Fluor Hanford: A Case of Automating the Workflow

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Article ImageCompany: Fluor Hanford
Since 1996, Fluor Hanford has served as a contractor for the U.S. Department of Energy, charged with the environmental cleanup of nuclear materials at the Hanford site in Richland, WA. The site has a rich history: It was a location of nuclear material production beginning with the Manhattan Project in the 1940s. Fluor Hanford manages many operations at the site, such as cleaning up and monitoring Hanford's groundwater, and providing security. www.hanford.gov

Business Challenge 
The Department of Energy's Hanford site covers a 586-square-mile area along the Columbia River in southeastern Washington State. Approximately 3,500 union and non-union employees work in more than 100 facilities on the Hanford property (some located as far as 40-45 miles apart). Because various employees and departments have to sign off on the work accomplished at the site, Fluor Hanford needed an integrated solution that would house electronic versions of its documents. Such a solution had two potential benefits: it would make all documents more easily accessible to employees, regardless of their location, and it would eliminate the need for creating and storing paper documents.

Vendor of Choice: Open Text Corp.
Enterprise content management (ECM) solution provider Open Text Corp. was founded in 1991. Through its flagship product, Livelink, Open Text offers solutions in such areas as document management and collaboration, records management, knowledge management, and business process management. Ontario, Canada-based Open Text serves a variety of different industries, from automotive and consumer packaged goods to energy and government. Its customer base is represented by 20 million seats among 13,000 corporate deployments in 114 countries and 12 languages. Customers include Wells Fargo, Verizon, and Nortel Networks. www.opentext.com

The Problem in Depth
In the 60 years of the Hanford site's existence, millions of pages of records have been collected. Fluor Hanford stored the documents within 24 home-grown record and document systems, but keeping track of the correspondence housed in those disparate systems proved challenging. Fluor Hanford management sought a more efficient (and compliant) way in which to manage the entire lifecycle of their documents—from creation to storage.

"They were interested in more of a lifecycle approach to managing information," says Kathleen Kummer, director of government solutions for Open Text. "Because of the nature of the work they were doing, they needed a high level of compliance, and they also needed consistency with the programs and procedures, and they needed to automate a lot of the manual processes." 

Removing those manual processes was key in helping the company improve its overall productivity. Fluor Hanford sends about 2,000 letters per year to the Department of Energy documenting the company's work at the site. The letters are reviewed by multiple technical experts and managers, who have to subsequently sign off on the documents. To facilitate the process, administrative staff had to either walk or drive the documents around the massive Hanford site to retrieve necessary approvals. With paper documents, there was always the possibility of correspondence getting misplaced on a desk or lost in transit from one building to another. 

Because of the sensitivity of the information, Fluor Hanford also needed a permission-based solution that would provide adequate security and allow various levels of access to users.  

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