Planting early for a great harvest

with the document management system from EASY

The paperless office at LEMKEN GmbH & Co KG

LEMKEN is a leading international specialist supplier in the sector for professional crop growing. Its range of products encompasses high performance and versatile technology for farmers: seed drills, plows, fertilizer spreaders and much more. In the areas of soil cultivation, sowing and crop protection, LEMKEN helps to feed the world. In 2019, the company achieved a total turnover of 380 million Euros and had more than 1,600 employees. When working on this scale – also in relation to the goods produced – an appropriately large mountain of invoices, receipts and other written communications accumulates in the background. As innovative solutions aren’t just a key part of the product range of LEMKEN, an efficient solution to this bureaucratic dilemma was sought at an early stage.

 

Although the “paperless office” is currently on everyone’s lips, as a vision, it has in fact been in existence for decades. At a time when many businesses in Germany are still working out their digitalization strategy, LEMKEN set the course for its future as long ago as 2007.

Before LEMKEN recognized this burgeoning megatrend, paper was everywhere to be seen on its desks and in its filing systems. Incoming documents and invoices built up in piles, with a few more centimeters being added each day. Things weren’t just confusing, they were also difficult to manage in terms of space. Every paper-based folder requires space, and at some point, even the most spacious archive bursts at the seams. Even documents that no longer need to be filed invariably consume the time and effort of the team members who are responsible for managing dozens of shelves full of paper.

 

Thanks to digital archiving, LEMKEN no longer needs to store paper-based files on site. Instead, the files are scanned just once, making them available in the system at any time.

Further project information

In a mountain of paper, the greatest challenge often starts with the search for suitable information. Minutes turn into hours, hours into days – although seconds would be enough with the right digital system. An efficient digital archive almost completely eliminates the problem of endless searching: specific keywords and key figures are recorded automatically during the scanning. The subsequent sorting according to these criteria ensures that the digital archive is both clear and orderly. Where filing work was previously part of daily work at LEMKEN, the staff can now use their valuable time more effectively.

Where there is no paper, there is no longer any need to send invoices by internal mail. Delivery notes, outgoing documents – in the old days, all of these documents had to be passed around and checked by several different people. With all this manual work, those who missed the daily dispatch times of the in-house mail service caused unintentional delays.

Paper-based processes of this kind invariably result in long idle times. The clerks have the invoices on their desk and have to check the ERP system first to see whether the invoice and the order match before the processes can continue. With digital document management, at LEMKEN, these processes run on a completely automatic basis for specific company codes.

As a general rule, most of the invoices correspond to their orders. They therefore require no further processing and are filed accordingly – without any human workload. In the event of discrepancies in the automatic matching process, the document management system (DMS) forwards the respective invoice directly to the responsible person for verification. During its work, the system differentiates between cost centers or different approved amounts per clerk, for example. LEMKEN can, among others, flexibly set the amount of money above which the system forwards a document to superiors for approval.

Thanks to intelligent automatic processes, avoidable idle times are almost completely a thing of the past. Processes that once took several days are now managed by LEMKEN in just half an hour. With more than 1,600 employees, this adds up to a huge time saving, every single day.

The workflows and DMS that LEMKEN uses to achieve this advancement have been provided by EASY SOFTWARE since 2007. It was then that the project was launched, with the archiving of all the paper-based documents first. After this important first step, the first workflows were then added. After only a short time, LEMKEN was able to manage and find all its documents far more easily.

LEMKEN now uses several different workflows. Many of these are outsourced to other systems – the EASY DMS which is used allows for flexibility of this kind with external solutions.

The most sophisticated workflow manages a complex assignment of incoming invoices: here, the system firstly differentiates between scanned invoices and completely digital invoices that have arrived by email, for example. Secondly, the system distinguishes between two different company codes, according to the criteria of which it checks the invoice.

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When I joined LEMKEN, the project with EASY was already running as successfully as it is today. I didn’t have a background in IT. Despite this, the consultants at Henrichsen4easy explained the technologies so well that I can now manage the project on my own.”

Monika Friedrich, Project Manager, LEMKEN

Incoming digital invoices are created by the system from the mailboxes before being saved in appropriate folders. Related documents are then extracted by a seamless connection to an external tool for managing the incoming invoices, where they are processed by invoice verification specialists. On their journey back to the DMS, the invoices are sent to the appropriate workflow, according to the company code.

Both the international invoices and invoices from certain subsidiaries are stored in this DMS. More than 760 users use the DMS at LEMKEN. The access and authorizations can be customized freely for each person. The employees in Germany, for example, have access to the DMS and workflows, but employees abroad can only access the archive.

Since the introduction of the digital archive and the DMS including the workflow, LEMKEN has been working on a more agile and effective basis. The clear structures reduce superfluous tasks and losses of time to the minimum. This results in greater clarity and less stress. This not only increases the productivity; it also reduces the likelihood of errors in manual processes.

Digitalized document management has been a fixture at the company for more than 13 years, and LEMKEN remains exceptionally satisfied with EASY. The duration of their partnership alone is an indicator of the success of the project.

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