FUJIFILM Europe GmbH (Duesseldorf, Germany) is a subsidiary of Fujifilm Corporation. It acts as Strategic Headquarters for the Europe region and supports its group companies formulating marketing and corporate strategies. Fujifilm companies in Europe operate in more than 50 companies and employ more than 5000 people engaged in R&D, manufacturing, sales, and service support.
FUJIFILM Europe uses a Lotus Notes based CRM system to keep track of customers, leads and other opportunities. A requirement arose from the business to create quotations as PDF files directly from the CRM system so that they could be emailed to customers and archived within the CRM system. The existing method of creating PDFs via a MS Word processor was cumbersome, inflexible and time consuming. The new method had to be quick, easy and work on server based databases as well as local replicas on the users’ laptops.
FUJIFILM Europe chose SWING PDF Converter because of its tight integration with Lotus Notes and because it does not require anything to be installed outside of Lotus Notes. With SWING PDF Converter all the files required by the Lotus Notes client are installed automatically the first time a user uses the product.
“To produce a PDF quotation, I created an alternate Notes form which was laid out according to the specification for the quote”, said Rob Porter, Notes developer at FUJIFILM Europe. “Each line of the quote, i.e. the products and services included in the quote, is actually a separate document which is displayed within the quote form in the Notes client in an embedded view. To get this into the PDF in an agreeable format I created a rich text field on the alternate form. My LotusScript code loops through the quote line documents and builds a DXL table in the rich text field with each quote line in a separate table row. Once this step is complete the PDF converter creates a PDF of the quote using the alternate form.”
In regard to the development effort put into this project, Rob Porter said that “The SWING documentation for developers is clear and easy to follow. Anyone with some Lotus Notes development experience should have no difficulty implementing a SWING PDF Converter solution in their Lotus Notes databases”.
Also, during the course of the development, Rob had “…a number of technical queries which the support people at SWING Software were quick to resolve. They rapidly produced updates that allowed me to include graphics in the PDF document header and footer as well as adjust the header and footer page margins. Thanks to their speedy aid I was able to produce a robust solution which is now in production [environment]”.
The entire process from the moment the user clicks the button to create a PDF quote until the PDF is displayed has now been reduced to only a few seconds. Previously the same process could have taken upto an hour since the quotes were created in Excel and then manually copied and pasted into a Word template.
The new solution has initially been rolled out to about 150 users on two servers. The intention is to roll the system out to other countries and divisions in future as well.
In conclusion, Rob Porter says: “Besides the benefits of creating the quotations in a database which can be viewed by more than just the person preparing the quote, the speed and ease with which a quote PDF can be created has impressed the users. The time saved on each quote is about an hour. There are about ten quotes a week which gives a saving of ten man hours a week or forty man hours a month.”