Active Documents


Customised Applications

Most of our clients want document management and workflow that adjusts to the way their processes work, not the other way around.

We think they are right to demand this and have found time and time again that the secret for truly successful document management is simplicity for the end-users.

  • Users like interfaces that are clean and only display features they need and they love it when you combine multiple clicks into one for the features they use most often.
  • Users want to interact with a system that uses their in-house terminology and not have to learn new document management jargon.
  • Users want minimum data entry but fast and simple retrieval
  • Users don't see the problem with linking systems together and hate duplication of effort

In short, we find that customised applications make happy Users and in turn leads to early, fantastic returns for the business.

Of the customers we gained in our first year (2001), 80% are still with us today, using updated versions of course but still reaping time and money rewards from the Document Management system we designed just for them.

Some examples of our recent work are provided below.


Correspondence and Management Action




CMA-CGM, are the worlds third largest container shipping company. Their daily operation moving containers around the world is a mammoth task involving administrative teams in different time zones handling import/export paperwork and client correspondence. Hundreds of vessels are at sea with further hundreds of containers on board . Clients and authorities need to be kept informed of all departures and arrivals and all paperwork kept in order.

The Problem

Customer Service teams in Liverpoool, UK realised their work processes required a re-design. The 'well-oiled machine' designed for handling fax and mail was in danger of over-heating with an ?increasing throughput of electronic mail. The ease with which emails can be sent was meaning that clients were sending more and more enquiries, many with extra documents attached.

Emails were being fitted into their current paper-based processes (see below).

CMA-CGM - Flow diagram

"Handling emails like paper is simple to understand therefore tempting to stick with"

  • Print costs rising
  • Office storage space filling up
  • Box files getting bigger and bigger
  • Adminstrative time per container rising requiring additional staff recruitment
    - Increased correspondence due to emails
    - Overhead convering emails and attachments into paper for filing


The Solution

Christine Lawson, their Quality Control Manager was assigned the task of find a better way.

Very quickly she realised that a paper box file was no longer a credible method of storage. Yet from past experience CMA-CGM knew that the team needed to retain the concept of a 'single, up to date folder for all correspondence' on a shipping container basis AND a vessel basis. Only this way could Customer Service staff get a complete picture when dealing with correspondence and issues.

It became obvious that alongside storage, a task-based email handling tool was required. One that was simple for people used to dealing with paper, yet sophisticated enough to ensure that Key Performance indicators for response times and throughput were reported to managers.

Through our relationship with their Xerox WorkCentre supplier, Active Documents were invited to propose a document management solution tailored to CMA-CGM's needs.

After protoyping the solution, CMA-CGM implemented a bespoke system powered by Xerox DocuShare. Return on investment was achieved within the first 18 months from print and time savings.

Now, all correspondence is held electronically, following closely the 'paper file' approach already in use.


Keeping the paperwork accurate at NetSec security

NetSec a Leeds based security firm employ security guards at premises across the UK. The guarding industry is highly regulated and each guard requires many separate items of paperwork in order to be placed on duty. Use of foreign workers and guarding of specialised premises such as power stations increases the need for complex certification and tight training records.

The small team of 2 administrative staff in Leeds were handling everything using paper files and having to cope with fast business growth. During a period of staff sickness during which 'all hands were to the pump' the Managing Director himself encountered all of the problems associated with the mountain of paperwork:

  • Certificates, training records, visas all expiring at different times for different guards.
  • Clients demanding proof of up to date documentation
  • Hugely complex Timesheet's for staff working at multiple premises driving a complex payroll
  • Paperwork taken on-site in briefcases to show to clients, but needed at the same time by the admin team.

Through our relationship with his Xerox WorkCentre supplier, Active Documents were invited to propose a document management solution to the Managing Director. Over coffee, he 'white-boarded' all the processes and the bottlenecks with which he had become all too familiar.

Active Documents were able to provide a customised application based on a 10 User version of Xerox DocuShare. All documents were scanned and emails saved into an electronic folder for each guard. Documents with expiry dates were registered in the system and a weekly report of expiring certificates automatically generated. Timesheet's were collated accurately for payroll staff.


Quick Contact

Clive Wall
Active Documents

T: +44 (0)1429 722035

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