Back On Track With Document Management


The Knoxville, Tenn.-based solution provider began as a company offering promotional products like calendars, mugs and backpacks with corporate logos. But when the company's vice president of sales, David Huan, saw that it could make money selling AIG Technology's document management products, a new division was born.

Now, Universal Forms and Systems sells both paper and promotional products and digital imaging solutions in addition to building Internet systems for its customers.

Having a diverse business practice has allowed Universal Forms and Systems to utilize its position as a provider of promotional products to open the doors to its existing customers looking for document imaging solutions—as was the case with Home Federal Bank, also based in Knoxville.

"They were buying a little bit of printing and promotional items like calendars from us. They were a pretty good customer, but I was looking for ways to sell them more product," said Lily Rayson, account executive at Universal Forms and Systems.

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A chance meeting with the bank's administrative services manager led Rayson to the employee in charge of buying 1099 government forms to report interest earnings to bank customers. At the time, the bank was paying tens of thousands of dollars to have the forms printed and addressed, but the service they were using had a problem. It couldn't print six-line addresses, and on several other forms the city, state and zip code were MIA.

Another problem, according to Marty Mills, assistant manager of computer operations at Home Federal Bank, was the bank was using forms that were not compatible with laser printers. The bank was using track printers, and the quality was poor.

Rayson proposed a solution from AIG Technology, Columbia, S.C., that included the Doc e Serve document management software product, laser printers and task-specific paper products. The Doc e Serve software sits on a single network-attached PC and allows users to generate forms and documents that can be outputted in any chosen fashion.

Universal pitched the solution to Home Federal Bank as a means of making processing its end-of-year tax forms an easier and less time-consuming job, and the bank decided to give the solution a try.

In addition to the document management software, Universal also sold Home Federal Bank its Pressure Seal laser-cut sheet mailing system. The machine folds printed documents and seals them with pressure-sensitive adhesive, cutting back on the bank's costs both on purchasing and stuffing envelopes.

So far, Home Federal Bank is satisfied with its decision to go with Universal's solution.

"With Universal's forms we were able to print on laser printers with laser quality paper and adjust the lining and the font. We now deliver better-looking forms than what we were delivering with our other software vendor," Mills said. "We had looked around at some other companies ... But for us, it was really competitive, and a lot had to do with not only year end forms, but we can move other forms from the bank over to [the software]."

Jobs that used to take bank employees more than half a day were taking 10 minutes now. The investment also was wise from the financial angle, showing a return on the bank's $30,000 investment within one year, he said.

Because the solution provider was able to provide something that worked, the company has a happy customer.

"It worked about as smoothly as anything that might happen. If every product they bought worked like it was represented, the way Doc e Serve has, they'd be a whole lot better off," Rayson said.

For Universal Forms and Systems, solving a customer problem with its document management offerings often leads to remedies for the other things that pain them. "One of the things we found on the Doc e Serve product is that a lot of clients will buy it for a specific problem. They then started trying to find ways and applications to use that software," said Universal Forms and Systems' Haun.

"Customers say, 'you've solved all of our data processing problems', and of course that's something great to hear. Unless we really mess up, we've got a lifetime customer because we've saved them so much money," he said.