TOPCALL Helps BOC Pay The Bills On Time

Fax server cuts hardcopy document production time by seventy five percent…While many businesses have already joined the email revolution, a large number are still celebrating the durability of the trusty fax machine. This is particularly true in the case of large multinational corporations that need to maintain effective business communications with large numbers of suppliers, business partners and customers worldwide.Some smaller companies, for example, might not possess the necessary technology to cope with the influx of digital material – instead preferring to rely on the time-honoured lever arch folder and complicated filing system to keep records of financial transactions.

In addition, larger businesses will often prefer hardcopy documentation – particularly in the warehouse, logistics and distribution functions.A good example is BOC – one of the world’s leading industrial gases companies – that has selected technology from TOPCALL to help manage effective communications with its two million customers located in over fifty countries.For a company of this size, fax management can be particularly tricky. Given the global reach of the company, BOC traffic can be high – with around 2,500 faxes sent each night from its global data centre in Guildford alone. The projectIn 2003, BOC needed to upgrade its UK data centre due to expansion. The company wanted to take this opportunity to ensure the stability of its fax communications so it could continue to communicate with suppliers and business partners that prefer to operate by fax.

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BOC has been using technology from TOPCALL to fax invoices, statements and purchase orders directly from its SAP enterprise resource planning (ERP) software for the previous six years.This has been particularly effective within the finance department, as it allows documents to be faxed directly from SAP rather than being printed manually and then fed through fax machines. The automated process saves staff time and allows them to concentrate on more valuable tasks such as chasing outstanding payments.Fax plays a crucial role in BOC’s cashflow – if the necessary paperwork isn’t in the right department at the right time, monies can’t be authorised to be paid to the right place. The technology can also be used within the BOC distribution arm to help guarantee the transferral of delivery notes and ensuring the smooth flow of the supply chain.Business continuity considerations also played a key role as BOC wanted to ensure the stability of all of its key business processes – particularly within the finance department.

The company needed to continue to ensure that necessary documentation could be faxed whenever necessary. Business continuity had previously been handled by an external service provider, but BOC wanted to bring this back ‘in-house’.The decisive factor in the decision to expand use of TOPCALL was its SAP Gold Partner status. BOC needed technology that could integrate exactly with the existing company-wide ERP software as well as handling the high volume of faxes produced. The TOPCALL server can process around 360 pages an hour.”The automated faxing function is absolutely crucial to the smooth operation of the finance department at BOC.

If we aren’t able to offer fax copies of invoices, we often don’t get paid until we do. It’s a straightforward question of cash-flow that helps us to balance the books,” said Neil Slamaker, systems development analyst at BOC.”If faxes couldn’t be sent directly from SAP, then they would have to be sent manually. If you think about how long it would take to do this, the figures are staggering,” he added.Julia Bowerman, key account manager at TOPCALL, said, “Our research shows that sending 2,500 faxes manually could take over twenty-nine hours, which would be totally unacceptable.

Using the TOPCALL fax server, this has been cut to just under seven hours.””A business the size of BOC needs to ensure that it communicates globally as efficiently as possible. It needs to ensure that the different businesses within the group operate effectively – we are happy that TOPCALL helps keep the organisation moving effectively.”The futureTOPCALL technology is currently only being used in the UK, but this is presently under review and there are plans to use this worldwide. BOC is also considering extending its use of TOPCALL to include desktop faxing and SMS messaging.For more information visit: