Al Angelo uses document management to eliminate paper and accelerate customer service
Rapidly growing volume of property documents, including applications, leases, and rental agreements, that were often misfiled, sometimes took hours to retrieve, and cost a lot of money to store off-site.
Scanning paper to electronic repositories that make for fast search and retrieval, reducing the time it takes to find documents from hours to minutes and eliminating the need for costly off-site storage.
The Al Angelo Company owns and manages over 3,000 apartment units and close to 600,000 square feet of commercial office space. From its home base in Vancouver, Washington, the company currently owns and manages properties in 18 cities throughout Washington, Oregon, Idaho, and Arizona.
Too much paper
It all started with a small internal office move within a building. "After a few hours of moving, the owner was astonished by the amount of paperwork floating around the office," said IT Director Tom Horn. "A new employee brought to the President's attention that they have systems to scan and store these documents."
At the same time, Al Angelo was rapidly filling its off-site document storage space. The search for a solution had begun, all as a result of moving just six employees.
A persuasive solution
Horn had heard about Document Locator and obtained an evaluation copy. After setting up a test server and installing the product, Horn went through a demo with some users. “I was prepared to purchase Document Locator about halfway through the demo,” he said. “The users were getting excited because they saw its potential instantly.”
Horn’s next step was to meet with ColumbiaSoft engineers to understand the full scope of Document Locator’s possible uses before his initial presentation to the corporate partners. “It wasn’t a minor undertaking, but it has paid off.”
The Result: streamlined property management
Handling thousands of property units produces a substantial amount of paperwork, including applications, leases, and rental agreements. Horn recalled, “In the past we have had papers misfiled that took four hours to find. I am sure that we can find any papers we need now in a matter of minutes.” In addition, Al Angelo saves a lot of time on daily tasks. The routine of walking to a filing cabinet, searching for the needed papers and then faxing them to the client can now be quickly completed at the computer.
As with many companies, storing paper records required too much time and space at Al Angelo. To deal with this, the company is in the process of scanning old paper files to eliminate both on-site and off-site storage space. It is in the process of eliminating the need for eight on-site filing cabinets and has reduced its off-site storage space by one third, with the plan to completely eliminate the need for off-site storage.
The Future: seamless account management
Document Locator has increased Al Angelo’s productivity so much that it is expanding its workforce and adding applications. Currently, Horn is working on connecting the accounting department to Document Locator. “I hope to pull certain information off of papers, via an ODBC connector, to import invoices directly into our accounting system. Soon our operations will be seamless.”