Fluor Hanford: A Case of Automating the Workflow

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The Solution
About five years ago, Fluor Hanford began working with Open Text to replace its 24 systems with one enterprise content management system. More than 40 million records are housed in those systems, and a major conversion is in progress to move those records into what Fluor Hanford refers to as its IDMS (integrated document management system). The system enables Fluor Hanford to manage multiple types of records and documents, provide electronic process improvements via workflows, and provide better search and retrieval capabilities for users. Fluor Hanford used an array of Open Text's flagship Livelink products (including Livelink 9.5, Livelink eSign, Livelink Forms, and Livelink Forms Workflow) to accomplish its goals.

"We wanted a one-stop shop for our records," says Benay Doolittle, IT Consultant for Fluor Hanford. The system has natural-language search capability similar to Google, adds Doolittle, which makes searching for documents easier—thus eliminating the need for file cabinets and warehouse storage of paper. "We also wanted to develop an electronic correspondence workflow to comply with regulatory issues," she notes.

To accomplish its tasks, Fluor Hanford implemented Open Text's document management and records management systems as well as business process management capabilities, which control the workflow.

Fluor Hanford is currently moving those 40 million scanned images and index data into IDMS—making them into electronic records and enabling the company to discontinue producing paper documents. In addition to this conversion, the company has also put a records management system in place. "That provides the ability to decide what [records] you will retain and what you will discard," Kummer says. Fluor Hanford then implemented the workflow system for its correspondence.

"Over time, they graduated from just having documents available electronically to putting them under official records management," Kummer says. "Now they have a way of controlling and managing access and authorization and revisions, and understand where the document is within the organization through the correspondence workflow system." 

Fluor Hanford wasn't necessarily looking at collaboration as a benefit of the system when it began work on the initiative, but this has become a growth area for the system. "Share drives are disappearing and people are using IDMS as more of a collaborative-type environment," Doolittle says. 

Also gone are the drives across the Hanford site (which is half the size of Rhode Island) to obtain signatures on the documents, making it easier to meet regulatory deadlines. All documents are now delivered electronically, which affords Fluor Hanford additional benefits such as version control (users know what document changes have been made) and notification (when an individual's document is changed, he or she receives a notice that someone has made that change). 

Both Harry Sterling, IT director for Fluor Hanford, and Doolittle note that the implementation of IDMS was a culture change for employees, who represented multiple levels of computer users. Two-hour training sessions were conducted, and information about the system was available on a website and intranet site as well. Doolittle helped employees understand the benefits of the system, so they would be more motivated to learn. "In the beginning, we had more than 600 screen shots of all of the different steps that could possibly happen in the workflow; it's a very complicated workflow," says Doolittle. "But I tell people in training that they can do their assignment in five minutes or less." Buy-in from senior management was also vital in the successful implementation of the initiative, Sterling says.

The Outcome
Since creating its IDMS, Fluor Hanford has realized many of its expected efficiencies. "We improved the cycle time on our correspondence packages going to our client [the Department of Energy], saved cost on storage, as well as improved the safety on the site," Doolittle says. 

According to Doolittle, Fluor Hanford is saving about four hours of labor on each correspondence package. "The administrative staff would spend from four to eight hours just babysitting these documents—hand carrying them, waiting for people to review them," says Sterling, who notes an annual time savings of 8,000 hours. Now, the reviewer enters his email folder, clicks on a link, and accesses the document for approval. In all, there are about 4,400 IDMS users with licenses (this includes employees and contractors). 

Fluor Hanford's content management system has also helped improve the organization's workflow. Sterling says that the workflow was initially modeled after the paper system, but the company streamlined the process and 40% of the steps taken in the paper system were removed. The paper process involved a substantial amount of administrative support. Now, one workflow administrator oversees the processes. 

Paper has been virtually eliminated from those processes. Sterling says that the organization's electronic records are certified and can be considered official records in the eyes of the National Archives and Records Administration. "It means we can eliminate paper. We don't have to keep the paper and electronic documents," says Sterling. 

As the company accomplishes the goal of eliminating paper, it will also continue to work to further improve the efficiency of the system's users. "We want to continue improving the ability of our users to search and find the information faster," Sterling adds.    

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