Stories by Brian J Dooley

Pulp friction

As a directory service, Yellow Pages was knee deep in paper contracts. Every one of the entries in the massive volumes for Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch and other cities and regions had its own separate contract and paper trail. Each entry requires some discussion with the customer, and, if there are problems with any listing, details need to be confirmed and seen to immediately. With nearly 500,000 contracts per annum, held for three years or more, that’s a lot of paper to push around. As well, paper records require expensive storage space and are difficult to immediately locate and process. Even more important is the time spent in searching for documents when customers call to talk about their contracts. On a daily basis, the company receives more than 900 inbound enquiries from existing and new customers regarding the details of contracts. These calls are handled by 40 call centre staff that need to locate the related documents and refer to them.
Before 2005, Yellow Pages used offsite repositories of physical documents to handle its paper load. The process of storing and retrieving documents was cumbersome and did not yield the benefits of immediate electronic access. “We would record the details of each contract and then would box up the paper and send it off to a storage company,” says CFO Greg Hurn. “If a customer needed to see that contract we would have to contact the storage company, then someone would have to physically visit their storage facility to get the document. The whole process took three days. So, we needed to change things to achieve greater efficiency as well as reducing expense.”

Written by Brian J Dooley10 Aug. 08 22:00