PROBLEM/SITUATION: Customer service was abysmal at the Kansas Division of Vehicles, due largely to the paper records kept for identifying problem drivers and restricting driving privileges.

SOLUTION: An imaging system equipped with workflow allowed the division to completely overhaul customer service, reduce customer complaints and generate cost savings.

JURISDICTION: Kansas Division of Vehicles.

VENDOR: FileNet.

CONTACT: Gary Carter, Bureau of Driver Control, 913/296-6894.


When then-Kansas Gov. Joan Finney approved funding in 1993 for a new imaging system for the state's Division of Vehicles, she told Betty McBride, director of the division, that she wasn't worried about the system's high cost or the possibility that some workers might lose their jobs. Rather, she was concerned whether the technology would actually help improve customer service.

"That was our number one priority," recalled McBride, not cost-saving or reducing the number of filing cabinets in the division. Today, that goal has been met, thanks to the division's diligent efforts at developing and implementing a document imaging system that provides workers with instant access to drivers' records.

McBride, who used to receive numerous phone calls every day from drivers with complaints, is lucky if she gets one or two taxpayer calls per week, none of which have anything to do with poor service. She credits the turnaround to the online availability of records and the imaging system's ability to speed up processing time. "We now have immediate and multiple access to driver records, reducing processing time and eliminating lost and misfiled records."


Prior to imaging, customer service at the Division of Vehicles was disappearing under a blanket of paper documents. Every day, the division processes as many as 4,500 pieces of mail. The documents, which identify problem drivers and restrict driving privileges, ended up in folders filed in one of 144 five-drawer filing cabinets.

With as many as five different people and departments handling a driver's record during the course of an investigation, keeping track of the records was not easy. Because the division receives as many as 3,000 calls per day from driver's inquiring about the status of their license, it sometimes took workers between seven and 10 days to track down an individual folder. By 1992, the division was receiving as many as 75 complaints per day, was allowing more than 1,500 incoming calls per day to go unanswered, and had a filing backlog that was nearly six months behind schedule. To determine the best way to turn things around, the division conducted a study with three different companies, all of which recommended using imaging technology as a solution.

With a sympathetic governor and state Legislature supporting her efforts, McBride received funding to build a $1.4 million document imaging system. In March 1993, the division awarded a contract to FileNet, based on their proposal involving workflow.

Imaging technology converts paper documents into electronic images, which can be stored and retrieved more efficiently in their digital format. Workflow technology takes the concept of factory automation and applies it to the work tasks, assisting the routing and management of documents in a company.

According to Gary Carter, bureau chief of driver control, a significant part of the project called for converting more than one million paper records into electronic images so that all existing records would be online when the system went into operation.

Work started with a pilot project in the Driver Review Section, which determines whether people with medical problems, such as poor vision, should have a driver's license. FileNet, using a subcontractor, converted approximately 100,000 records and then tested the system using workflow.

Once all the kinks were worked out with the pilot, conversion continued with the rest of the records until the entire system was ready by October 1993.


Today, 54 workers