Training went rather smoothly. "The software is pretty intuitive," Pugh says. "Both myself and our office manager picked it up pretty quickly. Actually, the other managers who have access to it also caught on pretty quick."
Pugh opted for a five-user license. Three are "static"—Pugh, the office manager (Kaye Redus) and the customer service representative (Jennifer Houston) are constantly using the system. Two additional licenses are then classified as "concurrent"—meaning no more than two people can be using the system at a given time. Pugh says this enables other key managers to jump on and off the system periodically if they need to check on something.
How they are saving money
Now more than a year into their paperless transformation, Pugh says the company is saving money in several ways.
They've quit printing tons of paper, saving thousands of dollars on paper and printer ink.
They've been able to convert that unproductive storage room into a productive office, saving the company more than $700 per year in square footage.
The customer service representative—who previously spent a significant amount of her time searching for paper files tucked away in cabinets and three-ring binders—now has more time to do what she was actually hired to do. "Being proactive in performing outstanding customer service is so important right now," Pugh reminds. "It's great to have someone above and beyond the account manager or foreman that's checking in with the client. Now our CSR has time to do that."
Pugh's is now emailing invoices to roughly 80% of their customer base. This is saving at least $10,000 in printing costs and postage.
More efficient logistics is another way the company is saving, though it's difficult to put a dollar amount on it. "The CNG SAFE software has a module that interfaces with Microsoft Outlook," Pugh relates. "When you email an invoice to a client (as a PDF), CNG SAFE automatically saves a copy in that client's file on the server. So now we have one repository—an electronic filing cabinet on our server—which only authorized people can access. We no longer have a situation where certain information is stored on the server while other information is on a manager's laptop, for example. Our goal is to store everything related to a given customer in that given customer's file on our server."
Michael Pugh says his company's paperless transformation is constantly evolving. "This software can do so much. One thing I wish I would've done differently is attend a CNG SAFE user's conference right away. I didn't get to one for nearly a year. The earlier in the process you can attend one, the better off you'll be."
In that first year, though, Pugh and his team came to appreciate two features of the software in particular.
Workflow Management. When a document is scanned, you can create a rule for it. For example, you could have that document automatically emailed to certain people.
QuickBooks Integration. This comes in especially handy with vendor invoices. When an invoice is scanned, there are some fields you enter the essential data into. That data then flows directly into QuickBooks. "We now have some of our suppliers, such as John Deere Landscapes, that are emailing us our invoices so we don't even have to go to the trouble of scanning anything," Pugh says.