Client feedback is vital to us. We pride ourselves not only on our technology, but also on the way we put it to work for our customers. After all, enhancing a company’s profit and performance is as much about workflows and cooperation as it is about data, accuracy, and speed. For us, solving client needs is as important a goal as setting the standard for document automation in the industry. So when our clients talk to us, we listen. If a process needs to be optimized, we’re on it. If a lesson seems universal, we apply it to all our client relationships. And if the feedback is great, it’s our mission to keep exceeding expectations by staying ahead of the pack and being the first to spot threats and opportunities for our clients.
In this post, we’re excited to share what Bartosz Bohdanowicz, Coordinator for the automation of incoming correspondence, from the debt collection agency Ultimo (part of B2Holding) had to say when we recently asked them about the ways Applica has enhanced the company’s business.
Q: What was the turning point that helped your team realize Applica was necessary to improve operational efficiency at Ultimo?
A: As a debt collection company, we process tens of thousands of documents per month. These include ongoing correspondence with courts and bailiffs. At one point, due to the monthly volume of incoming correspondence, difficulties arose for us in planning human resources to handle such a large and fluctuating volume of documents. At the same time, we wanted to maintain a short turnover rate within the deadlines imposed by law. We were looking for a solution that would allow us to smoothly handle a large number of different documents in a short time. That’s when we established cooperation with Applica, which was the best solution to our needs.
Q: How many types of debt collection documents is Ultimo currently automating thanks to Applica?
A: The scope of our cooperation with Applica consists of two types of service. In the area of document classification, we have implemented labels for 58 types of documents, which include documents issued by courts and bailiffs. With regard to data extraction, we are implementing documents gradually. We started with three document classes and currently, thanks to Applica, we have fully automated 13 types of bailiff documents.
Q: We are curious about the short- and long-term benefits that Ultimo has achieved with Applica. Has the document turnover time changed after applying Applica?
A: We have always set the bar high for ourselves. In terms of handling correspondence, most documents registered on a given day should be handled automatically right away or, in difficult cases, routed to the appropriate operator for further handling, which requires various amounts of time. So the life cycle of a document at Ultimo depends on its type and its impact on downstream processes. Undoubtedly, with the help of Applica, document flow is much faster than manual verification. This has resulted in much more efficient case processing than ever before.
Q: Has the number of employees working with documents changed after applying Applica?
A: The volume and type of documents we receive at any given time is highly variable. Even with AI handling the processing, we still need our employees. However, we have been able to cut the cost of some of our resources and delegate some of those who previously performed rather monotonous work to more demanding tasks.
Q: What change did you notice in process automation levels in 2019 compared to 2020?
A: It is difficult to compare 2019 to 2020 due to the external environment and the resulting changes in document volume. However, irrespective of the influx of documents at any given time, we have been able to process all of them very quickly. Moreover, our AI has been immune to illness and quarantine, which has guaranteed our ability to maintain operational continuity. And because the digitized process handles simple, repetitive tasks, our employees have been freed to focus on more caloric and more demanding work.
Q: Were there any significant benefits of using Applica that Ultimo did not anticipate?
A: During the implementation of Applica and the development of the solutions in the course of ongoing work, it turned out that the AI requires very precise guidelines and paths of action, so one major benefit for us came from organizing tasks at the level of the entire organization in keeping with the legal requirements imposed by the regulator.
Q: What are Ultimo’s goals for the near future with regard to automation?
A: We are strongly focused on the correct labeling of documents and on cross-referencing all documents related to a single case. We are striving to handle 80% of our correspondence automatically and believe that with Applica we will reach this goal soon. For the remainder of 2021, we expect to maintain current levels of existing automation already in place, plus we may add automation for other types of documents.
Q: What are Ultimo’s long-term goals for using Applica?
A: Our appetite for automation is constantly growing. We are open to the automation of new document types and to applying new solutions to enhance workflows across the company. The basic and overarching goal for us is to maintain quality and accuracy of the documents and processes we automate.
Q: What have you found to be most important for the successful deployment of Applica-powered automation?
A: For a machine, something is black or white. But during implementation, we discovered many shades of gray that had to be dealt with. The most difficult and critical part early on was determining what types of documents needed to be distinguished for the processing of cases and what data from these documents was required for quick and efficient processing. It seems simple, but in retrospect, we know how difficult it was to implement individual solutions. Creating rules and guidelines for the AI and getting so many different teams on board with the new requirements was quite a challenge, especially with crucial issues of compliance involved. But we got through it and now we have a clear and consistent way of working on documents at the level of the entire organization.
Are you looking for your first document automation solution? Or are you ready for an upgrade tailor-made to your more complex business needs? Either way, Applica may be just what you need to optimize your productivity. Interested in learning more about how we can fit into your operation? Contact us today to learn more.