Process Improvement Blog


Looking for ways for your organization to increase productivity and trim budgets? You’ve come to the right place.

DocuPhase’s “Business Process Automation” blog will provide valuable insight into how your company can benefit from implementing document management and workflow automation into existing processes.

How to Keep Audit Fees at a Minimum and Increase Record Compliance

November 11, 2015

There's a big scary word in the accounting world, that usually results in allocating resources and lost time - audit.

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Creating an AP Automation Process That Your Controller and Auditors Will Love

July 22, 2015

Controllers come in all shapes and sizes. One may be responsible for leading various accounting managers and their own reports in the direction set by the CFO. Other controllers may themselves be the accounting department and report to the president or owner above them. Regardless of the company they keep, controllers are a company’s financial front line and the responsibility to keep the...

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How Banks Can Embrace Technology to Enhance the Customer Experience

June 18, 2015

Service with a smile, hot coffee and the occasional lollipop for the kiddos was once considered the height of creating a good customer experience in the banking industry. The banking process itself—the lines, the forms, the back-and-forth of showing ID and signing names was accepted as sometimes arduous but necessary. Technology, however, has impacted the ease and speed at which business is...

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Improving Insurance Customer Retention With Document Management

May 29, 2015

Twenty years ago, customer retention strategies in the insurance business included doing fairly simple things like sending holiday cards or tucking a customer survey into an invoice. Fast forward five years and you were ahead of the game if you used email to make these same connections (bonus if you could personalize these engagements in any way). Today, improving customer loyalty and market...

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Improving the Accuracy and Efficiency of Loan Documents

May 20, 2015

One look at a post from CNN Money’s "500-page mortgage applications are the new normal" is a reminder that things aren’t how they used to be in the mortgage industry. Sure, there was always a lot of paperwork, but 500 pages? Even loans requiring considerably less paperwork still rely on the efforts of multiple people successfully completing multiple processes for a loan to be closed. Every...

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4 Ways That Workflow Automation Saves Financial Firms Time and Money

May 19, 2015

No one has an eye on money more than those in the financial industry, regardless of whether they are an executive or someone who plays a supporting role.  Watch insurance rates flip direction or the Dow drop ten points, and the industry is suddenly abuzz with adjustment.

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6 Steps for Lenders to Simplify and Speed Up the Mortgage Approval Process

April 23, 2015

Everyone involved in the purchase of a home knows that seeing a mortgage loan through to the finish line feels more like a marathon than a sprint. The sheer number of individuals and institutions that participate in the process makes it very complicated and time-consuming. But with today’s technology, it doesn’t have to be that way. Here are 6 steps lenders can take to simplify and speed up...

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Reducing Paper Statements Can Save Banks a Bundle Annually

April 16, 2015

Of all the benefits that digital technology can offer, an uncluttered lifestyle is topping the list. Instead of amassing record collections or stacks of CDs, we download hundred-song playlists to a pocket-sized digital device. Roomfuls of patient records, student data - entire libraries in fact, can now be accessed quickly and securely, in just a few clicks. Not only is digital information...

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Process Improvement Methodology for Every Bank

February 26, 2015

We've talked a lot about process improvement on our blog, and it can sometimes be tricky to work these strategies into a particular industry.

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Removing Paper and Busy-Work from the Banking Industry

February 13, 2015

If you work in the financial industry, whether it's mortgage banking and lending, commercial banking, or hedge funds and other high interest opportunities, you have without fail experienced the pains of overwhelming amounts of paper and poorly maintained processes - employees burdened by busy-work, inefficient processes, and lost documents.

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Productivity Problem Solved

April 27, 2014

The Toronto Globe and Mail covered the BCG report on global manufacturing competitiveness, bemoaning the fact that Canadian manufacturing is lagging, especially behind its North American neighbors. The big issue, they point out, is productivity. Canadian productivity measures are just as screwed up as American measurements with the economists not knowing the difference between productivity and...

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You Can't Improve If You Think You Are Perfect

April 08, 2014

Let’s suppose I am a bit of an amateur mechanic and I like to take care of my own car repairs to the extent that I can. Now let’s suppose the water pump on my Buick goes out on a sunny Spring Saturday morning. (Yes, I own a GM product. As much as I admire the manufacturing and business models at Toyota, Honda and especially Subaru, and as much GM bashing as I do in the blog, I unapologetically...

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A brief rant about the ABC's

February 26, 2014

Apparently the folks writing about stratifying inventory into A, B and C items and building calculations of such into ERP packages didn’t get the lean memo.

Wikipedia is typical of such thinkers when they describe the ABC thought process as:

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Turning Latent Defects into a Profit Center

February 14, 2014

The recent news that car reliability has regressed for the first time in years really brings into focus the problems having no real sense of value adding versus non-value adding (waste) creates. The rate and magnitude of silly, often destructive decisions that flow from not knowing the difference is turbo-charged when compounded by the absurd reliance on standard costs.

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Avoiding Scattershot Management

February 10, 2014

In Toyota Kata Mike Rother wrote, “When we hunt for wastes or opportunities to improve and make a list of action items, we are focusing on the question, ‘What can we do to improve?’ That question is actually too easy, and it automatically leads us to lists and a scattershot approach. The more focused question is, ‘What do we need to do to improve this process?’ Admittedly, this is a more...

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Lean thinkers versus master manipulators

February 10, 2014

The CFO Journal section of the Wall Street Journal rather smugly reports that big companies close their books at the end of the month in part because “Bigger companies tend to attract the best talent when it comes to financial executives. The time taken to close the books is an excellent tell about the people in charge.” In fact, the speed with which bigger companies close their books is most...

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Lean Accounting - Just another vehicle for managing by the numbers?

February 04, 2014

A good and wise friend recently asked me, “Isn’t lean accounting an attempt to change the numbers, but still just a destructive vehicle enabling managing by the numbers?

The quick answer is, “Yes”, that is exactly what it is; albeit a less destructive way of managing because it provides better numbers.

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The Obvious Perils of Ignorance

January 09, 2014

Hey, here’s a good idea: Let’s just stop carrying all of this inventory. We’ll make out suppliers deliver just in time and get rid of all of our work in process and finished goods inventory. That will make us a lean manufacturer just like Toyota.

Apparently there are quite a few people with impressive enough jobs and big enough paychecks to know better, who think the concept of lean and those who...

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Strangling on Growth

December 27, 2013

Six years ago UPS strayed from its traditional practice of putting someone in charge who had risen through the ranks. “Previous UPS chairmen started in entry-level jobs, including bicycle messenger, accounting clerk, package car driver and management trainee.” Not this time, however. They wanted growth and who better than their CFO, Scott Davis?

As it turns out, just about anyone who understood...

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More Like Red Friday

November 29, 2013

As the day dawns millions of Americans are stampeding the stores scooping up bargains on what is the Black Friday debacle. It exists as a monument to bad management – a day on which businesses that compete on price, and price alone, demonstrate just how weak their business model is.

According to an article in the Chicago Tribune: “Big chains such as Target, Wal-Mart and Toys R Us said they should...

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Fundamentals of Performance Metrics

November 17, 2013

Received a question the other day:

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Cost Accounting Trumps Strategy and Leadership

November 08, 2013

Jeff Immelt is most likely an honest guy. He is probably sincerely stating his beliefs, his vision for GE and his perception of basic economics when he said just 8 months ago, “supply chain and materials” are the important cost elements driving a plan to bring GE manufacturing back to the United States. He is correct when he says that a 1% higher yield in materials offsets and labor differences...

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Cash is, in fact, king

November 01, 2013

Taiichi Ohno described the Toyota Production System this way: "All we are doing is looking at the time line, from the moment the customer gives us an order to the point when we collect the cash. And we are reducing that time line by removing the non-value added wastes."

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Why CFO's Don't Get Invited to Meetings

October 31, 2013

The folks at Ernst & Young brought together a gang of executives from decidedly mediocre outfits like Fisher & Paykel, Coca Cola, and some pharms like Pfizer, then surveyed a bunch of other CFO’s and Supply Chain execs about their relationship and priorities, and published a report about the results called “Partnering for Performance - Part 1” the CFO and the Supply Chain”. It seems 79% of the...

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Offering a Discount to Create Waste

October 28, 2013

Volume discounts have been an assumed part of business for s long few people stop to think of them as the epitome of un-lean thinking they really are. It should be pretty obvious – telling customers we will charge less if you buy more than you need and keep it in inventory.

The boys writing for the Harvard Business Review blog are rarely relevant and even less often right … and when they are it...

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