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A&E Graphics

A&E – The Graphics Complex Logo

Award winning Houston graphics company, A&E – The Graphics Complex, has over 40 years serving the Houston market for graphics products and services, and over 10 years working with SDSI software products. "A&E" stands for "Architects & Engineers", originally the primary customers for A&E’s products and services.

As Director of Accounting Information Systems, Tom Frazee has managed A&E’s information technology strategy since the legacy days of mini-computers and slow-modem bulletin boards, and has been the architect of A&E’s technology applications which have helped build them into the leading Houston-area reprographics solutions and services provider.

According to Tom, A&E’s productivity and labor savings from the use of SDSI’s UnForm Print Management and e-document software extends “well into the tens of thousands of dollars annually”. And that’s without counting “The Wow Factor” Tom refers to when describing the positive feedback A&E has gotten from customers and company sales personnel referring to the automated personalized touches that are built into some of the applications.

Probably the most interesting personalized touch enabled by A&E’s use of UnForm is on their customer quotation form, which is part of the custom-developed order entry system. Based on the salesperson ID assigned to the customer and the quotation type, two dynamically-determined objects are placed in a PDF version of the quotation. The first is a graphic picture of the salesperson who is assigned to the customer, which appears at the bottom of the form. The second is a targeted promotional “did you know” phrase near the top which is randomly selected from a database of promo phrases which are tied to the quotation type.

As mentioned earlier, the savings A&E realizes from its original investment for two 5-user UnForm software licenses and a 1-user GUI design tool license, runs well into the tens of thousands of dollars each year. According to Tom, the E-Doc revolution has virtually eliminated the company’s reliance on the fax machine for quick delivery of time-sensitive sales and marketing documents, so in addition to substantial savings from eliminating paper, cost reductions from reduced per-call telephone charges have significantly contributed to overall savings.

In Tom’s words, "UnForm gives us the ability to create a pdf file for our quotes that is a lot more than plain text. The ability to dynamically insert the sales rep’s picture, and the use of color and our logos makes for a form that is just more attractive and professional. I’m sure there are other ways to do this but UnForm lets us do it within our existing business accounting software package. There is no need to export data and develop an outside application, we can do it all ourselves."

The above form, and Tom’s comments about it, relate to one specific application of UnForm. A&E uses UnForm for a variety of other different jobs, as do most UnForm end users. Some of the other jobs and uses for UnForm at A&E are the following:

  • “Digital Vault” web service order and transmittal PDF forms
  • Customer web services for account info and links to statements, invoices and reprints, with output to PDF via UnForm
  • Purchase Order Form, Service Agreement Form, Vacation Request Form
  • Automated business close-out run daily in early morning, 40 chained programs producing sales stat and trend reports output to PDF format and emailed via UnForm
  • Filter a lot of other internal reporting through UnForm for PDF output