“Using Solchar’s Transaction Journal, the PHS Group has streamlined its paper payments processing operation to make significant savings in time and money.”
“We used to employ 13 full-time staff to process cheques. Now, we rely on just six full-time staff members to help process cheques and the work is completed in a fraction of the time.”
Peter Jones
PHS Group
Established in 1963, the PHS Group has grown to become one of the UK’s largest companies specialising in the supply of workplace services to businesses. Today, the group has a nationwide network of 90 regional service branches with 5,000 staff serving 250,000 customers.
The size of the PHS Group’s operation is reflected in the amount of paper payments received at its head office in Caerphilly every day. So great is the number that up until March 2010, the company regularly struggled to process all the cheques it received before the end of the day.
In fact, during busy times of the year, such as September, October and November, it wasn’t uncommon for cheques to be banked up to four days after they were received. The system was not only time consuming, it was expensive and prone to human error.

Streamlining payment processing

Having recognised the need to streamline its paper payments processing, the PHS Group carefully considered the available solutions, before selecting Solchar, an expert in digital management of paper-generated payments.
Peter Jones, commercial director at the PHS Group, says: “We liked Solchar from the beginning. They were very easy to deal with and helped us develop ideas. They encouraged us to use our imagination to get exactly the system we wanted.” The PHS Group chose Solchar’s Transaction Journal 3 (TJ-3), an automated system that efficiently processes paper-generated payments using intelligent image capture, data interpretation and record enrichment.
The solution delivers a versatile corporate cheque and remittance processing system which can be easily scaled from one user to many, networked either wide area or LAN and tailored in order to consolidate payment data if needed.
TJ-3 automatically stores an image and captures printed and written information from cheques, vouchers, postal orders and other credits to provide configurable data input, verification, balancing and approvals processing. Image capture can take place from the front and rear of items and security endorsement printing can be programmed to take place during the scanning process.
Where additional data is required which is not present on processed items, this can be extracted from any number of different sources to completely automate the identification and allocation of payments against the correct bank account or client account designation.

A robust and reliable system

The PHS Group’s system comprises two cheque- size scanners for cheques and two A4 scanners for remittance slips. Items are scanned and their details captured using a web-based service which validates account details, before the cheques are batched and logged on the group’s general ledger system.
Jones says: “Automating the system has really helped us to streamline our cheque processing procedure. We used to employ 13 full-time staff to process cheques. The work was repetitive and boring with hours of data input. Plus, there was a wide margin for human error so there was always lots of cross checking to do.
“Now, we rely on just six full-time staff members to help process cheques and the work is completed in a fraction of the time, with 80 per cent of payments being allocated automatically.”
The system also includes Transaction Finder: a high performance enquiry tool with the ability to retrieve information in seconds, which previously could have taken days. The information is held on a proven SQL database structure, with the images immediately available for review, printing or emailing.
Because organisational areas which collect the transaction information are not always the only areas that need to find instances of specific transactions, Transaction Finder allows for searches to be conducted via the local database or by a central archive across an internal network.
It delivers operational savings for regular enquiries, assisting organisational areas to improve efficiency and supports transaction monitoring as part of anti-money laundering record keeping compliancy with strengthened audit capacity to identify and investigate suspect accounts and high value transactions.

Saving time and money

Since its implementation the system has undergone several enhancements. It is now able to process BACs payments and, most recently, the system was upgraded with two-dimensional bar code reading so it could better process remittance slips, a move which Jones describes as “100 per cent successful.”
The new system means the PHS Group can now process the same amount of cheques, using far fewer staff, in less than half a day. The time and money saved by the new system is substantial and represents a significant return on investment, while the risk of human error has been dramatically reduced.

works with all leading scanning brands

Contact Us

Get in touch with us for more information on our products.

Not readable? Change text. captcha txt