Convenience Store Chain Speeds Internal Business Processes with Knowledgelake Solution
E-Z Mart is a convenience store chain serving the south-central United States. When paper documents began slowing down essential business operations, the company turned to a KnowledgeLake solution. Using KnowledgeLake products with its Microsoft SharePoint intranet, the company has saved thousands of hours in staff time by streamlining core processes such as weekly payroll reporting, human resources tasks, and routine financial activities such as digitizing daily cash receipts.
E-Z Mart is one of the largest convenience store chains in the United States. It is headquartered in Texarkana, Texas, and operates more than 300 outlets in the south-central part of the country.
E-Z Mart is one of the largest privately held convenience store chains in the nation, with more than 300 outlets located across Texas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Arkansas, and Missouri. The company, which has more than 2,000 employees, provides customers with food, sundries, and gasoline.
E-Z Mart has experienced rapid growth over the years. This was good for the company but created strains on internal business processes, with an explosion of paper documents creating obstacles for basic business activities.
“Document storage and retrieval were two big issues facing our growing company,” says Jeff Judkins, Systems Administrator for E-Z Mart. “We have external storage facilities, but the environmental conditions were very difficult, with tremendous heat in the summer, cold in the winter, and the always-present risk of water and humidity damaging documents. It made document storage and retrieval challenging—and often times impossible. Yet document retrieval is imperative when facing the legal issues that impact our industry.”
"We have all 2,000-plus employee files archived in the KnowledgeLake system. This has eliminated the need for manual filing and physical storage space, and the retrieval of any employee document is right at our finger tips because of the fast retrieval of information that’s now possible on the intranet."
-Jeff Judkins, Systems Administrator
Continuing with physical storage and ever- growing amounts of paper files was no longer a viable option for the company’s growth. Physically storing files was time- consuming and expensive. In just one example, E-Z Mart collects and processes payroll information every week for its employees—a major undertaking that consumed about 18 hours weekly of staff time and approximately $25,000 annually to ship documents to corporate headquarters. There were also costs associated with manually processing printing paper forms. Judkins says the company’s executives felt they had to find a better solution.
“While one goal was to save money on storage, the larger objectives became finding a way to store documents uniformly, providing greater security for corporate information, and creating a retrieval process that would make documents much more accessible to employees,” Judkins says.
After evaluating a number of enterprise content management solutions, E-Z Mart decided to implement KnowledgeLake software in conjunction with its Microsoft SharePoint intranet. The company deployed KnowledgeLake Capture, which is used with a Fujitsu fi-6140 scanner and several Canon multi-function devices for scanning documents. E-Z Mart also deployed KnowledgeLake Connect, which is used for uploading common office documents, including Microsoft Word and Excel files, directly into SharePoint.
The company developed a workflow that streamlines management of core documents. Physical documents are scanned and then loaded into a network directory. From there, the digital documents are sent to KnowledgeLake Capture Server for batch processing. E-Z Mart employees apply metadata to the documents before releasing them into SharePoint. Personnel within specific departments are responsible for indexing their own documents.
A similar process occurs with routine daily and monthly reports, except that metadata is automatically applied from pre-defined settings; users only interact with these documents when retrieving them from SharePoint to view information. The company’s initial use of the ECM workflows involves scanning only at corporate headquarters, but that is expected to change. “We have plans to implement network-capable scanners at the individual stores,” says Judkins. “That will put some of the responsibility for daily processes on the local-store employees so our corporate personnel can turn their attention to other tasks.”
The deployment of the KnowledgeLake software is helping E-Z Mart with time and cost savings, delivering through a dramatic reduction in paper use and more streamlined processes throughout the enterprise.
Ready to find out how KnowledgeLake can work for you?
Request to speak with KnowledgeLake today.