T&D World Magazine

German Energy Provider Installs Information Capture System

Dicom Group plc (United Kingdom) announced the successful results of an installation of its Kofax Ascent platform and VirtualReScan (VRS) technology at E.ON Westfalen Weser AG (Paderborn, Germany). The overall solution for E.ON Westfalen Weser optimizes the processing of a quarter million documents that arrive in the mail, including customer letters and invoices, helping the energy provider improve customer satisfaction and reduce operating costs.

A member of the E.ON Group, E.ON Westfalen Weser AG is one of Germany's top 10 utilities, supplying some 740,000 customers with electricity, natural gas, and water. The Ascent platform and VRS were installed as part of an information capture system designed to speed the processing of more than 800 customer letters and 400 invoices that E.ON Westfalen Weser employees handle daily.

"The success of our products in meeting E.ON's need to process a high volume of incoming customer letters and invoices quickly and accurately is one example of how companies around the world are leveraging information capture to enable more efficient business-critical processes," said Rob Klatell, chief executive officer, Dicom Group. "Through our technology, large organizations -- especially those such as utilities that are paper intensive -- are able to streamline their business processes, increase operational efficiencies, and heighten their level of customer satisfaction."

Prior to the installation of the information capture system, no automated classification and distribution of customer letters existed at E.ON Westfalen Weser. Manual processing techniques were slow and ineffective, often taking days before a letter would reach the appropriate administrator. With the new information capture system, it now takes only hours before a customer's letter is delivered to the right person for processing.

"The information capture solution has been a tremendous success, as the system has easily paid for itself within 18 months," said Klaus Starke, the customer service manager at E.ON Westfalen Weser. "In addition, we have eliminated duplicate distribution of customer letters and can now guarantee the delivery of letters to an administrator's desk within just four hours."

In the accounts payable department at E.ON Westfalen Weser, invoice data was being manually entered into an Enterprise Resource Planning system (ERP), resulting in a high rate of errors. E.ON implemented Ascent for Invoices and VRS technology to reduce the amount of work done manually, speeding the process of paying invoices and ultimately saving them money. Ascent for Invoices extracts invoice data and delivers it to the ERP system. VRS enables high accuracy in data captured from scanned documents, significantly reducing the need to manually correct the results of intelligent character recognition (ICR) and optical character recognition (OCR).

"The combination of Ascent for Invoices and VRS was an ideal fit for us to dramatically improve our invoicing process," said Guenter Neumann, financial systems manager at E.ON Westfalen Weser. "Now, the manual keying process is gone because the technology automatically captures vital invoice data regardless of where it appears on the document, and the data-validation process is much easier because there is lower probability of human error during the inputting of data."

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