KEP employees are regularly asked to participate in kaizens – a term meaning “continuous improvement.” They bring together workers from different departments with different insights and years of experience. The result is typically a solution that works for all stakeholders.

Workplace changes caused by COVID-19 identified a need for a kaizen that would later be led by 1-year employee Karly Rice and a team made up of colleagues from IT, production, order processing, shipping, and accounting that resulted in KEP’s all-new paperless order entry process.

Our sales team and order entry’s reliance on papers and files meant there were some inefficiencies in trying to work remotely. This is how the pandemic brought the urgency for a solution to the surface.

Karly had come from a larger corporate workspace utilizing server-based documents and had championed the benefits. She along with Daniel Febres (IT Manager), Tammy Tomello (Order Entry & Billing Specialist), Michelle Walker (Shipping & Administrative Coordinator), Shirl Shrock (Production Planner) and Edward Gordan (Cost Accountant) were selected to participate in the kaizen.

They examined the entire order entry process from start to finish including:

  • Capturing sales orders by writing down details
  • Reviewing previous orders by cross-referencing through thousands of paper files
  • Creating paper order packets for each customer order
  • Making our Kent office the “collector” of all order forms and shipping documents from our other two facilities

Together the team came up with a solution to go digital, and the ability to electronically process orders and store all documents on a server. The team developed best practices and training to implement the new paperless process.

“We worked with the IT Manager to create secure folders on our server that are backed up automatically,” states Karly. “We developed a protocol to determine which team members would have access to the files and how much.”

The result – savings of many kinds. By going 100% paperless, we:

  • Save money on supplies
  • Save office space
  • Save time spent cross referencing and researching paper files
  • Gives three facilities digital access to the same data
  • Allows team members to function remotely when necessary

KEP’s paperless order entry is just the beginning. Launched on July 1st, this efficiency is already being adapted to other departments.

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