Lumber company empowers end users with low-code business applications.
When national project manager Sean Lemon joined Universal Forest Products (UFP) in 2005, the wood and wood product manufacturer largely relied on scattered spreadsheets and aging database applications to track and manage business processes. With more than 80 plants throughout the U.S., Canada and Mexico — and different requirements for each facility — it was a nightmare for the process owners in terms of system maintenance, upgrades and process changes. Business units frequently had to wait six months to a year to create database applications to support new or updated processes.
Everything changed when UFP began leveraging Hyland's low-code business application development capabilities.
Already in use in a few departments, OnBase provided UFP with a flexible platform for configuring business applications organization wide. The first application (used to manage Sarbanes-Oxley Act compliance) set the stage for further growth.
"We realized immediately the power that OnBase has, in that we could build just about any database application we needed while replacing old applications that were going to be sunset," said Lemon. Since that realization, Lemon's team has designed and deployed applications for various processes and business needs. These included applications for capital expenditure, storm water, lease and customer management.
While serving different purposes, UFP built all of the applications on one OnBase platform. This allows capabilities, including document management, forms, workflow automation and security controls. Additionally, one consistent, intuitive interface minimizes the need for extensive user training.
OnBase consolidates data, documents and other content surrounding UFP's business processes and delivers the information to users in one complete view. OnBase also sends automatic task reminders directly to staff's email inboxes.
Before widely using OnBase as platform for building business applications, Lemon's team went to developers with every request, which led to long project timelines. "Now with OnBase, we can build all that ourselves," Lemon said. "We meet with a department, design the workflow process, build it, test it and implement it with users to make sure they're using it effectively."
Making process changes is also quicker and easier than with previous systems. "The platform is extremely flexible and allows us to reengineer our own database depending on work process changes," Lemon said.
Lemon regularly meets with different departments to discuss current processes and identify opportunities. "Usually what comes up in our discussions is an Access database or spreadsheets managed by many people. When I hear that, I think OnBase," he said.
The team then creates prototypes in their test environment that allow business users to try the application and share actionable feedback before putting it into production. "The minute users start using the system, they mentally connect the spreadsheet they were using before to what they can now do with OnBase," Lemon said. "That's when everything changes."
Usually what comes up in our discussions is an Access database or spreadsheets managed by many people. When I hear that, I think OnBase.
— Sean Lemon, National project manager, UFP
Replaces spreadsheets and aging applications
UFP increased efficiency by replacing shared spreadsheets, Access databases and other aging applications. Lemon's team now has one central place to manage security, maintenance, upgrades and process changes.
Accelerates application configuration timelines
With OnBase, UFP designs, builds and deploys most applications in two to three months. In the past, fulfilling application project requests via custom coding and other database platforms took up to a year.
Equips business users with a better view
End users have a 360-degree view of all information supporting a business process, including capital expenditure management. "OnBase created a one-stop shop for all things capital expenditures," Lemon said. "Our facilities can see all information in one place and at one time, including related documents."
Leverages wide range of OnBase capabilities
By building applications on its existing OnBase system, UFP takes advantage of the spectrum of OnBase capabilities, including document management, forms, workflow automation and business system integration. This allows UFP to streamline processes from start to finish.