Intranet gives Honeywell control over documents

When Joanne Disario was appointed to head the Printing and Services Center (PSC) at Honeywell’s Industrial Automation and Control (IAC) division in Phoenix, she was given a mandate: reduce the cost of doing business by reducing cycle time.

By investing in a Web-based document management system, the industrial giant was able to manage and print documents on demand rather than stockpiling its warehouse. In addition to speeding up the rate at which the company can operate, Honeywell employees now also have access to the latest and most accurate product information.

The PSC division of Honeywell is the internal repository that handles all of the IAC division’s documentation such as forms, engineering drawings, sales materials and technical manuals.

When Disario joined the PSC four years ago, it was housed in an 11,000 square-foot facility filled with paper documents. The cycle time — or the amount of time between a document request and when the document is actually received — was about four weeks. Information was distributed only on paper, and the department did all of its work by hand.

Disario gradually automated the system, creating an electronic filing system for about 700 documents. Today the distribution centre houses printing devices, the order fulfillment centre, and the outgoing packaging and mailing centre — all in about 3,500 square feet.

Although the electronic filing system reduced the amount of space required, it was still cumbersome. Disario had been investigating other document management systems when the maker of some of her other printing equipment, Xerox Corp., told her about its document management system.

The PSC chose Xerox’s Docushare document management system, creating a corporate intranet to let any internal user access any repository document or request copies of materials for distribution to external customers.

The system took less than one day to install, and converting the 700 existing electronic documents to the system took about one week using a batch system.

“The files are very easily accessible, set up in different categories, with search capabilities available,” Disario said. “It’s been such a success because of the easy access to information.”

There are now more than 4,000 documents in the PSC repository, and Disario expects that to grow eight to ten times in the next year.

The system has enabled Disario’s PSC to reduce the cycle time for distributing paper documents from four weeks to two days. “If we have to distribute [a document], it’s pulled down, printed, packaged and shipped. There isn’t a warehouse,” Disario said.

And the internal customers — the Honeywell employees — can also get them immediately. Users connect to an intranet, find the document they want, and print it themselves.

Documents arrive at PSC in a number of ways, including electronically on FTP sites, in Lotus Notes databases and on paper.

“Now the sales staff has easy access to the most recent information right at their fingertips,” Disario said. “It lets them do accurate and timely proposal preparation. Previously they had to fax in or physically gather the information.”