York Saves With Content Management

Manufacturer embarks on consolidation after building new management system

January 19, 2006

3 Min Read
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Manufacturing firm York International Corp. based in York, Pa. has slashed time spent on administration and laid the foundation for a server consolidation push, thanks to a major overhaul of its content management system.

According to Tim Fives, York's manager of global content solutions, the company has saved cash and operating costs by replacing a mishmash of systems with a single document management system.

Case in point: It used to take 160 hours to process procurement forms, says Fives, a process which can now be done in as little as two hours. York has also cut the time spent setting up new employees for systems access. Whereas the old system took a full 30 days to process the necessary forms for new workers, the new system takes three to five days.

In addition to cutting task time, the evolution from multiple systems to a single Documentum system from EMC reduced the overall number of boxes dramatically. In the old days, York relied on a hodgepodge of technologies, which included 15 different systems for engineering forms alone, ranging from Xeroxs DocuShare to a slew of custom-built technologies.

Fives says there was little communication between its different forms systems. "Before, across the organization, we were using several different tools to accomplish business processes. None of these were integrated," he says.Unsurprisingly, this created a chaotic scenario. "It was a very paper-intensive process -- we suffered from people being out of the office and that type of thing," explains Fives. "Paperwork could get lost on peoples' desks."

In all, the new system has enabled the firm to get rid of half a dozen Wintel and Unix servers. Fives estimates that, in total, this has helped shave around $9,000 dollars off a year off York’s annual IT costs.

The Documentum system also does more with less. It controls roughly 30 different applications, including both SAP and Adobe. York’s WAN, which supports 22 manufacturing plants, several hundred sales offices, and 22,000 employees, plays a crucial role. “As long as you are connected to the WAN, you can approve documents," says Fives.

Now, for example, when an XML-based Adobe form is submitted, it is saved to the Documentum repository and its fields are automatically mapped to help route the information to the appropriate managers and departments.

York International looked at products from a number of vendors prior to deploying the Documentum document management system, including FileNet, Stellent and Microsoft. "Basically Documentum had the most global support of all the vendors and they had a proven integration with SAP," says Fives.York spent around $3.5 million on the Documentum system and around $50,000 on Adobe technology, according to Fives.

Like most businesses, York experiences ongoing data growth. "Document management data is growing by roughly one gigabyte a day," explains Fives. This currently accounts for around 750 Gbytes on York’s 5-Tbyte SAN, which relies on IBM Fibre Channel disk drives.

But Fives says he is looking to add tape to the document management mix by the second quarter of this year. “[Documentum] gives us the ability to delineate the file storage on a per document basis,” he says, adding that this could help York better allocate its media. In this way, for example, documents could be allocated to specific media based on their importance to the company, with tape used for offline storage.

Although the exec is pleased with his new Documentum system, he admits there is still room for improvement, particularly where product roadmaps are concerned. “It’s always difficult to get information out of them on where they are going,” he explains. “They need to do a better job on communicating [their plans] to customers.”

James Rogers, Senior Editor, Byte and SwitchOrganizations mentioned in this article:

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