Shimano Streamlines Warranty Claims Processing With Laserfiche

Laserfiche Value-Added Reseller Ricoh Australia has announced the successful deployment of a Laserfiche Avante workflow business management solution at Shimano Oceania Holdings, the Australian subsidiary of Shimano, a global manufacturing and distribution organisation.  
 
The Ricoh solution transforms Shimano’s entire Australian warranty claims process by providing a purpose-built workflow to guide the warranty process from start to finish.  This has resulted in a significant reduction in call volumes and greatly improved visibility across the entire warranty process. More accurate and timely reporting has also been made possible with Shimano anticipating a slashing of up to 30 hours per month in time to generate reports.
 
The decision by Shimano to deploy the Ricoh solution follows rapid sales growth in the Australian subsidiary’s business and a renewed focus in ensuring claims are processed quickly and efficiently.
 
“Up until recently, the warranty process handled by our dealers was very manual in nature,” says Tim Clarke, IT Manager at Shimano Oceania Holdings. “Dealer staff had to print out forms and fill them in by hand and then capture the data in Excel spreadsheets.”
 
This resulted in a lack of visibility on the progress of warranty claims for dealers and distributors which led to higher service call volumes and also made it difficult for Shimano’s internal warranty team to ensure it had the resources and stock available to process claims within a reasonable time period.
 
“Also, we had an internal reporting requirement that meant we had to capture certain data about the product and the claim and pass it back to Shimano in Japan.”
 
“This reporting could take up to two hours per day and resulted in duplicated effort on the part of our technicians.  After seeing Laserfiche in action, it quickly became apparent that it would help us in resolving issues, not only with our warranty process, but also with many other processes across the business,” says Clarke.
 
Warranty Claims Process Totally Transformed

Following rapid deployment of the Ricoh solution over a period of three months, Shimano’s entire warranty claims process has been completely transformed.  Dealers are able to lodge claims using a self-service web portal that removes the need for cumbersome paper trails.
 
The web portal is accessible via the company’s ecommerce site which passes along details such as the dealer account code which is matched against the Shimano ERP system. This, in turn, populates details such as delivery address information and all they need to enter is their name, phone number, and email address.
 
When an end user has a problem with a Shimano part, they return this to either their dealer or distributor where it was purchased from and the warranty process is initiated by that dealer or distributor completing and submitting an electronic form through their portal.
 
Customers are simply asked to provide proof of purchase together with a description and images of the affected parts via the portal and these details are captured in the Laserfiche repository.  The form is then printed and posted in the box with the faulty part to Shimano’s head office where it is processed by the warranty team. The dealer is notified as to the status of their customer’s warranty return so they can personally advise the customer.
 
Laserfiche has given Shimano the ability to allow its dealers to track warranty claims throughout the entire process via the customer portal which also gives them the ability to track return packages via the company’s transport partners.
 
The Laserfiche platform also allows the dealer network to submit a web form to raise a new warranty request from their Partner Portal. This negates the need for data re-entry and reduces the chance of errors being made.
 
All warranty service requests are stored in a Laserfiche folder which significantly improves the retrieval and accessibility of documents.  This has ended the company’s dependency on paper forms as well as saving costs by increasing efficiency and driving compliance because the audit trail history is captured automatically.
 
Buoyed by the success of the program, Shimano plans to roll out Laserfiche across other parts of the company.  Initial areas are likely to be the warranty process used for cycles in New Zealand as well as Australia and New Zealand fishing areas.  Shimano is also looking at warehousing processes that it can automate with Laserfiche including customer pickups and deliveries.
 
“In the IT department, we can use it to automate user creation and are investigating the possibility of using Laserfiche as our primary asset register.  I’d be surprised if it couldn’t improve at least 80 per cent of our current processes.  When you think outside the square, Laserfiche is an amazingly powerful and flexible tool,” says Clarke.
 
Established in Japan in 1921, Shimano has grown to become a leading supplier of cycling components, fishing tackle and rowing equipment.  With more than 12,000 employees and annual revenues above $US2.5 billion, Shimano provides products to customers across Europe, the United States and the Asia-Pacific region. In Australia, the company’s Oceania Holdings subsidiary has 100 staff and is headquartered in Sydney.

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