Case Study: Global Footwear Retailer

How business process services helped a major retailer increase efficiency and reduce costs by $5.1 million annually. 

About the customer

This iconic multinational corporation designs, develops, manufactures, markets and sells footwear, apparel, accessories, equipment and services throughout the world. Based in the U.S., the company has annual revenues topping $24 billion and employs more than 40,000 people globally. It also has a thriving retail operation with more than 1,000 brick and mortar stores worldwide, an e-commerce site and sells to thousands of retail accounts, independent distributors and licensees.

The footwear and apparel giant attracts high-profile athletes and sports teams as its sponsors and it is considered one of the top climate-friendly organizations. Its products and services are geared toward athletes playing basketball and football, running and training for many sports. It also provides recreational footwear and apparel for walking, golf and tennis.

Technology advances presented new possibilities to shelve manual, paper-based processes and foster a digital transformation.


  • 80% of HR applications had errors

  • Missed deadlines to onboard employees, delayed paychecks

  • Manual records retention

  • Audit and compliance concerns

The retailer realized its old way of onboarding new employees was no longer viable. Technology advances presented new possibilities to shelve manual, paper-based processes and begin a digital transformation.

In their HR department alone, managers spent 80 percent of their time on new employee applications that were sent back and forth through overnight shipping due to errors — at huge costs. They missed deadlines for hiring new store employees, which was especially problematic at peak retail seasons. Manual processes meant store associates weren’t always paid on time. In addition, there was no integration with existing technologies.

Furthermore, all paper HR records had to be retained and housed — and storage space was expensive. When they needed to retrieve forms, they were difficult to find. Audit and compliance concerns added complexity. It was time to find a way to streamline the processing of new hires and implement a better system for records retention management.


  • $5.1 million annual cost reduction

  • Eliminated manual processes, reduced form errors

  • Converted three million paper documents to electronic files

  • Improved workflow, speed with multifunction printers (MFPs)

  • Reduced associate onboarding time from 10 to 3 days

The retailer now has an automated, optimized process for onboarding new store employees that eliminates manual steps, lowers costs by $5.1 million per year, decreases errors and reduces onboarding time from 10 to 3 days.

They also automated records retention, initially absorbing three million existing paper documents into their system. This solution eliminated paper, freed space and helped them meet audit and compliance requirements. Also, multifunction devices are now used as on-ramps into the system for HR forms and administrators have quick, easy, and secured access to documents whenever they need them.

Optimizing back-office processes in HR was just the beginning. From there, they leveraged Ricoh’s solutions and services across the enterprise to improve a wide range of the retailer’s business processes and created an environment where employees can thrive. For example, the success of automated invoice processing in the retailer’s European operations is now being replicated in the U.S., Canada and Taiwan.

How We Did It

Ricoh optimized business processes by automating costly, manual, error-prone processes. To onboard store associates more quickly, we replaced multiple printers, faxes and copiers at stores with one multifunction printer (MFP) and added advanced imaging and scanning capabilities. This enabled new applications to be instantly imaged, sent to corporate HR from the MFP, and quickly reviewed for missing or inaccurate information. Once approved, they uploaded the application into their ERP system.

To streamline records retention and retrieval, we digitized legacy HR records and enabled day-forward scanning from MFPs. We integrated front- and back-office functions to eliminate manual processes and reduce the risk of errors. We also assumed responsibility for all related hardware and software administration.

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