Document Management for Aerospace
Founded in 1951, Branford, Connecticut-based HARCO Laboratories is an award-winning designer, manufacturer, and international distributor of customized, innovative solutions for a wide range of demanding aerospace and industrial applications. HARCO’s proven, engineered solutions support programs for leading companies like Boeing, GE, Embraer, Honeywell, Liebherr Aerospace, Pilatus, Rolls-Royce, and the U.S. military.
HARCO is comprised of two business units. A thermocouple business unit supplying products such as temperature measuring devices for aircraft engines, and a cable business and advanced sensors unit, supplying cables for airframe and engine applications and offers an extensive portfolio of air data sensors.
“A number of factors set HARCO apart from competitors and contribute to ongoing success,” said Brian O’Connor, HARCO’s IT Manager. “HARCO invests heavily in research and development. We hold multiple patents for our leading-edge technologies and are working to secure more. This makes HARCO the only company in our field able to supply certain technologies.” In spite of global economic challenges, HARCO has achieved consistent, double-digit growth over the last decade.
Managing documents efficiently, reliably and securely is essential in this document-intensive business, but the sheer volume of records involved can thwart efforts to achieve these objectives. “Many paper documents are needed to support a single manufactured component,” O’Connor explained. “Each must be safely stored and yet readily accessible. Our biggest challenges had been the level of difficulty and the amount of time needed to find documents, and the high cost of storing them in offsite facilities.”
“GlobalSearch has streamlined the way HARCO handles documents,” O’Connor continued. “We are using GlobalSearch to manage sales orders, work order documents and financial records. This robust yet easy-to-use solution has made retrieving and storing documents convenient and fast, saving time and money. GlobalSearch helps us exceed our customers’ demanding requirements while complying with the myriad of regulations governing our business. Using GlobalSearch also helps us during audits, makes backup easier and more secure, and aids in disaster recovery preparedness.”
With an extensive information technology background including 12 years with HARCO, O’Connor had taken a broad view of how to solve the company’s challenges, looking at many alternatives. Even so, he recalled being highly impressed by GlobalSearch. “I saw right away that GlobalSearch had the potential to revolutionize the way companies manage documents,” he said. “GlobalSearch is built on a powerful engine and is easily customizable, so the ways in which businesses can use it are endless.”
“From an IT manager’s perspective,” O’Connor continued, “GlobalSearch is extremely efficient and stable; it is easy to learn, use and deploy, and it requires very little maintenance. GlobalSearch integrated well with our Infor VISUAL ERP system, and while that system has document management capabilities built into it, they were not sufficient for our needs. I believe GlobalSearch represents an exceptional value, and I have been very pleased with the training, service and support provided by Square 9.”
HARCO uses GlobalSearch to manage two document “packages,” one for sales order processes, another for work order processes (referred to as a “traveler”). Sales order packages include documents such as quotes, customer POs and correspondence. Work order packages include sign-offs, inspection and testing reports, and other records. Prior to GlobalSearch, paper documents were filed manually and eventually stored in an offsite facility. Finding individual documents could require many steps and was a time-consuming and costly process. At times it could be highly problematic.
Now, with GlobalSearch, managing documents is no longer a complex process. Only one person is needed to scan both sales and work order documents, which are then indexed into GlobalSearch using one or more criteria for reliable and near-instantaneous retrieval. HARCO also uses GlobalSearch to manage financial documents, making use of the solution’s barcode capabilities to batch-scan and index documents automatically. Eventually, HARCO began strategically implementing GlobalSearch’s time-saving workflow capabilities; initially to streamline its complex, 17-step contract review procedures.
Based on higher efficiency and lower storage costs, O’Connor said HARCO quickly began realizing a measurable return on its GlobalSearch investment. “GlobalSearch paid for itself,” O’Connor said, “and the more we use it, the more it is continuing to pay dividends.” In terms of more efficient document retrieval, O’Connor conservatively values HARCO’s labor savings at about $1,000 monthly. In hard costs, he explained that GlobalSearch has enabled HARCO to arrest rising off site, third-party storage and retrieval fees that peaked at $16,000 annually. “The goal now is to leverage GlobalSearch to steadily reduce this amount,” he said.
Would O’Connor recommend GlobalSearch? “Absolutely, without a doubt,” he concluded. “I would strongly recommend that anyone researching document management solutions take a serious look at GlobalSearch. It is affordable, customizable, easy to use, stable and extremely versatile. I think of GlobalSearch not just as another software program but as a powerful development tool for document management. Virtually any process involving internally- or externally-generated documents can be automated or streamlined to work far more economically and efficiently with GlobalSearch.”