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Italy: Document Tracking and Archiving

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Automated Document Tracking and Archiving for CNA SERVIZI Modena by SATA

 

Originally, the Document Tracking and Archiving pilot of the RFID-ROI-SME project performed by SATA has been planned for and started by RETE SERVIZI. During the project’s lifetime, however, RETE SERVIZI has been replaced by CNA SERVIZI Modena as the end-user of the solution, the RFID pilot remaining the same from all other viewpoints; owing to the coherent pilot framework, the change of end-user did not change the structure.

 

END USER

CNA Servizi Modena s.c.a r.l. offers services to about 9000 enterprises associated to CNA Modena, the association that carries out the function of representation of interests and collective protection of artisans and SMEs in the province of Modena. (CNA is the National Confederation of Crafts and Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises in Italy.) The services that CNA SERVIZI Modena offers cover interpretation of legislation, technical standards, quality, new business consulting, business and management training among others. The flow of the sensitive and legally important documents they collect and submit need to be traceable so that validity can be ensured. In particular, CNA Modena’s competitiveness hinges on its ability to efficiently store, structure, archive, manage, track and trace a multitude of documents. RFID technology can automate these processes on the basis of auto identification and classification of tagged documents.

 

SOLUTION PROVIDER

SATA is a company that studies, designs, prototypes and realises innovative and advanced ICT solutions for different application domains, particularly for interoperability, logistics, enterprise networks and document management.

 

PURPOSE OF THE PILOT

The purpose of this pilot is to achieve a satisfactory RFID enabled electronic document and dossier management, applicable to a variety of document classifications and related handling processes. CNA Modena will set-up and operate the same pilot identified and prepared for RETE Servizi. The pilot is based on the application of the RFID technology to the tax assessment process, in particular in the “hot” phase lasting from May to July of each year. The pilot case is aimed at covering both the tracking and archiving processes, improving their efficiency by a proper application of the RFID technology.

 

Expected business benefits entail the following:

  • Most of CNA SERVIZI Modena resources are allocated to this process three months a year: a decrease in respective costs is expected;
  • 50% of the time is spent on data collection and reminders to customers: the 20%-30% of this time can be saved with a proper RFID application.

 

Technological challenges involve the following:

  • Read up to 20-25 folders put in a box with very close tags;
  • Use of reliable portable readers;
  • Distributed document management; and
  • Integration with CNA SERVIZI Modena accounting system.

 

END USER APPLICATION

Every year each customer brings documents (in original) relevant to its tax assessment from January to May. Documents at CNA SERVIZI Modena are stored into folders. A folder in a given branch office can stay either in a cabinet or in a box on the floor or laying on a desk. A folder can be moved from a branch office to another one, to undergo specific treatments or to balance office workloads. All the relevant folders are tagged, as well as the relevant places (desks, cabinets, boxes, offices). The number of folders to tag is in the order of tens of thousands. All the information related to the folder status and contents, dynamically updated by different operations and different employees, are stored in a distributed web application and coupled to the physical folder via its tag.

Tracking process: submission, registration and return of legally relevant documents

  1. The customer goes to a CNA SERVIZI Modena branch office, bringing a batch of original documents to register.
  2. The branch operator puts the documents into a folder with an RFID attached (reusable many times for different batches of different customers) and updates the information relevant for the folder (customer, reference batch, data, local branch, operator and so on). From that moment on the folder has associated two distinct piece of state information, a “location state” expressing where a folder is at a given moment (in room A, moving), as well as a “process state” expressing in which phase of the registration process the folder documents are. The folder process state is initialised at “acquired”.
  3. Document traceability is ensured by connecting folder dynamics to a workflow management system. If all the operators managing such folders are provided with an RFID badge, every time one of them takes in charge a folder (starting the process, storing it, picking it, delivering it), he/she can use a portable RFID reader to notify the system (by reading both RFIDs and possibly giving a simple command) that an authorised operator has picked or delivered a folder. In this way the system is aware in real time of who has the folder in charge, where is the folder, at which registration step are the folder documents. On the other hand the folder history is available, in terms of past positions, process steps and involved persons.

The workflow management system can tell the user which steps the folder should undergo in the future, to whom it will be in charge, where it could be found.

  • In addition it could be useful that the operator initialising the process scans the documents so as to create a digital image of each document, and then obtain a virtual folder (accessible to all authorised operators both at the local branch and the headquarters) with electronic copies associated to the real folder with the original documents.
  • By putting an RFID reader on the door of the rooms (or the archives) where the folders are kept within the local branch, it is always possible to know if a given folder is in the room or outside, besides keeping track of all in and out movements. The folder position state is updated accordingly (“in room X” or “moving”). By checking badge RFIDs it is also possible to ensure that folders are moved only by authorized personnel.
  • Analogously, by putting RFID readers on room or archives at the headquarters, it is possible to know where the folder is (which room, which archive), properly updating the folder position state. When all the folder documents are registered, by reading the badge RFID, it is possible to make the process state evolve to “registered”. A notification is automatically issued to direct the folder towards the reference branch office.
  • A portable RFID reader allows to know the relevant information in real time: the states of a folder or the person currently in charge of it.
  • Once the registered folder is back to the branch office, the system can notify the customer that the documents are available for return.

CNA SERVIZI Modena offers to their customers a service of permanent archiving of “unique copy” documents (legal acts, contracts, tax declarations, authorisations with signatures in original and so on). In this case, each document is put into a dedicated folder provided with an RFID (reusable only when the service stops, or the company is no more active, or the period of mandatory archiving is expired).

Archive management, document in and out movements, person in charge of picking and delivery activities (for instance, when a lawyer must check past legal documents for a new legal act) are similar to those explained in the previous process.

It is also very important that in this case CNA SERVIZI Modena can also make substantial controls on the documents delivered by the customers, highlighting the lack of a document needed for a given activity or that a document is no more valid after a given date, or other significant exceptions.

 

 

TECHNOLOGY

Software architecture

Client module

  • Connected to the RFID reader + antenna;
  • Using ASPIRE as middleware (under study in collaboration with AIT);
  • Managing the physical objects (folders, boxes).

Web module

  • Access via web (at each branch, at headquarters);
  • Managing the logical objects (folders, boxes);
  • Tracking the relevant events through a checklist for each customer;
  • Issuing notifications to customer for missing documents;
  • And requests for help to high skilled personnel.

 

Client module

 

 

 

User interface

 

 

 

Web module clients