Subway Restaurants Avoid Expensive Audit Penalties with Compliant Document Management Software

Located in Eden Prairie, Minnesota, Armstrong Subway, Inc. has been in operation for 33 years since it first opened its doors in 1986. A leading fast food provider in the area, Armstrong Subway has managed as many as 24 Subway restaurants at one time, employing well over 250 people across all locations.

Due to a high employee turnover rate, Armstrong Subway was running out of room to store all the employee files they are required to keep. But storage wasn’t their only issue. Managing so much paperwork caused important employee documents to be misfiled and difficult to locate. They needed a solution for improving the storage, management, and monitoring of documents – and they needed it fast.

That’s when Armstrong Subway turned to their office equipment provider and had an informal discussion about their needs. First it had to be a very easy to use solution so Armstrong Subway could get up and running quickly. Then, the solution’s search capabilities were vital. They were already having trouble with misfiled paperwork, so they needed to be able to search a multitude of fields to find a specific document. In almost no time, their office equipment dealer recommended Square 9’s award-winning GlobalSearch document management software, and Armstrong Subway began digitizing their workplace.

Armstrong Subway began using the GlobalSearch software daily, and the results have been tremendous. With 20,000 archive documents stored, and more arriving daily, administrative tasks are now completed at a much faster rate with about 20 hours saved every week. They’re also saving well over $20,000 annually thanks to GlobalSearch’s ability to streamline the company’s workflow, eliminating the need for additional hires.

Human Resources was recently added to the already full work schedule of Armstrong Subway’s Office Manager. From payroll to applications and employee files, GlobalSearch has been the perfect solution to take care of all Human Resources related paperwork in an efficient and cost-effective manner. When an Area Manager needs information on any type of employee, she can quickly and easily access the information to keep business moving without any roadblocks.

Suddenly, Armstrong Subway was a target of a recent discrimination lawsuit. Luckily, GlobalSearch was intact, enabling Armstrong Subway to achieve and maintain proper compliance. They had to provide the State of Minnesota paper copies of all documentation relating to the individual employee and coworkers at that time. By the time they were done, the amount of paper filled a full paper box, consisting of about 10 reams. Without a document management system in place, it would have been a least a month or more to compile the paperwork. Thanks to GlobalSearch, the process was complete in three days, and Armstrong Subway did not have to pay a single fine.

Following the lawsuit, a Department of Labor audit stemmed from a worker’s comp claim that was being denied. Armstrong Subway had to provide every single piece of paper that they had on every current and former employee that worked in the same city. With their outdated paper-based methods, it would have taken months to gather all of this information. But with GlobalSearch, Armstrong Subway was able to compile the paperwork in less than a week and finish their audit without any penalties or fines.

GlobalSearch proved to be a lifesaver for Armstrong Subway, and they can’t imagine operating business without it today! To learn more about document management software and how it can benefit your business, visit square-9.com/products/how-it-works.

Interview: Teresa Sherwood, Office Manager, Armstrong Subway, Inc.

Q. What criteria did you have in mind when searching for a Document Management solution?

Teresa Sherwood: Armstrong Subway, Inc. has operated as many as 24 Subway restaurant locations, employing more than 250 employees. Due to the high employee turnover rate, we were running out of room to keep all the employee files that we are required to keep. We are in a fairly small office and we had all the filing cabinets we could fit. In addition, with all of that paper, there was a lot of misfiled employee paperwork. So, we knew we needed a digital solution. First, it had to be very easy to use. Then, the search capabilities were vital. We already had trouble with misfiling paperwork, so we needed to be able to search a multitude of fields to get what we needed. I immediately liked GlobalSearch because it’s easy to start up and saves massive amounts of time.

Q. How has GlobalSearch document management software impacted your daily business operations?

Sherwood: As the Office Manager I’ve been with Armstrong Subway for 17 years. Human Resources was added to my job last year when the previous employee left our company. So, adding that to my already full work schedule, I needed a solution to help me take care of all Human Resources related paperwork in an efficient and cost-effective manner – and GlobalSearch does just that. I use GlobalSearch daily so when an Area Manager needs information on any type of employee, I am able to access the information quickly based on what they are looking for. This is especially important for former employees that want to come back to work for us. I would say we save about 20 hours of administrative time per week and over a year I would estimate about $20,000 in reduced expenses.

Q. Can you explain your recent legal experiences and how GlobalSearch helped with a discrimination lawsuit and a Department of Labor Audit?

Sherwood: We initially had an age/disability discrimination lawsuit. We had to provide paper copies to the State for the individual employee and any employees she had worked with. When we were done, the paper filled a paper box, consisting of about 10 reams. It took 3 days to compile the paperwork. Without our GlobalSearch system it would have been a least a month or more. But when it was all done, we did not pay a single fine.

Then, a Department of Labor audit stemmed from a worker’s comp claim that was being denied. We had to provide every single piece of paper that we had on every current and former employee that worked in the same city over the past three years. It took about a week to gather. Without GlobalSearch if would have taken us months! Our lawyer told us that no matter what we did, they would find something to fine us for. In the end, it took the State two years to finish their audit and once again we did not pay a single fine.

Q. Would you recommend Square 9’s solutions and why?

Sherwood: Yes! Especially for businesses with the possibility of being audited or having legal issues. GlobalSearch has saved our company from paying expensive fines and hours upon hours of work. We no longer lose files or misplace paperwork. I cannot imagine doing Human Resources anywhere without GlobalSearch. When someone needs information on an employee there is no longer the frustration of trying to find the document. I can’t imagine how much money and time we have saved. We hope to expand our use of GlobalSearch to Accounts Payable soon!