Digitized document imaging streamlines BKBs workflow, improves customer service
Paper should be used to print money, not keep records of it.
What might have seemed like a strange perspective to Basler Kantonalbank (BKB) a year ago is now the companys new attitude. By integrating a digital document imaging storage system, the bank shredded its reliance on a physical document archive. After scanning all of our records into the new database, we destroyed a lot of our paper documents, said Jean Doescher of Basler Kantonalbank. We threw away enough paper files to create space for an enlargement of our computing center.
Basler Kantonalbank opened in 1899 in northwest Switzerland as a full-service financial company for local and international customers. Today, the company has 18 community branches in Basel, a Swiss town of 250,000 people, and two branches in Zurich and Olten. As a local operating bank aiming for stability rather than growth, BKB depends on consistent daily routines internally to make the best use of its employees and externally to surpass customer expectations.
Records management is critical to both customers and employees in the banking business. With more than $14 billion in assets for 250,000 customers around the world, the banks files swell to track carefully an average of 50,000 transactions daily ranging from credit contracts to basic withdrawals. Yet, because of the complicated logistics BKB used to rely on to share its millions of paper records with a 700-person workforce spread throughout different locations, this effort was generating more hassle than help.
Paper-based processes confronted BKB employees with a daunting paper trail. To see anything in the archive, the old-fashioned workflow required an employee to submit a request for a specific document then wait for another employee to find it in an optical archive and finally e-mail it back. The process was time consuming and did not earn high satisfaction marks from employees and customers.
To streamline its workflow, the company realized it had to integrate modern big-business technology into its century-old commitment to small-business customer care.
Scanners Initiate Innovative Indexing and Retrieval System
BKB created an innovative records management system by linking high-speed production scanners to a 500-gigabyte NAS Hitachi storage system and Dell computers with a Windows 2000 operating environment and Fabasoft software customized by solutions provider Datagroup. After purchasing two Copiscan 8000 Plus black-and-white document scanners from Bwe Bell + Howell in 2003, BKB added a Copiscan 8000 Spectrum scanner in the last quarter of 2004. BKB uses the first two scanners for all documents (including identity cards, cash flow and transaction receipts) and designated the new machine for special government-certified materials.
Now, instead of manually filing original documents in a customer folder, BKB employees scan about 700 different kinds of bank documents. The high-tech system automatically mirrors and records each scanned page in two storage locations, which are connected through fiber-optic cables. Supporting two identical storage hubs in different locations provides backup protection from water and fire.
Today, when a customer requests an account history or has a question about a transaction, the new smooth access control concept allows any employee to access the record data by himself quickly and easily.
Scanners Empower Small but Mighty Department
Whereas a cumbersome physical archive made internal reviews very difficult before, now BKBs 11-person scanning department can conveniently run consistency checks. Bwe Bell + Howell scanners automatically pre-imprint each single-sided or duplex document with a traceable proof of scan. This enables staff to double-check that a document entered the system by looking at the original for an identity number.
Additionally, to ensure the integrity of each image and fulfill government compliance requirements, all documents are digitally signed. Since the government requires some bank documents to be on file for up to 30 years, the imprints provide added security and organization to stored originals. Indexing, too, is smoother because the document system can read barcodes on important papers like account contracts which communicate extended customer and document detail to the record system.
Eliminating the process of wading through paper files and depending on a graphic interface for document retrieval empowers employees and impresses customers. Original banking materials travel though an internal BKB mail system and arrive at the scanning department three times a day. Today, with leaner operations supported by a digital database, the staff can expediently search for scanned images of new documents (posted on the bank-wide system in 24 hours or less) or older correspondence and account records. Similarly, updated resources make carrying out customer requests, such as pickups of a years worth of post correspondence from the bank, less time-consuming.
Versatile Machines with Superior Document Handling
While employees now spend less time handling paper, one of BKBs requirements for its new equipment was dexterity handling a variety of documents. The company needed a scanning tool that could intuitively detect different paper sizes and thicknesses rather than a machine that demanded employees hover over it all day to input differing document types.
Equipped with Kofaxs VirtualReScan, BKBs Spectrum scanners adjust to accommodate diverse batches. BKB cash flow and transaction documents are not always standard DIN A or B5 sizes, so the current systems automatic adjustments to scan scraps of paper and envelopes boost reliability and efficiency. In addition to a range of sizes, Spectrums paper handling system feeds heavy contract and extra-thin transaction papers in the same batch while ultrasonic multi-feed detection speeds error resolution. BKB scans an average of 6,000 pages a day a mere 10 percent of Spectrums 60,000-page daily duty cycle with less manual sorting and increased staff productivity.
A Superior System Goes Beyond Saving Time and Money
Basler Kantonalbank found a good fit in its advanced document imaging system. A computerized database streamlined the banks indexing and retrieval, and boosted labor productivity, allowing the company to devote more energy and attention to customer service.
With reduced compartmentalization in its workflow, document access is the fastest its ever been in BKB history. The powerful indexing system is comfortable for employees to navigate and makes each customers banking history available in a single view. Additionally, the speed and ease of access greatly simplify internal revisions and consistency checks. Encouraged by modern digital resources, Basler Kantonalbanks records now show a perfect balance: superior convenience for the two communities the company cares about most its customers and its employees.