind large-scale digital document management system solution securing them the well deserved title of innovator. And Ricoh Change Maker.
Watch this video to hear more about how digitalisation and workflow helped Springwater serve their residents better.