In November 1997, Computer Sciences Corporation began suggesting ways to improve benefits administration for General Dynamics. Tim Buege, CSC Facilities Manager, estimated that the removal of the file cabinets would free 1100 square feet of badly needed floor space. Nancy Mumford, who supervises a group of 20 Human Resources specialists wanted to see paper eliminated as much as possible, and needed easier access to documents to speed up the communication of benefits information.
In March 1998, General Dynamics purchased the hardware and software necessary to create a document management system that would allow the PPS department to view retirement, beneficiary, medical and payment data online. The new optical technology not only protected the documents, but also enhanced security. Files were made available electronically on the desktops of 25 employees, including the corporate Human Resources department in Falls Church, VA, thus dramatically improving workflow. The next important step was to create a backfile conversion of these documents to complete the entire imaging solution.
Simmi Baum, CSC Project Manager, selected Altris software for viewing the converted documents and IKON to perform the backfile conversion. Baum and Geoff Tischman, IKON's Project Manager, worked with a team of people to create the backfile conversion for General Dynamics.
The next steps included analyzing the work, evaluating the resource requirements and technology selections, defining the timeline, and establishing the expectations of the project. All of these were accomplished through the development of a Conversion Services Plan (CSP) developed exclusively for General Dynamics. IKON selected and trained a crew of 25 people to remove documents from folders, categorize them by type, remove staples, apply bar code index labels, and perform quality control checks, as outlined by CSC and General Dynamics. This was a labor intensive process and required IKON's conversion and project management expertise to assure accessibility, while mitigating the risk of misplaced documents during the conversion. One Kodak 923 scanner was used with two scanning shifts over a 16-week period. After the folders were optically scanned, they were sent to IKON's Walnut Creek, CA facility where the images, their indices, and other metadata were written to CDs. After the backfile conversion was complete, Jim Lindsey, the CSC technical lead, used the Altris software to load the CDs onto a Windows NT client/server database. Lindsey also crafted the technical system solution utilizing a combination of Optical and RAID storage.
CSC's Mumford said, "We selected IKON because of the sense of security they provided based on their years of experience. Their technical expertise was easily demonstrated by the lack of any serious problems during the entire conversion process." She also explained, "no company should undertake this type of project without professional help. New procedures, auditors and day-forward issues were also part of the process, and IKON was there to help us every step of the way.
Before the project began Ken Hill of General Dynamics laid out a challenge: "According to recent studies, the cost to retrieve, handle, and refile a single paper document is on the rise. We are expecting a big productivity improvement when the new system is fully installed." According to Mumford, "workflow and response time has already started to increase. The CDs are still being loaded, and no problems have occurred. The images are extremely clear."