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North County Transit District- Moving Forward with Laserfiche

September 17, 2015 in Customer Spotlights |
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North County Transit District (NCTD) provides vital services for San Diego’s regional transportation network. NCTD moves more than 12 million passengers annually by providing public transportation for North San Diego County. Transit services managed by the District include: Coaster (commuter rail service), Sprinter (light rail), Breeze (bus system), Flex (rural and on-demand service), and Lift (paratransit).

NCTD was seeking to improve its overall business processes and efficiencies. One of the areas identified for improvement involved the creation, storage, and retention of business documents. NCTD had no official document management system to support this goal. When documents were received or created by NCTD staff, they were stored on a network drive. This made the ability to track, maintain, and locate documents extremely difficult.

In 2012 NCTD conducted a competitive procurement process through the issuance of a Request for Proposal. The District received many proposals and after careful review of each product presented, chose Laserfiche as the software solution offering the best overall value to NCTD and provided through ECS Imaging.

In July of 2013, ECS Imaging began the installation of their Laserfiche Rio system that included over 120 User licenses, Forms, Workflow, Quick fields, Import Agent, WebAccess, Weblink, and Audit Trail. The current system maintains and uses 10 separate repositories. Eight are secured and two, the Records repository and the Shared repository, are for use by general staff. The Records repository stores only official records. The Shared repository has been set aside for employee working files and reference material. This repository allows staff to collaborate on documents and projects without having to email and save multiple copies. The Shared repository also uses several workflows that ECS created to streamline review and approval processes.

Here is a brief description of the workflows ECS created for NCTD:

The Universal Funding Request begins as an electronic form that once completed is then submitted to a department head for review. If approved, it goes to the CFO for additional approval. Whether it’s approved or denied at any level, the request is stored in Laserfiche and triggers a workflow of the same name. This workflow identifies the form and its supporting documents, moves the documents to their proper storage location (folder), and then notifies the proper person based on whether it was approved or denied.

The Engineering Project Review is actually two workflows in one. The first will take the documents and either move them into the existing project folder for them, or create a new project folder if it’s a new project. It also syncs up the metadata for all documents. The second creates a 3-week deadline date and then sends notifications to the responsible departments to review. If review doesn’t take place within a certain amount of time, triggers will send out additional email notifications.

Staff Reports require a considerable amount of planning and collaboration. ECS was tasked with creating a workflow that will email approvers and any reviewers that the approver chooses. The workflow includes email reminders that go out 2 days after the initial email. This process goes through 9 stages of approval before being finalized. Each of these steps has the ability to kick back to any other stage. The approval history field will keep track of who approved the document and at what time. At the end of the process, Workflow migrates the document into their more heavily secured read-only repository for archival.

NCTD had a process to route Incoming Correspondence to all recipients. They needed the ability to automatically assign a retention date and route to the intended recipients. In addition to these functions, the workflow also allows for the original recipient to route to other users within the organization. After it has been determined that this is a final record, workflow will move the document from the working repository to the archival repository that is read-only.

Additionally, NCTD used a workflow to mass rename documents and folders. They also run an automated OCR process nightly to ensure text searches are accurate.

Laserfiche has significantly changed the way NCTD does business. It has streamlined many business processes specifically in the way correspondence, submittals, and board documents are reviewed and approved. The creation of these workflows enables the District staff to handle official business documents seamlessly and with proper tracking. Automated business processes have made the entire process more cost-efficient, streamlined, error-proof and accessible to all staff. Laserfiche has revolutionized staff’s ability to search and retrieve important files. It has also improved staff’s ability to collaborate on a variety of documents, removing the need to email drafts and revisions back and forth and the need to retain multiple copies of the same document.

NCTD has been able to improve the following business processes with Laserfiche:
• Incoming and outgoing correspondence review and approval
• Staff report review and approval
• IT On-boarding process
• Submittal review process
• Staff collaboration
• Document storage, retrieval , accessibility, and sharing
• Records management
• Policy/Procedure review and approval process
• Procurement forms

One of the key factors to extending Laserfiche into others departments was frequent internal training sessions, as well as communicating how Laserfiche could solve document control issues and streamline business process specific to each department. NCTD Document Control Coordinator hosts several small training and informational workshops that focus on Laserfiche skills such as search and retrieval, document storage, and tips and tricks.

In the near future, NCTD expects to complete the transfer of all needed content from their network drive into Laserfiche, have 100% of their staff trained and fully using the program, and establish the integration of online forms into their business processes.

The District’s long term goals include integrating other programs with Laserfiche (i.e. JD Edwards), creating a public facing portal for public records request, building more efficient business processes that utilize workflows, and creating an environment where Laserfiche is the primary resource for document storage and retrieval.

Sonya Finley, Document Control Coordinator at NCTD, recommends “utilizing all tools available within the program to ensure the creation of a successful document management program”. She also stated that ECS has extremely helpful staff members who have been very responsive to the District’s needs. “ECS staff is always there when I need them”, she said.

Sonya Finley, Document Control Coordinator, contributed to this story

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