University of Pennsylvania
Speeds Order Transmission
with RightFax and Oracle
“Using the joint solution, our procurement cycle was reduced from days to less than two
hours.” – Ralph Maier, University of Pennsylvania
With a large student body to support and a reputation In the mid-1990s, Penn managed its high volume of
for administrative excellence, the University of documents with one full-time purchasing employee who
Pennsylvania’s Purchasing Services department was devoted to mailing or manually faxing papers. This
(www.purchasing.upenn.edu) realized the need to method was cumbersome and time consuming. Adding
implement an automated document processing and to the challenge, outbound purchase order volume grew
delivery solution that would speed the process for to approximately 100,000 orders annually, with continual
sending and fulfilling purchase orders. increase expected.
Continuing to use the manual process was “not an
BACKGROUND option,” according to Ralph Maier, associate director of
Purchasing Services for the University.
Founded in 1740, the University of Pennsylvania is
America’s first university and one of the country’s most “Customers expect next day delivery on products and
prestigious institutions of higher education. Today, the services, so when POs are approved, it’s imperative that
Philadelphia institution has a student body of nearly we route them to suppliers as quickly as possible,” he
13,000, with four undergraduate and twelve graduate said. “Delays in processing can jeopardize research
and professional schools, many of which are leaders in projects and impact customer satisfaction.”
The University’s eProcurement team needed an
The University of Pennsylvania has a long history of automated document processing solution that would
educational innovation. It is a national leader in speed the process for sending and fulfilling purchase
interdisciplinary programs that combine academic orders.
theory with professional practice. The nation’s first
In July 1996, Penn implemented Oracle Government
medical school, its first collegiate business school, the
Financials (purchasing, payables and general ledger).
first journalism program, the first university teaching
“Oracle is a leader in the marketplace and it was our
hospital and the first modern liberal-arts curriculum were
determination that it was best suited for our business
all established at the University of Pennsylvania.
requirements,” Maier said.
The University of Pennsylvania is also an acknowledged
In more recent years, the University added Oracle
leader in eProcurement in higher education.
Internet Procurement, an electronic requisitioning
product, and launched the Penn Marketplace, its private
THE CHALLENGE online supplier exchange, in January 2002.
The University of Pennsylvania Purchasing Services
With this infrastructure in place, the eProcurement team
department currently maintains a database of
searched for a solution that would integrate with Oracle
approximately 25,000 approved purchasing suppliers.
applications to distribute documents in a timely and
The University has an EDI relationship with its 22 most
commonly used contract suppliers.
The solution needed to promote faster processing of
documents so that the purchasing staff would have
additional time to negotiate more cost effective Enhanced Employee Productivity
contracts. Also, while cost savings were not a top
RightFax users within the Purchasing Services
priority, the team was looking for a solution that offered
department also appreciate substantial time savings via
ways to further reduce the cost of products and services
RightFax automatic delivery.
required by the University.
“Productivity enhancements have enabled us to re-
“Improvements in administrative systems, process
deploy staff members to more value-added activities
efficiencies, and cost reduction provide a return on
such as customer service and supply chain
investment to the institution in support of the University’s
management,” Maier said.
educational and research mission”, Maier explained.
The deployment of RightFax has proven to be a reliable
THE SOLUTION product to ensure that suppliers receive their purchase
orders. “RightFax established confidence immediately,”
In July 1996, the eProcurement team implemented
Maier related. “It has performed flawlessly.”
CommercePath, a first-generation automated fax
solution from Captaris. The product proved effective and Increased Cost Savings
reliable, so when CommercePath technology was built
Though the eProcurement team’s main
into the Captaris RightFax product-line,
“Fast delivery priority was to streamline the purchasing
it was an easy choice for the department
through RightFax process, installing Captaris solutions also
to migrate to the new RightFax solution.
has had a positive returned significant cost savings. The
In 2003, the University upgraded to impact … our University eliminated 95 percent of its
RightFax Universal Information customer service mailing costs related to purchase orders.
Exchange (UIX) from Captaris. RightFax rankings are at an Such hard costs add up quickly: According to
UIX fax and e-document delivery all-time high.” a Captaris study, when purchase orders are
solutions have been co-developed with manually prepared, printed and mailed, they
Oracle to give users a powerful way to reduce costs and cost more than $1.20 (USD) each. In contrast, RightFax
save time by automating delivery of business-critical automatically delivers the same documents
documents via fax, email or the Internet directly from electronically for approximately 10¢ per document.
their Oracle applications. The University is now using
“I continue to marvel at the performance of RightFax,”
RightFax Enterprise Server, a solution designed for high
Maier said. “It has been bullet-proof and I highly
recommend RightFax and Oracle for handling the order
Improved Customer Service transmission process.” In the end, the solution better
equips the University to deliver on its mission of
As opposed to expensive and time-consuming manual
innovation and excellence in education and research.
processes, with RightFax and Oracle, the University’s
purchase orders are created via the Penn marketplace,
processed and approved in the Oracle Purchasing FOR MORE INFORMATION
System and automatically faxed to the suppliers. The Captaris is a leading provider of business information
process of creating, approving and transmitting orders delivery solutions that integrate, process and automate
has been reduced from days to less than two hours. the flow of messages, data and documents. Captaris
produces a suite of proven products and services, in
The University’s main challenge was to increase
partnership with leading enterprise software companies,
supplier and end user satisfaction. Suppliers now
delivered through a global distribution network. Captaris
receive purchase orders quickly, consistently and
has nearly 50,000 systems installed worldwide, with 93
accurately, thereby providing the end user with the
of the Fortune 100 using the company's award-winning
correct product in a timely manner.
products and services to reduce costs and increase the
“Fast delivery through RightFax has had a positive performance of critical business information
impact on our relationship with suppliers and internal investments. For more information, please contact:
customers,” Maier said. “As a result, our customer www.Captaris.com or 1.888.320.7778. Outside of the
service rankings are at an all-time high.” U.S. please call 1.520.320.7000.