Electricity Supplier extracts data from account application forms

The Business Challenge

An Australian Energy Supply Company was faced with processing customer service forms that it had sent out to clients. These forms included Rebate Applications forms (1 page) and Automatic Payment forms (1 page). The company already had an efficient paper based data entry system, but with the growth of their business the sheer volume of paper requiring data entry was starting to become a problem.

The company decided to migrate it’s paper based data entry operation over onto a an electronic image forms processing solution. This would allow them to scan all incoming forms, and then extract from each scanned image the relevant data required by the backend systems. Since the forms included pre printed information and also areas where customers could write hand printed information, the company needed a forms processing solution with OCR (machine print) and ICR (handprint) recognition capability.

The new forms processing solution also needed to be able to generate 2 separate output files that could be uploaded into the Company’s EDRMS system and into the Client Management system.

The Company approached a distributor of scanning hardware and explained to them what they wanted to do. The distributor realised it was more than a simple scanner hardware sale, and suggested that the Company take a look at the forms processing solutions offered by Outback Imaging. Some sample forms were sent to Outback Imaging and a demonstration of the EzeScan Solution was scheduled for the Company to attend.

The EzeScan Solution

Outback Imaging designed a Forms Processing solution for the client that could be used to process both types of forms. This new solution uses a Fujitsu 4120C scanner to scan the forms. The solution utilises electronic images throughout the entire process, rather than paper documents.

On the Rebate Application forms the pre-printed client account number needed to be captured, and also whether the customer had/hadn’t signed the signature authorisation box. This required the EzeScan PRO, KFI and OCR modules.

On the Automatic Payment form the business phone number, after hours phone number, mobile phone number, client account number, payment by credit card, credit card, credit card type, card expiry date, payment by bank account, bank BSB number and bank account details needed to be captured. Some of these fields were tick boxes, machine pre-printed or hand printed. This required the EzeScan PRO, KFI, OCR and ICR modules.

The solution has been implemented in 2 phases. During the first phase the company rolled out the Rebate Application form processing solution. During the second phase the company rolled out the Automatic Payment form processing solution.

The Value

The time taken to process application forms has been dramatically reduced. The use of scanning and forms processing has reduced the number of key strokes required to index the forms. Forms are now more quickly processed. Soon after scanning the images and the form data are available to be uploaded into the 2 other legacy systems used by the company. Scanned applications forms are saved into the EDRMS system in TIF format. They can then be readily viewed on any PC loaded with the EDRMS client application.

The servicing of telephone enquiries relating to these forms is vastly improved as the Customer Service Reps can now deal with an enquiry in real time (since the application form is now online) without the need to locate the hardcopy and then call the client back. Expensive office floor space and storage has been reclaimed. Once forms have been scanned and processed the physical hardcopy documents can be sent off site for cheaper long term storage.

For this client the EzeScan Solution provides tangible benefits with regards to cost savings and productivity increases.