Wal-Mart Mexico operates 459 supermarkets, department stores, and restaurants in 26 of the country's 32 states. Servicios Administrativos Wal-Mart S de R.L. de C.V. manages all documents — including proofs of delivery, bills of lading, and forms regarding pick up and delivery of merchandise from suppliers — generated throughout the retail network, providing archival microfilming, retrieval, distribution, and preservation services.
The department had three major objectives:
- Reduce the cost of storing documents.
- Find an alternative to the antiquated, paper-based archival method.
- Increase efficiency by centralizing the document management process.
In addition, Servicios Administrativos had to communicate the benefits of microfilm technology to end users, and assure top management that document quality and integrity would be maintained for 10 years as required by the government of Mexico, according to Enrique Sotomayor, general manager, Microfilm and Archives Department.
Servicios Administrativos Wal-Mart Mexico asked several vendors to submit proposals. After being reviewed by multiple departments — document generation, fiscal, legal, and archives — Sistemas e Imagenes de Mexico's response providing a suite of Kodak products and services was accepted. This was based on three attributes: the highest quality of products, services, and technical support.
For this installation, the following Kodak Equipment was installed:
Five IMAGELINK Digital Workstation 2200 units
Three Prostar II Archive Processors
Seven XT1000RP units
Two IMAGELINK Microimager 30 units
Kodak provided all the tools and services needed during and after installation, such as ongoing micrographics training for operations personnel to help them stay up to date with technology changes and updates. The implementation of the Kodak IMAGE GUARD Quality Assurance Program is a key differentiator from other vendors and manufacturers. It certifies that Wal-Mart's processing laboratory meets all internal and external quality requirements — including document authenticity, microfilm legibility, and long-term archival properties — on a monthly basis. The IMAGE GUARD Quality Assurance Program is also the only one of its kind in Latin America to offer disaster recovery services — in case of fire, theft, flood, or any other natural disaster — to end users.
The Kodak suite has created numerous efficiencies at Wal-Mart Mexico, speeding and streamlining the document imaging operations through equipment functionality as well as rapid technical support response. Approximately 150,000 documents, consuming 60 rolls of Kodak IMAGELINK HQ 16x100, are processed daily. Wal-Mart has improved efficiency by 80 percent since the adoption of microfilm as the primary method of document management, according to David Munive, microfilm department manager.
A second unanticipated result has been a heightened peace of mind among Servicios Administrativos employees. They're now aware that if any equipment, services, film, or processing relating to everyday operation becomes an issue, Kodak will provide extremely quick troubleshooting, preventing any impact on the operations as a whole.
Although specific cost-savings figures are not readily available, significant savings have been accomplished by reduced expenditures in document retrieval, storage, and distribution. This has been primarily accomplished by reducing the number of people previously needed to perform these tasks using the older, slower paper-based method.
Because of the IMAGE GUARD Quality Assurance Program, Wal-Mart Mexico has been granted permission to destroy original documents just 24 months after they've been microfilmed. Servicios Administrativos Wal-Mart has also been certified as a Kodak Reliable Image Lab, the first such facility to receive this designation in Mexico. The group is using this "seal of approval" to encourage departments throughout the Wal-Mart Mexico organization to adopt microfilm as the archival medium of choice.