Case Study: Major Retailer
See how a major retailer digitized 50,000 paper HR documents to free up warehouse space and make records easier to find.
About the customer
This multi-channel retailer in business for decades has thriving brick-and-mortar stores as well as a large e-commerce operation. It has a physical presence throughout the United States, Canada, Puerto Rico, Australia, the United Kingdom, the Middle East, the Philippines and Mexico and sells through catalogs and online worldwide. As the umbrella company to a variety of well-known brands, the retailer maintains several distribution facilities to house its products and ensure they are transported intact to its stores, third-party sellers and customers.
Compliance requirement to maintain HR records
50,000 paper HR records consuming valuable warehouse space
Difficulty finding an employee record when requested
Lack of resources, staff, budget and new technology to digitize paper records in-house
Every fall, the retailer ramps up for the upcoming holiday season by hiring 5,000 employees to work at its primary distribution center in the U.S. Come January, those seasonal workers were gone. While this is typical for any major retailer, having to onboard and offboard each employee is an onerous, time-consuming exercise for its HR department. Especially when all hiring records are created on paper.
To meet compliance requirements, all employee records have to be retained for years. This retailer had 10 years worth of terminated seasonal employee records--about 50,000 documents total--stored in boxes on pallets in its two-million-square-foot distribution facility. The pallets consumed valuable warehouse space that could be dedicated to housing product. And if they needed to locate a record for a re-hire or legal request, it was like trying to find a needle in a haystack.
But the retailer knew no other way. They didn't have the in-house staff and technology to convert all the paper records to electronic form. Maintaining these records in paper form and sacrificing warehouse space had become its accepted but frustrating business practice.
Valuable warehouse space reclaimed
Employees quickly and easily retrieve HR files
Documents secured electronically
Maximized budget using existing SharePoint® technology
Path to fully digitized HR environment
The retailer has reclaimed valuable warehouse space that was dedicated to storing a decade's worth of terminated seasonal employee records. That space is now free of stacked boxes and can be used to house more product inventory. The retailer's HR employees no longer spend time each January boxing up seasonal employee files, putting them on pallets and forklifting them to their designated area--work that takes them away from more productive tasks.
If a request for a past employee's records comes in, the retailer can quickly and easily access the electronic files. All of the documents are safely and securely stored electronically in the retailer's existing SharePoint repository, reducing the risk of theft, loss or destruction of files. And the retailer is now on a path to becoming a fully digitized HR environment, a workflow that will help employees work more efficiently while still complying with record retention requirements.
How We Did It
There were pallets stacked throughout the warehouse containing 10 years worth of paper HR files for terminated employees. It was an enormous undertaking to maintain those records.
Digitized all 50,000 legacy paper records
Built a repository to house digital files
Organized and indexed files using the retailer's existing SharePoint system
Created a repeatable process for additional warehouses
Laid the groundwork to eliminate paper files entirely for active HR files
We have worked with the retailer for years, providing technology and optimizing business process workflows across many divisions within the company. Through this business relationship, we learned about the difficulties the retailer had housing, maintaining and locating so many legacy paper HR records through the years. After careful study of this challenge, we had the solution--our Advanced Document Capture Services.
We moved the boxes of paper records to one of our 25-plus document processing centers in the U.S. Our certified Digital Imaging Specialists scanned and digitized all the paper documents, indexed each file and provided the retailer with DVDs to quickly and easily find past employee records. We also built an electronic repository in SharePoint® that looked like their current HR system to eventually house all the records--which will make it even easier to locate documents in the future.
This all served as a successful proof of concept for the retailer who wanted to test converting its paper records to digital in one distribution location. Going forward, we will continue to digitize the retailer's seasonal employee records annually at the facility. The next phase is replicating this process at the retailer's additional warehouses in the U.S. Ultimately, the retailer would like to cease creating paper HR files entirely, making the repository an even more valuable asset in the future.