The name KEMA-KEUR dates back to a time when KEMA Quality was a division of consultancy and research firm KEMA N.V. Since 2009, KEMA Quality has been part of DEKRA. All testing, inspection, auditing and certification activities of the former KEMA Quality now constitutes an integral part of DEKRA's service catalogue. In the Netherlands, KEMA-KEUR is a term that is synonymous with safety. Certificates issued are pure securities, and all related documents and correspondence on the matter are of the utmost importance.
In an interview, Remco Mol and Isabella Roosenboom make it clear what ITP’s role in this is and how the project was approached. Remco Mol is an IT manager who was involved in the selection and implementation of ITP in 2006. The IT department is managing systems in use all around the world, some of which it has developed itself and some of which it has purchased, such as ITP. Since ITP has been introduced the task of template creation and maintenance, for all countries, is looked after by Isabella Roosenboom.
ITP as a central document storage tool
Remco Mol: “We earn our money by providing documents, so you have to go the extra mile and have everything in perfect order!”
For DEKRA, the choice is quite clear: all documents that DEKRA makes, both internal and external documents, are produced with ITP. Where quality assurance is a top priority, only one output application is supported by the IT department, with a minimum number of templates. This way, all quotations, invoices, certificates, reports and letters look as uniform as possible, with quality guaranteed. No matter where in the world they are sent or supplied, from the Netherlands to Japan, all documents are managed and maintained in a centralised manner.
Documents are always part of a work process
Mol notes that DEKRA adheres to one key underlying principle: “We always view the production of a document as part of a work process - never as a stand-alone activity. That means all of our work processes in the various ITP applications launch when a document comes into play.” Thus, the IT landscape has been set up so that ITP is interconnected with all of the business applications like a spider in a web.
Uses of ITP
We have, for instance, an Opportunity Management system that can be used to produce quotations. The system guides the user through collecting all of the information needed to prepare the quotation. Then there is a button to start up ITP, the right template is retrieved and everything is laid out in a Word document. If you select a particular service for the quotation, special text blocks will be displayed. In addition to directly linking a specific work process in a business application to a particular template, you also have access to an online correspondence manual that can be used to create letters of confirmation.
The same is true of the tool we use to register our certificates. The details to be registered are entered and the user clicks on a button to generate the actual certificate. Using ITP in Digisign is certainly a special feature. It is a tool that we developed ourselves to digitally sign documents: ITP receives a document, applies a signature and then creates a secure PDF file from it. In addition to this, the invoices are created from the project files and a polling batch job runs to check if any new invoices are ready, then passes the details to ITP. These invoices are either printed or sent to internal customers by email. Finally, ITP is used to send a number of different types of emails, such as internal emails to auditors.
Centralized document management and maintenance
Isabella Roosenboom, responsible for model building and maintaining templates at DEKRA, explains ITP from the perspective of her job: “If you look at our services, we do so many kinds of product certifications, but despite that, all of our quotations are created using one basic template, with lots of variable text blocks. That makes document maintenance a bit simpler and more transparent. It's true that the ITP text block function is not yet being used for this. Instead, everything has been programmed in with IF and ELSE, which we’ve used to make a very elegant solution. We are certainly going to look at the new version of ITP because the text block management functionality simplifies work quite a bit and offers new possibilities. In terms of the multi-language application we need at DEKRA, if you look at countries like China and Japan, it would certainly be nice if users could apply changes themselves.” What is in fact notable, is that Isabella is actually the central ITP user in the large DEKRA organisation. She literally sees all changes as they come to pass and personally communicates on the fine-tuning, in terms of content, legalities and sales.
Convenience of ITP during DEKRA and KEMA Quality integration
During DEKRA’s acquisition of KEMA Quality, the level of convenience provided by ITP quickly became apparent when all of the documents had to change their names and corporate styles. It was relatively quick and easy to convert all of the documents that were saved as ITP templates at that time. Of course, some other changes were made to the documents as well. In most cases, it was a matter of applying all changes at the same time from a single location, in a centralised template (a kind of master template). Once the benefits of using ITP had been demonstrated so clearly, other departments switched over to interfacing their document output with the centralised ITP system. ITP will also play a key role in the near future, which for DEKRA will be about growth and expansion. New business units can be integrated more quickly if all required documents and certificates can be created in an efficient and centralised manner.