Currently everything gets scanned into an electronic file cabinet after we work it. This should be done up front, when the mail comes in & then distributed to via an automated work distribution system (AWD). This would reduce lost in transit mail, make tracking mail & productivity easier & allow for a more even distribution of work. The mail room would scan into the AWD, set up each file based on type of correspondence. Various icons would be created and distributed/available in a "queue". It can genuinely be "worked" in date order, easily found by searching file #/ssn & allow accurate counts of available work. This would make it easier to track correspondence when Veterans call in for information. The phone unit would be able to search for the Vets information by file #/ssn. Also, by scanning up front/using AWD we cut down paper costs & reduce response time. The ability to save completed forms as we complete them creates additional savings of time, paper & mailing costs. Make certain "queues" available for VA offices to review which will further cut mailing costs (all the mail forwarded to various committees and regional offices for review/decisions).
1) Reduce lost mail. By scanning mail up front there is less chance of loss once it reaches us. This would provide better service to our veterans.
2) Reduce mailing expenses. The system would be partially accessible to regional offices so they are able to “flag” important files or make notations and inform veterans of status. Also this would allow committees to review and grant/deny requests in a more timely manor.
3) Reduce repeat phone calls. With this system Veterans will be better served and reduce multiple calls to track down the status of a request.
4) Increase productivity and ability to track performance, workload and work type accurately and easily. Ability to “push” expedited work more efficiently.
This would be a time saving, money saving, waste cutting program that the VA most definitely needs!