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Analysis: Simple Workflow Begets Better HR, IT and SOX Compliance

Trucking company Cardinal Logistics is using Web-based workflow to automate IT requests, equipment purchasing and, next up, Sarbanes-Oxley-compliant financial reporting.
When you're handing the keys to an 18-wheeler over, it's nice to know the driving record and work history of the driver have been thoroughly vetted. Trucking company Cardinal Logistics is using Web-based workflow to automate IT requests, equipment purchasing and, next up, Sarbanes-Oxley-compliant financial reporting. What got the ball, or in this case the truck, rolling was a workflow-enabled hiring process.

"Just one accident could cost of millions of dollars, so controlling who drives the truck is the most important thing we can do to control our success," says Jonathan Turner, vice president of MIS at the Concord, NC-based company.

Cardinal has nearly 2,000 drivers, and its 125 field locations across the country are constantly in search of new employees and independent contractors. At its core, the hiring process is a simple matter of checking driving, employment and, in some cases, credit histories. But with as many as 200 records submitted to headquarters on any given workday, the company's 11-person HR staff was struggling to keep up.

"When you're managing that much paperwork with spreadsheets, you're spending a lot of time just running the process because you're disorganized," says Turner. "There's a big chance that something could slip through."

To create a surer process, Cardinal implemented iApprove Web-based workflow software from Integrify in mid 2003. The system has since supported a 30-percent increase in hiring as the company has expanded; yet HR staffing has remained stable at 11 employees.

"There's now no way to get a driver approved without going through the workflow," says Turner. "If I skip the motor vehicle records check, the system won't let you approve at the end." Each approval step is also tracked and recorded, and there are provisions for escalation for fast-tracking applications and appeals on applicant scoring if a particular location is hard-pressed to bring on new drivers.

Once the new HR process was rolled out, Cardinal used iApprove to set up Web-based forms and processes for internal IT service requests and internal hardware and software requests. The new processes took no more than two days to set up, according to Turner, and they have replaced chaotic e-mail-based approaches to setting up passwords, system access and e-mail inboxes as well as procuring and reassigning billing information for cell phones, laptops, computers and software.

Cardinal is currently a private company, but it's planning an IPO at some point in the future. Preparing for the scrutiny of SOX (Sarbanes-Oxley), the company plans to use iApprove for financial reporting attestation, with each of the 125 field offices and regional and senior managers signing off on profit-and-loss reporting beginning in the second quarter.