TON, Inc., a proudly independent Czech company, has been producing Bentwood furniture since 1953, and preserves the same quality craftsmanship that furniture innovator Michael Thonet originated in 1861. TON’s products are the winners of various awards, including Good Design, Red Dot Design Award and Czech Grand Design. Meeting global demand is achieved by its own sales network as well as remote employees. The company needed ever-greater agility, while facing an expansion of email traffic and the challenge of inefficient paper-based legacy systems that had proved a significant issue for invoice processing. With Konica Minolta as a strong partner, TON implemented a digitised workflow and document management solution. This way, TON was able to slash document handling times throughout the company, with all information in one place, and quickly and easily retrievable.
The company’s existing document management practices were slowing down TON’s core processes and overall development. It lacked a common storage portal for invoices, product information and documentation. Data was recorded in different directories and across multiple systems — preventing remote access to information such as relevant invoices, contracts and products. Invoices were often lost in the shuffle between departments or stalled altogether when authorised approvers were working out of the office.
TON was looking for an opportunity to centrally store documents such as business contracts or orders. The lack of such storage made it very challenging and time consuming to get an overview of the ongoing status of any active contract and submit it to the auditor in a relevant way. In accounting, the lack of remote access had in the past created serious issues: “We had a major problem when an employee was out of the office for several days and couldn’t approve or check a particular document and we were unable to enter it in the books,” recalled TON’s Sales Director, Robert Valentík. “Consequently, the management did not have timely information about projects, about activities within the company, about the company’s results.”
Seeking a way to increase process efficiency, generate savings and provide its employees with access to vital information anytime, anywhere, TON enlisted the help of Konica Minolta, which was selected from a shortlist of ten suppliers. Choosing Konica Minolta as the trusted supplier of choice, TON decided to implement a solution that combined Microsoft SharePoint as a storage document platform with K2 blackpearl, a software platform to build and run business process applications. This combination provided exactly the robust forms, integration and reporting services that TON required.
“The final selection of supplier was decided based on references,” said Robert Valentík. “We visited several customers of Konica Minolta, who showed us K2 blackpearl in practice. We actually confirmed our selection in this way.”
At the outset of the project, consultants from Konica Minolta engaged strongly with the team at TON to undertake a thor-ough analysis their specific needs and requirements. For Robert Valentík, step was crucial: “With hindsight, I consider the implementation analysis to be of great importance, which, thanks to its thorough preparation, meant that we kept to the project budget and project deadline, which is unusual for such large projects.”
When choosing the solution alongside Konica Minolta it was essential for TON that the environment was user-friendly, and that the inhouse IT department would be able to make their own forms and be able to set up processes in K2 blackpearl. The ease of doing so proved key to the decision to select the solution, which was demonstrated during the implementation and as TON’s employees took to the new processes.
TON’s IT specialists now work in the K2 environment, where they test processes, forms and other, smaller initiatives. The process of training team members to do so had proven straightforward, with Sales Director Robert Valentík observing that working with Konica Minolta to build skills took place in “a friendly environment and at an easy rhythm”, with two TON employees learning to model new processes and provide new support solutions for the system in around three months.
The IT department is excited to implement other, department-led initiatives – and the team is able to make minor adjustments to the system themselves thanks to the K2 platform. More complex requirements are solved by Konica Minolta’s experienced team of consultants.
A key advantage of the K2 and SharePoint solution implemented by Konica Minolta is its ease of access for employees, company-wide. The new system features a modern, user-friendly intranet that is accessible via a regular web browser. As well as bringing everything together in one place, the solution mitigates the need to install dedicated software on users’ workstations, thus removing the costs of maintenance and installation. IT helpdesk management and invoice processing are now fully automated.
K2 blackpearl has also demonstrated its value through its fusion of accessibility and ease of use – which is epitomised by the K2 mobile app. “When I see that the managing director can approve invoices received on his mobile phone when on business trips abroad, it confirms to me that we made the right decision,” observed Robert Valentík. By cutting out the burden of searching for paper documents, TON has achieved an estimated daily time saving per employee of fifteen minutes.
“Work with digitised documents is considerably more convenient and data can be transferred to other information systems,” commented Robert Valentík. “I think the K2 blackpearl solution on the Microsoft SharePoint platform would be beneficial to any company that wants to optimise processes and simplify administration.”
This solution is beneficial to any company that wants to optimise processes and simplify administration. Work with digitised documents is considerably more convenient and data can be transferred to other information systems.
Yet, an even greater benefit of the system is that we reduced the flow of documents through the system from fifteen days to only three, which is very positive.”
Sales Director, TON a.s.