Contributed by: Katherine Anderson, Scanning and Records Supervisor and Amanda Day-Janecek, Controller Assistant, Florida Board of Professional Engineers
The Florida Board of Professional Engineers (FBPE) is responsible for reviewing applications, administering examinations, licensing qualified applicants and regulating the practice of engineering throughout Florida. Licensing is a very time consuming, paper intensive, multi-step process that can take several months from beginning to end. Here is how FBPE simplified the licensing process with Laserfiche.
Before the Laserfiche implementation, the licensure department would receive up to 250 professional engineer (PE) and engineering intern (EI) applications a day. From intake to analyst, the paper application would be handled by as many as ten different people. It would take up to two weeks before the application was ready to be sent for review and approval. At bi-monthly board meetings, each board member would evaluate up to 200 paper applications at a time.
Here is an outline of the legacy process:
Applications are now scanned into Laserfiche directly as they are received. They are profiled and Laserfiche Workflow distributes them to the analyst for processing in no more than two days. The Executive Director is notified by e-mail when batches of files are available for her to review. She can approve applications that do not require board member approval.
The appropriate applications are sent to a board folder to await approval at monthly board meetings. At the board meetings, the board members provide an automatic approval or denial along with comments through Laserfiche Web Access on the iPad. Here is what the current licensing process looks broken down step-by-step.
- Applications to sit for examinations and licensure by endorsement are submitted to our office by mail or in person. The receptionist scans them directly into Laserfiche and applies the following document template.
- The receptionist also opens a file in our LicenseEase database and assigns a file and application number.
- Laserfiche Workflow then routes the application to the finance department for profiling and approval of the daily log. Profiling entails inserting demographic data from the application into LicenseEase. The daily log is an Excel spreadsheet exported from Laserfiche containing a list of all applications and money received by the office daily.
- After demographic information is verified, Laserfiche Workflow distributes the applications to the different analysts based on application type. Depending on the type of application, an analyst must process it within 10, 30 or 90 days. A separate workflow calculates and assigns a due date for the application processing. Here is what this workflow looks like:The “Date Token Calculator” activity is used to calculate the due date.
- The application is reviewed and processed by an analyst. The analyst communicates with the applicant to complete the application. In order to make sure that the analyst is on track to complete the processing by the deadline, another workflow monitors the applications and sends e-mail reminders when there are a certain number of days left before the processing due date. Here is what this workflow looks like:
Below is the configuration of one of the “E-mail” activities:
- Once the application is processed and complete, Laserfiche Workflow forwards it to either the Executive Director or the board for approval. Here is what the workflow branch responsible for forwarding the applications to the board looks like:
- In order to make it easy for the board members to know where to enter their comments, Laserfiche Workflow uses the “Assign Field Values” activity to enter a default value of “Insert Comments Here…” for the “Board Comments” field.
- If the Executive Director or board approves the application, the applicant is scheduled for an exam, or, if applying for endorsement, is issued a number. If the application is denied, Laserfiche Workflow routes the file back to the analyst, who contacts the applicant and gives them an opportunity to submit supplemental information to complete the application for a second board review or request a hearing. Here is what the workflow that handles denied applications that have been sent back to the Board looks like:
- This workflow resets “Board Approval” and “Board Comments” fields and creates relevant document short-cuts in the board’s Laserfiche folders.
- If approved, the approved application is sent to the “Scheduling” folder where any analyst can access it and schedule an applicant to take the appropriate exam. Another workflow checks to see when an exam score has been received and entered into the template. If an applicant successfully passes the exam, he is issued a license number. Here is what this workflow looks like:
- Laserfiche Workflow then routes the application for permanent storage in the Laserfiche repository.
- Throughout the whole licensure process, the “WF History” field is updated to reflect every action that has been taken on the application.
Advantages of Laserfiche
Implementing Laserfiche has resulted in multiple benefits for FBPE.
- An analyst receives the application and can start processing it two days after it was initially submitted, as compared to two weeks before the Laserfiche implementation.
- FBPE has saved $3,000 a month in off-site storage rental that is no longer necessary.
- Public records requests are now processed in minutes, not weeks.
- Laserfiche Workflow significantly reduces errors and eliminates missing documents.