Fax/400 Pays Off for Sweeper Company

Manufacturing companies tend to make two things -- the products they sell and paper. As sales increase so does the paper trail of invoices, account statements, purchase orders and warranty claims.

Elgin Sweeper Co. (Elgin, Ill.) was one such company. The manufacturer of street sweeping and airport runway cleaning equipment went through a daily routine of manually printing paper forms, folding them, stuffing them into envelopes and mailing them.

"We had done that for years and years," says Dave Oliver, MIS director at the company. "But our company’s philosophy is to use technology to our advantage, so we started looking for a good package to automatically fax each item."

They chose Omtool’s Fax/400 software. "We wanted the whole gambit, fax and forms. This product seemed to cover everything," says Oliver. "We kicked it into gear and started with invoices and purchase orders, then moved to warranties and statements of account."

The results of the move to Fax/400 went straight to the bottom line. The cost of pre-printed forms was eliminated, postage expenses were reduced, and human resources were allocated away from manually printing and folding forms, stuffing envelopes and standing over fax machines. Oliver estimates that Elgin Sweeper saved itself 60 man-hours a month and realized savings of $92,000 in the first year from a $14,000 investment in Fax/400.

Users now just enter orders at their AS/400 terminals and Fax/400 does the rest, electronically submitting the documents to the customer’s fax machine.

"We generate probably about 100 purchase orders a day and close to that in invoices," says Oliver. "We had a lot of paper processing to do [before implementing Fax/400] and we wouldn’t want to go back to that."

According to Oliver, Elgin Sweeper gave about 160 users fax capabilities on the AS/400. "It’s worked out well. They can send faxes from their terminals. We don't have people standing in line at the fax machine," he says.

Fax/400’s benefits to Elgin Sweeper don’t stop with sending faxes. The software can also relieve incoming fax congestion by receiving faxes and outputting them to a laser printer connected to the AS/400.

"Instead of buying another fax machine, we can route faxes to the AS/400 and print them automatically on a laser printer," says Jill Schneeberger, a programmer at Elgin Sweeper. "This is a brand new use of the product that didn’t cost us anything. Once we set it up, it went quickly and it’s worked perfectly."

The company is also using Fax/400 for internal fax communications and is looking into networking the software to its remote locations, including a facility in Holland.