Document Tourism is a phrase we use to describe the process whereby a particularly important piece of paperwork “goes round the houses” upon receipt because it lacks certain critical information. The best way to explain the concept is with an example:
A Purchase Order arrives by post at the Supplier’s office. The document is directed to the Accounts Payable department via internal mail ready for processing. However as the clerk begins to enter the Purchase Order onto the in-house accounts system, he notes that the requisite purchase order is missing.
At this point the clerk must contact the account manager for the client and pass the incomplete purchase order back to them for follow-up. The account manager will almost certainly have to send a copy of the faulty document back to their contact at the purchasing company (physically or electronically) so that an amended version can be sent back. Depending on the complexity of the purchasing and payment procedures in place at the buying or selling company, there may well be several more steps involved.
Just like a tourist on a hop-on hop-off bus service, the document travels around several locations, spending varying amounts of time in each location as it makes its way back up the supply chain. Just like a traveller, every stop takes time and therefore costs money (although purchase orders don’t have to buy a coffee at every stop).
Each step in obtaining the missing data results in a delay, and if time is money (which it is), every stop on the trip costs the Supplier.
Touchless to the rescue
The way to resolve similar problems is to implement a data verification gateway, preventing incomplete forms and documents from entering the supplier’s system. Known as “Touchless Systems”, presentation of purchase orders are presented electronically, sent directly from the buyer’s accounts system to the supplier’s electronically.
Taking the example of the missing purchase order number, the document leaves the buyer’s accounts department and is checked for data integrity as it reaches the supplier. If anything is found to be incomplete, the purchase order is immediately rejected and the buyer is notified. Both buyer and supplier benefit from automated processing in this way because less time is wasted by physically passing documents for manual correction.
Touchless processing immediately cuts out the problem of document tourism as there is only ever one stage in passing information back to a buyer in the event of an incomplete request. The savings of time, effort and money will grow exponentially as fewer and fewer documents require manual correction.
For more about touchless systems and how Smart Admin could help prevent document tourism within your organisation, please get in contact.