Document Management for Agriculture
Since 1902, Farmers Reservoir and Irrigation Company (FRICO) has been known as one of the largest ditch and reservoir companies in all of Colorado. FRICO provides water to over 650 shareholders who are made up of farmers, oil and gas companies, sporting groups, and Denver Metro Cities, through 400+ miles of canal, four large reservoirs and several smaller lakes.
In existence for over 100 years, FRICO has amassed a large amount of client documents and location maps that need to be retained in a safe and secure environment. With a unique retention policy requiring responsibilities for maintaining all historical records, FRICO has several storage facilities, yet staff struggled to locate business-critical information quickly and efficiently. They needed a software that would allow them to quickly pull up stored records based off a keyword search. With their current paper-based method, too much time was wasted digging through filing cabinets and boxes for documents. The reservoir company knew they needed a digital solution, but they took their time to find the perfect fit.
After a year of researching document management solutions, FRICO met their match with GlobalSearch, Square 9’s award-winning enterprise content management software. From their initial look at the intuitive user interface, FRICO knew GlobalSearch would be the solution to fit their unique needs. The software was easy to use, provided robust security functionality, and offered excellent searching and workflow capabilities.
FRICO immediately implemented GlobalSearch into several departments that now use the solution on a daily basis. This includes the corporate team, project coordination staff, field staff, engineering, administration, and accounting departments. All of which, recognized the benefits of GlobalSearch soon after the software was put into place. They were able to locate documents much faster with no hassle – which was especially beneficial when doing research for engineering and legal teams. GlobalSearch also uses Optical Character Recognition (OCR) to streamline document indexing as new records entered the document database. The highly accurate OCR tool helped FRICO store documents in a way that provided ease when searching and retrieving records. As FRICO continues to gain new clients, it is also easy for staff to add new index fields and document archives to kickoff initial account management. But best of all, GlobalSearch integrated directly with FRICO’s existing Geographic Information System, ArchView GIS. This unique integration capability allows the FRICO team to analyze and work with real-time results between the software systems.
The company also uses the GlobalAction document workflow engine, paired with GlobalSearch, to streamline collaboration with employees in and out of office. Field staff can now receive instant written approval on project location – a process that previously took days now takes minutes. With digital document approval processes in place, everything is in writing through real time annotations made at the location, which eliminates the inconsistencies of verbal agreements.
FRICO’s processes have changed dramatically since implementing Square 9’s solutions, saving the company anywhere from 5-10 hours a week between document approvals and research. Beyond storage and paper costs, FRICO’s return on investment is mainly in time cost. The difference now is how well documents are organized in GlobalSearch, and how easily accessible information is, which helps staff to stay productive on a daily basis. The company is much more efficient in locating documents with real time approval of projects, allowing their team to stay on top of water supply for the clients that rely on them every day.
To learn more about Farmers Reservoir and Irrigation Company, please visit https://www.farmersres.com/.
Interview: Heidi Garner, Corporate Secretary, Farmers Reservoir and Irrigation Company
Q. What challenges led you to search for a document management solution?
Heidi Garner: Since our company has been around for over 100 years, we have a very large amount of historical documents. We have several large storage facilities for our paper and needed to be able to pull the info quickly and easily instead of digging through filing cabinets and boxes. We needed a software that would allow us to do a keyword search on any archive if necessary. We also needed something that would allow us to integrate with our GIS System for real-time results anywhere in our system.
GlobalSearch is user friendly and is easy to search and find what we are looking for. We have the ability to add new fields and archives as needed! Most importantly, we were looking for a software that would integrate with ArchView GIS and OCR all documents for ease of searching – and GlobalSearch met all of our needs!
Q. Where is GlobalSearch being used and how has document management software made an impact on your business?
Garner: We have several departments that use GlobalSearch on a daily basis including corporate staff, project coordination staff, field staff, engineering and water accounting staff as well as administrative staff. FRICO also manages three other smaller ditch and reservoir companies which also use GlobalSearch. Our company is pretty unique in the amount of paper we are required to keep per our records retention policy. The difference with GlobalSearch is that all of our information is now easily searchable! We are able to locate documents much faster with no hassle when doing research for engineering and legal staff. This is such a relief instead of documents being in boxes and having no idea where to find something. Everything is well organized in GlobalSearch.
We also utilize the GlobalAction document workflow process and through this, we are able to get instant written approval from our field staff on a project location. This process used to take days to get and was often a verbal approval, where now everything is in writing, in real time and at the location on the map.
Q. Would you recommend Square 9’s solutions and why?
Garner: I would absolutely recommend Square 9! The customer service is awesome if any challenges arise. The system is user friendly yet still very robust. Most importantly, Square 9 is able to integrate well with other database software which was exactly what we needed. We spent a year researching document management companies and we really liked the look, ease of use, interface capabilities, security functions as well as the options to use workflow. Our return on our investment is not as much in storage or paper cost, but rather in time cost. We are much more efficient in locating documents now. We also have real time approval and location of projects happening in our system. We’ve saved several hours a week in administrative time between approvals and research with GlobalSearch. We hope to increase our use of GlobalSearch, especially in areas like accounting.