AutoMate creates complex workflow for Ricoh!

in Success Story, posted 10/19/06

Ricoh is the leading international provider of the highest quality document and content management solutions for the 21st century workplace. The company employs over 75,000 people worldwide and generated sales in excess of $17 billion this past fiscal year.

Ricoh runs a network of 'just-in-time', print-on-demand production facilities, distributed across the globe. These facilities produce and disseminate all sorts of documents (e.g., real-estate sales sheets, courseware for educational institutions, invoices, and account statements) for large corporate customers.


To improve service, Ricoh wanted to expand its offerings so it could negotiate globally outsourced document processing contracts, increase effectiveness of its regional facilities, and provide consistent pricing & Service Level Agreements (SLA's) to its customers.

However, upon examination of the varied types of jobs, unique subsidiaries, applications, and fulfillment expectations, a solution seemed virtually impossible. The degree of complexity with managing the process is astounding.

To complicate matters, Ricoh wanted to leverage its facilities around the globe, and to do so, it needed to move print files and data according to a varied array of processes. But every aspect of this solution had to be completed within just a few hours of a given job being deposited in its entirety - with the only allowable time measurement being that of the originating host country, no matter what time it was where the global web portal was hosted, or where a document traversed during its workflow. Each customer expected the tightest security possible - such that only certain content could leave a given country, and even then, had to be securely locked down from access wherever it might be. All the steps for every country and its subsidiaries within, and for each subsidiary's different documents, had to be presentable as a virtual dashboard, which each location and organizations could log into, and watch every step through completion.


AutoMate enables this complex workflow and processing for Ricoh. It augments Ricoh's processes for keeping tabs of job transfers, file naming and look-ups, monitoring both Windows low-level services & processes, and the document integrity itself. It employs built-in logic to handle workflow decision-making, and where unusually conditional logic is needed, it routinely calls Ricoh's custom VB scripts so that no situation remains unaddressed. Ricoh employed AutoMate to better support truly dynamic operations, as servers & workstations running these tasks can all have their logic and supporting code readily updated remotely, supporting new functionality at the drop of a hat - all while maintaining logging and notification to the appropriate contacts, by the appropriate medium.


Ricoh benefits because of the detailed auditing of every step and every transaction, and because the solution automatically feeds into the client billing system for accurate, programmatic invoicing. The customer knows exactly how they will be billed, with up-to-the-minute feedback of their job volumes and progress. With each procedure logged and date-time stamped by the central database, Ricoh can fine-tune these processes even further, ensuring that this production process is always running at peak performance. Ricoh's ability to meet SLA's has changed from a mission-critical objective, into a predictable, easily-managed automated process. Ricoh also saves countless hours of manual human resources duplicating their individual efforts in accomplishing redundant tasks. Ricoh's customers are enjoying the benefits of a globally consistent SLA, while allowing all independent levels of subsidiaries, regardless of location, to reap the massive cost savings of their enormous combined scale.