When you want the latest cooking and decorating ideas from Martha Stewart, you rush to your local bookstore to buy her newest book. If you're the publisher of the nation's most popular home decorating and entertainment guru, you want to get these books in the hands of readers as soon as they roll off the press. Book retailers such as Barnes & Noble want to be the first to offer best-selling titles on their store shelves and must have a cohesive distribution strategy to achieve this objective. LTA Group is the primary transportation company for Barnes & Noble, moving 95 percent of all books to its retail stores nationwide. The process of moving Barnes & Noble inventory to its local bookstores quickly entails managing volumes of paperwork. In conjunction with Kofax, LTA Group has leveraged technology to effectively manage the shipping process -- from receipt of product at its warehouses to final shipment to retailers.
The road from manufacturer to retailer can be rocky if there is no effective process to manage the hundreds of thousands of documents that accompany product shipments made via the U.S. highways each day. Despite today's highly electronic business world, the shipping process still involves a tremendous amount of paper documentation. LTA Group's most important business objective is to quickly process information contained in the paperwork that accompanies each shipment. By doing so, the company is able to move products quickly to customer retail locations and expedite customer invoicing.
LTA Group is a leading transportation company which provides store deliveries and related services to specialty retailers, such as Barnes & Noble, on a regional and national basis. Regionally, LTA Group operates out of three terminals in North Bergen and Jamesberg, N.J. and Wilmington, Mass. To improve the speed and efficiency of document processing, the company implemented Kofax Ascent Capture and Adrenaline technology.
"LTA's business objective is to provide customers with competitive service and transit times at the lowest cost," said Clarence Nixon, LTA Group's imaging supervisor. "The company has always embraced the latest technology to accurately track and manage documentation for all product deliveries to LTA warehouses and shipments to customers. With the new document imaging system integrated by Image Architects, LTA Group can now process between 3,000 to 6,000 pages a day versus 1,000 pages per day with the system's previous configuration. The Kofax document imaging technology that is central to the system enables LTA to process more than 100,000 customer cartons per day."
Three shipping documents are scanned and indexed at each of the company's three locations. Each facility manages inbound documents to track incoming product deliveries; outbound documents to track subsequent product shipments to customers; and proof of delivery documents ensuring customers have received their product. They also process claims documents submitted by customers.
Shipping documents are continually scanned and the system immediately releases data to the corporate network throughout the day. As a result, shipping documentation is available within minutes of scanning. Authorized employees can access documents through the corporate network from their individual desktop PCs at anytime and obtain the latest shipping information.
Each LTA Group location scans documentation and transfers the data via high-speed T1 private network lines to a central database located at its facility in Jamesberg N.J. The document imaging installations include high-speed scanners, servers running Windows NT and a variety of workstations. Bell & Howell 3338 and 2220 scanners as well as Fujitsu 3097D scanners are used and feature Kofax Adrenaline boards to boost speed and overall performance. IBM's Content Manager software is paired with Kofax Ascent Capture software to digitize and store paper documents in a central database, which enables LTA to manage and secure business-critical shipping documents electronically and access them via the corporate network.
As part of LTA's expanded use of Ascent Capture and Adrenaline technology, the company implemented barcodes to automatically index documents, which has enabled the company to process more documents and increase the accuracy of its processing. Prior to the use of barcode technology, LTA staff had to manually key index information into the system.
"The manual input of data created a bottleneck affecting LTA's ability to make information immediately accessible to employees throughout the company," said Peter Nirenberg, president of Image Architects, the systems integrator which implemented the document imaging solution for LTA Group. "The new system has boosted LTA's staff productivity and in turn the company's ability to move product more quickly, increasing overall corporate productivity."
Image Architects configured the document imaging system to enable LTA Group to take advantage of the other productive features of Kofax software and hardware. The integrator instituted partial batch release that accelerates the scanning process by allowing a batch to be released even if it contains errors. They also implemented multiple release to send processed information to two or more archives, databases or content management systems.
"By reconfiguring LTA's current hardware and making full use of the Kofax hardware and software technology, LTA can now scan 3,000 pages per day and merely spot-check one in 10 pages for inconsistencies," Nixon said. "This is a dramatic improvement from the system's prior configuration which only allowed the company to process 1,000 pages per day and required staff to manually review all 1,000 pages for errors.
LTA didn't have to scrap its original document management system; the company simply needed to configure it properly to achieve the technology's maximum potential.
"With a modest investment, LTA tripled the system's scanning capacity," Nirenberg said. "LTA simply needed the document imaging system professionally configured to take advantage of each product's full set of features to meet the company's exact business needs. Image Architects is now working with LTA to implement a similar system to capture and manage the company's human resource files."
Technology has paved the way for LTA Group to operate its shipping business more smoothly. Through the use of document imaging technology, the truckloads of paperwork LTA Group faces on a daily basis can be processed more quickly and efficiently, avoiding the bumps and curves in the road. Technology is truly serving LTA Group's goal to move product, not paper.Kofax Image Products