J.H. Fletcher & Co. has been building underground mining equipment since 1937. Throughout that whole time, the company’s focus has been on finding ways to improve mining processes and reduce risk for people who work in the mines.
Fletcher, which is based in Huntington, West Virginia, has approximately 153,901 square feet of manufacturing space and 28,000 square feet of office space. It is now the world’s largest manufacturer of production roof-bolting machines.
Mining for a New Document Management Solution
Fletcher has been managing electronic documents for a number of years, but its document imaging and storage software was out of date. The workstation and server-side components had not kept up with modern technologies.
This posed a serious challenge. Fletcher needed to add new scanning stations, but its scanning client software ran only on an out-of-date operating system. The problem was that none of the workstations on the market at the time supported the old operating system.
When it became obvious that the image storage software had to be replaced, Fletcher was determined to buy a solution that didn’t just meet current needs, but also future requirements—some of which likely wouldn’t even be evident at the time.
Streamlining Business Processes with Digital Document Management
Fletcher brought its document management solution up to date by switching to Webdocs from Fortra. Webdocs is a complete document management solution that helps organizations to streamline business processes and eliminate paper by digitally managing, storing and distributing key business content.
Webdocs can capture document images from a variety of sources, including IBM i spool files, PC files, emails and scanned images. The ability to associate up to 10 keys with each document and use full-text searches enables fast and easy document retrieval.
Fletcher uses Webdocs to store and manage back-office paperwork such as invoices and accounts payable documents. Webdocs is available in both IBM i- and Windows-based versions. Fletcher uses the iSeries version.
The company also uses iForms, Fortra electronic form and report generation software, in conjunction with Webdocs. The ability to easily generate reports, forms and other documents from applications on any platform was not an option with Fletchers’s old solution.
Now, warehouse staff can enter receiving information on an IBM i green screen and iForms takes that data, merges it into a form, and creates an electronic document that can be printed and attached to each shipping pallet. The resulting electronic files are saved in Webdocs.
iForms and Webdocs Help Fletcher Prepare for the Future
Fletcher now has a document management solution that is not just up-to-date with current technologies, but also future-ready thanks to the ongoing support and ongoing research and development of Fortra.
iForms’ support for the latest platforms has helped Fletcher to switch from line printers to laser printers, making it easier to improve productivity through the use of barcoding on forms and other documents.
Michael Smith, IT Director at Fletcher, also values the broad product line that Fortra offers to manage the entire information lifecycle—including providing the means to fulfill requirements that aren’t yet apparent.
“The breadth of Fortra product lines makes it a lot easier to have ‘light bulb’ ideas,” said Smith. “In the past, I’ve often read an article about xyz solution and I didn’t have a clue that I’d ever need xyz; but all of a sudden one day you’re having lunch with a co-worker and they say ‘we’ve got a new project and these are the things we need to do.’ And you say, ‘Hey, xyz would work great.’”
With the use of Webdocs, iForms, and other Fortra products, those “ah-ha” moments can actually become a reality for J.H. Fletcher, allowing for a more paperless environment from beginning to end.
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