Tridel plans supply chain add-on to workflow system

One of the Greater Toronto Area’s leading developers of condominiums is hoping to expand its document workflow system to help improve the way it manages its supply chain.

Tridel, which has built over 65,000 homes, has already automated

the process of sending its estimated 500 daily real estate transactions to its law firm, DelZotto Zorzi LLP. The next step, according to CIO Ted Maulucci, is to bring the same functionality to its vendors.

Manufacturers who work with Tridel have to keep large inventories in their warehouses, in an effort to “guess what we need,” explains Maulucci.

Three years ago, Tridel decided to create a cutting-edge document workflow system in order to automate document delivery, storage and retrieval processes. The goal was to generate cost-savings and greater office efficiencies.

Step one in the creation of a new system was to design a new document engine for DelZotto Zorzi. Tridel wanted to build a template that the law firm could use for a variety of legal and sales scenarios. The company used Microsoft Visual Studio development tools and the .Net Framework to put together a document merge engine featuring unlimited merge fields and conditions. This document engine included a wide range of templates designed to cover all conceivable sales/contract situations and an array of residences, from townhouses to condominiums.

Tridel also employed Visual Studio to develop a document server. DelZotto Zorzi staffers can use this server to automatically print and collate documents for Tridel. The actual printing can be done overnight so documents are ready by morning. 

As the final part of their automated document workflow system, Tridel built a Web site, partly with Microsoft Internet Information Services, that acted as a central document repository. DelZotto Zorzi staffers can download documents they need from the repository Web site and use it to safely and securely send documents to lawyers representing Tridel clients. Access to the site is carefully controlled through the use of login usernames and passwords. 

The company’s document workflow system has been “up and running for about a year. 

“We’re doing automatic runs of documents and can now close 400 deals in one day,” Maulucci said.

Cost savings have been significant: “We’re not paying courier costs, not paying photocopying charges and we’re printing less,” said Maulucci. “In hard savings, we are saving about $80-90 a deal.”

The system works so efficiently that if Tridel were to open a new sales office, it would be able to generate sales closing packages in one day’s time, he said.

Jeff Zado, senior product manager, developer tools for Microsoft Canada, said he dreams of “building a manufacturing portal” so that Tridel vendors “could log in and see what the requirements are” and adjust their inventories accordingly, thus cutting the cost of doing business even more.

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