For more than 100 years, Corporación Hijos de Rivera has operated independently as a 100% Spain-based and family-owned company. The company faces the future with a broad portfolio comprised of beer, mineral water, wine, cider, sangria, and liquor, backed by strong growth that has led to doubling revenues in the last five years and securing its position as a prestigious Spanish manufacturer with a strong international presence. Today, the company’s products are available throughout Spain and in more than 30 countries worldwide.
The company’s history began with beer production. Established in 1906, it grew over the years beyond its flagship brand, Estrella Galicia, and introduced new products like 1906 Reserva Especial and Estrella Galicia 0.0, eventually creating a full range of beers renowned for making quality its trademark. In the last two decades, this innovative company’s growth has far surpassed the industry average, and its brands have positioned themselves solidly in Spain as well as Brazil, Australia, China, Russia, the Philippines, the United States, and many other countries.
Prior to implementing Alfresco, Estrella Galicia lacked a single, enterprise-wide document management solution and relied instead on a proprietary system for managing vendor invoicing with all documents stored on network drives, hard drives, and other systems.
The project’s initial aim was to manage vendor invoicing and then extend the document management platform to all departments. The Accounts Payable Department was handling an average of 4,000 new documents per month, but the volume is now larger as more departments and companies in the group have joined.
“When choosing the new document management platform, we knew it had to be open source, scalable, and easily extensible to other company departments. It was also crucial for the solution to be supported by a network of partners and have the guarantee of a company like Alfresco,” says José Manuel Santiso, ICT business manager of Estrella Galicia.
They explored other technology options such as Documentum, SharePoint, and KnowledgeTree before making a decision, finally opting to implement Alfresco Enterprise 3.3.4.
Project development began in 2007 with an initial introductory period of six months in which Estrella Galicia worked side-by-side with Queres Tecnologías, an integrator of all current solutions implemented in the Alfresco document management system.
The invoice approval process involves several people, from the individual who makes the request to the head of the financial department. The department heads and directors usually have the heaviest workload, with between 30 to 40 invoices to manage every day.
Therefore, the key reason to introduce the new document management platform was the ability to speed up invoice management by enabling faster invoice access and approval.
Moreover, the Queres solution for managing invoice workflows via mobile apps for the iPad and iPhone has allowed management to access the application at any time from anywhere and manage (approve/reject) these documents through just four screens on their device. “Right now, around 40 managers are benefiting from the new system,” says Carlos Figueiras, director of ICT for Estrella Galicia. “It’s too time-consuming to check so many invoices, even if they have no problems. This single platform and the mobile aspect allow us to maintain the flow of invoices, avoiding bottlenecks, and successfully manage them at any time and from anywhere,” he adds.
As a part of the new solution, Alfresco is currently integrated with many different technologies, including the following: iOS mobile apps for the iPhone and iPad; a vendor invoicing portal using CMIS; a proprietary ERP system, using Web Services and Web Scripts; as well as numerous proprietary applications using Web Scripts.
The technology stack includes MySQL as the database manager, Tomcat as the applications manager, and Redhat as the operating system, all in accordance with the partner’s instructions and recommendations from Alfresco.
Establishing the basis for invoicing workflow management has led to significant evolutionary improvements in this department as well as customized document management in other departments, such as Quality Control and Health & Safety, with at least one department being integrated every year. In fact, today the system manages over 150,000 documents and the size of the repository is approximately 24 Gb.
“When we started in 2007, we had a very clear idea: to move from an extremely mixed and largely inflexible proprietary system to a single document storage system for vendor invoicing, with every ability to make subsequent developments and improvements,” says the ICT business manager.
The document management platform that Queres has developed for Alfresco has met the scalability requirements, capable of growing incrementally and to other departments, and it is mobile. As Figueiras points out, this means that “we directors can work faster. We can get through routine tasks easily and spend more time creating value and business strategies”.
Other qualitative benefits that Estrella Galicia is experiencing include ease of use and considerable savings in the time spent on repetitive tasks, both advantages which, it says, improve services internally and externally.
“Both we and our partner are firmly committed to Alfresco’s document management platform, and we plan to promote the tool and extend it to more departments,” concludes Carlos Figueiras.