“Since the project began in December 2003, we’ve met our target of converting 1000 files a month…”

“We’ve had excellent customer service throughout the project with full-time access to support staff and fast response times… “

–  Dawne Clarke, Business Service Manager

Located 12km from Sydney’s CBD, Rockdale City Council provides works and services to the City of Rockdale’s 93,000 residents, who live on the shores of historic Botany Bay. The organisation’s 15 councillors and 334 staff are charged with managing the needs of a culturally diverse population, as well as a combination of natural, industrial, residential and commercial landscapes.
  • Challenges

    Rockdale Council cares for the city’s civic records, a large stockpile of documents dating back to the early 19th century.

    Looking after so much paper work was interfering with the council’s ability to carry out day-to-day operations. “

    Using an outdated legacy system to locate files stored offsite was also affecting productivity, leading to end-user frustration and staff maintaining stand-alone systems.

    The council also needed to store and manage documents more efficiently to comply with the State Records and Freedom of Information acts.

  • Solutions

    Working with council staff, Fuji Xerox Global Services drew up an action plan that would see the council’s collection of more than 1.5 million paper-based records converted into electronic files within two years.

    Fuji Xerox has developed a robust imaging solution specific to our administration needs that allows us to create a digital archive for integration with the Lotus Notes application we’re building.

    To manage document conversion at council headquarters, Fuji Xerox installed sophisticated imaging software and hardware capable of high-volume workloads.

    Most of the council’s archives are being processed at a Fuji Xerox imaging centre, with the electronic files brought back to council headquarters on a portable digital hard-drive.

    Before processing begins, council staff prepare each file by culling superfluous information and tagging it with a barcode for identification.

    Documents are scanned in colour using zone-based optical character recognition technology and then automatically indexed and categorised in one of seven sub-directories, consisting of plans, certificates, application forms, general correspondence, development determination, and notification and assessment documents.

    To optimise access to information, the council plans to link all of the indexed images to metadata files for storage within their Lotus notes database and longer term within the Electronic Data Management System.

    To give staff full-time access to working documents, a closed loop control system was also introduced into the workflow, allowing users to check on the project’s status or view critical documents during the conversion process.

    Although our electronic files have low resolution for easy handling, the image quality we’re getting more than suits the requirements.

    The digital document is easier to read than the original it was generated from, as is the case with carbon copy receipts.”

  • Outcome

    To streamline information searches, Fuji Xerox evaluated how staff worked to develop a search criteria specific to their needs.

    The changes have also affected the way council staff approach their work. “Deploying an electronic system has given many of our workers an opportunity to acquire new skills and a better understanding of their role in document management. Overall, the council runs more like a business and we can respond faster to resident inquiries. As an investment, the project should pay for itself within five years thanks to reductions in storage costs. That doesn’t even take into account labour and productivity costs, especially for tasks such as filing and information searching.”

    Fuji Xerox offers customers a high-level of support, which is one of the reasons they were chosen for this project. “We’ve had excellent customer service throughout the project with full-time access to support staff and fast response times, as well as the luxury of a designated account manager who knows what’s going on,” said Dawne.

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