International mining group Exxaro is adopting new electronic document management to improve the management of its operations.

Exxaro mines for coal, mineral sands (used in the production of titanium and other metals), base metals and iron ore. The initiative will create a single consolidated document management system to facilitate knowledge sharing, provide easy access to information across multiple sites, promote best practice and guarantee legal compliance, said Exxaro.

Exxaro is using a Kodak-based system for its South African mines, which will see Scan Station 500 network scanners and Capture Pro Software Auto Import Edition software being used, which at the same time will be integrated with a Microsoft SharePoint 2010 document sharing and management platform.

Dirk Short, projects IT engineer for the South African Namakwa Sands operation, spanning three main sites, said: "We have sites 320 km apart. Our WAN links are good, but even so, there was limited collaboration on a document level, duplication was commonplace and standards were not in place across the business, in terms of document naming conventions and control."

Short said: "The project is about bringing everybody together, and creating a system to handle all paperwork from reports, to engineering manuals, and a myriad office and financial documents."

The Kodak and Sharepoint system will be used to capture and store invoices and purchase orders for seven years, personnel and medical records for 15 years from an employee's date of exit, and technical drawings and mine plans for the lifetime of a mine.

Accessing information in SharePoint is fully automated. Staff load in documents via the Kodak system by touching icons on scanner screens and the document is instantly saved to the relevant folder, with metadata immediately generated in the appropriate SharePoint columns.

The company is applying Capture Pro Software OCR (optical character recognition) to documents so they become searchable PDFs, with some financial documents automatically imported into its Mincom Ellipse ERP system.

In other recent electronic document management news, UK-based Ferring Pharmaceuticals, a global specialist in the field of peptide and protein chemistry, brought in EDM supplier Version One to improve purchase-to-pay efficiency, reduce manual data entry and cut off-site storage costs.