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Optimising Fee Earner Productivity at Hugh Jones

As the largest independent firm of Court of Protection solicitors in the country, Hugh Jones Solicitors (HJS) based in Manchester, deal with a large volume of daily post. From their initial partnership as providers of copy and print, Arena recommended enhancing the firm’s busy mailroom to streamline their process of managing post. Jon Miller, Finance Director and Richard Carter, IT Manager, recently told us about their experience of working with Arena and the benefits of their technology partnership.

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Arena initially started working with HJS to transform their copy and print by recommending new Toshiba devices, providing the firm with a faster scanning capability. Whilst scanning the post wasn’t new to the firm, their Account Manager identified the opportunity to enhance their current process by implementing a digital mailroom solution from Arena’s mstore platform.

"We always knew the post took time and it was laborious, labour intensive and it sometimes took 2-3 people out of the equation for quite a while, but the process now is so much quicker. Using the previous devices, we weren’t aware of the time we could be saving. It wasn’t until we started to look closely at the potential time savings from the mstore solution that we thought this could possibly work for us."

– Richard Carter, IT Manager

The mstore digital mailroom solution helps to speed up the process of distributing documents to fee earners by seamlessly integrating with case management systems. The intuitive OCR software reads the document and identifies a piece of data, usually a case reference, and matches this with a matter in the case management system. For further validation, a second unique reference such as a postcode is identified, before filing the document automatically and notifying the relevant fee earners that it is available to view.

Jon commented, “We were initially sceptical as our business runs in a very different way from more conventional law firms; a significant proportion of our mail will not have a client/matter reference on, so we needed to look at other identifiers, such as name, address and NI number. So, after speaking with our Account Manager we went down the road of designing the software around these unique requirements and the SOS case management system that we have.” HJS are pleased as they are getting a higher success rate in the number of documents being automatically matched than was initially thought.

In addition to using mstore, their new multi-functional devices (MFDs) have enabled the firm to benefit from significant time savings. Richard comments, “The whole scanning process is faster. The feeder helps things as it’s so fast and is not prone to any jams. The MFDs have been configured with mstore, so all we have to do is load the documents and spacer sheets and press start; there’s no user intervention with having to change any settings which is really good.”

Jon added, “The amount of time the day-to-day users save is appreciable. If the post comes in at about 11am, it’s now done by the end of lunchtime.” Richard confirms that it takes between 1.5 and 2 hours to complete, “This is in comparison to 3 people going through the mail previously, equivalent to 1 whole man day per day. It clearly saves us time.”

Overall, the new devices have been reliable and the installation was hassle-free. “When we had our MFDs put in, the installation with the Arena engineers went really smoothly,” explains Richard. “The quality and consistency of the print we now have is excellent.”

Jon added, “Toshiba is a big improvement for us and the equivalent devices with the previous brand would have cost a lot more. Richard visited Arena’s showroom to test out the machines with different types of paper. He then brought them back to show us and the quality from Toshiba was appreciably better and the reliability has been excellent, so what’s not to like really?” Arena’s team of engineers are all highly trained and regularly receive fantastic feedback from our customers. Richard added to this by stating, “We’ve only ever had minor problems with these devices and when I’ve had to call for support an engineer has been on site, dealt with the problem and kept me informed. One of our biggest problems with our previous supplier was their outsourced support and it was frustrating for us. But with Arena, I speak to someone, explain the problem, they jump on the back end of the printer, confirm what I’ve said, and if it can’t be done remotely an engineer is out the next day and it gets fixed.”

In addition to providing a trustworthy service and a solution which makes day-to-day tasks easier, it was also important to be working with a supplier they can depend on.

"I regard Arena very highly as a supplier. Right from the outset your attention to us a customer has been very good and I don’t have any complaints at all about the service level. I think the people who have dealt with us have been excellent."

– Jon Miller, Finance Director

Richard supports this view by stating, “I like people who straight talk and tell you what’s going to happen, how it’s going to be and what’s going to be delivered and deliver on that, and that’s what I’ve found with Arena. They are straight talking and that’s good from my point of view.”

When asked if they would recommend Arena to other law firms, Jon responded, “Yes, I would, unequivocally.”

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