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Matt TraversCase Studies, Records Management

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From Fire Hoses to the Cloud, It Has Been a 5 Alarm Ride for Reed Records Management.

Rawhide Fire Hose, located in Wooster, Ohio has been offering quality fire hose supplies since 1976 and takes pride in providing customers with quick turnaround times and same-day shipping on most fire hoses.

While most companies stick with their original product and/or service offering, Rawhide's President/Owner Keith Eriksen encountered an unexpected opportunity when a local records management company became available for sale. Keith recognized that he had several of the essential assets/resources needed to run a successful record center (space, manpower, community contacts and extensive business experience). Upon that realization, he decided that it would be an excellent business to acquire.

So in October 2014, in addition to remaining in the fire hose supply business, Reed Records Management was born and is currently a full service records storage operation storing nearly 35,000 boxes for 75 customers. The company now offers secure, certified document destruction and scanning services as well.


Leadership is being bold enough to have vision and yet humble enough to recognize that it will take the efforts of many people, including the right technology partner, to succeed in this new venture.

Keith explains: "I had very little knowledge regarding the business operation and O'Neil's software solutions. I just knew that we were using various aspects of their technology during the day, whether it was administrative or within the operation," he notes.

"The former owner had been using O'Neil, but I wasn't experienced on the records management software side. So I decided to research available software options, not only in terms of applications and features, but also by contacting outside industry experts. Additionally, I reached out to our O'Neil account manager and was sold from our first conversation that the overall support was going to be exceptional. It became clear to me that O'Neil would be our best strategic software partner."

Keith recalls: "One of the first things O'Neil's Technical Support staff did was review our administrative settings. Everyone here was using the same log in and had access to everything in the system, including authorization to change and delete any record. We did a screen share and went through all items to assign authorization levels and only I was provided access to the administrative level. Over the course of the next several months, we continued to address issues, concerns and inconsistencies in the way things had originally been set up."

He continues: "While all of that was occurring, we discovered being a couple of versions behind, which was primarily due to our internal servers being at capacity and not being able to be upgraded to a more current version of Windows® server. Additionally, O'Neil's RSWeb®.NET and RS-SQL® were being run on the same server, which is not ideal in terms of security. A better secure firewall encryption system and a reliable disaster recovery back-up system was also needed. So we decided to upgrade to O'Neil Stratus, which ended up being a remarkably smooth transition."

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Up to when Keith took possession of the record center and operation he acquired, staff were hand writing work orders, as well as pick ups and deliveries. A scanner was only used to refile a box or file folder.

Keith recognized that sooner or later, any company not operating efficiently wouldn't remain competitive, so he needed to boost operational efficiency wherever possible. He determined that his record center needed the accuracy and speed of a mobile device, including a portable printer.

Keith points out: "Utilizing scanners and wireless technology has saved us a tremendous amount of time, both in processing work orders and data entry. It's much faster and provides sound data integrity. We can respond to customer requests for boxes, files folders and information (reports) extremely fast, all the while providing accuracy."

"Now utilizing O'Neil Stratus, we can do item searches from anywhere and work orders can be instantly submitted and received from any location. It only requires a device with access to the Internet. Faster transmission of a work order request leads to quicker response time and the ability to update progress in real time, to keep staff informed every step of the way."


A wonderful advantage of O'Neil Stratus is the easy re-allocation of resources.

Keith notes: "Since one of the main characteristics of this service is its flexibility, we can now quickly access more resources as we need to expand our records storage and management business. No need to buy extra infrastructure, or worry about maintaining servers/components. O'Neil monitors our system usage and takes the appropriate action to increase system resources."

He continues: "Another very important factor is security. This is paramount to us and although many people may have doubts about cloud-based computing in general, it actually tends to be more secure than traditional business models. It provides an even safer environment for our data and establishes a reliable disaster recovery back-up strategy as well."

"O'Neil Stratus includes a full disaster recovery solution. Our business gets maximum uptime and we never have to be worried about making backups again, as they are done automatically at regular intervals."

Keith adds: "When utilizing O'Neil Stratus, O'Neil takes responsibility for providing any software upgrades and maintenance to our O'Neil Stratus environment."

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Being in a leadership position is far more than just a title to Keith Eriksen. It's about taking actions to create continued, positive technological transformations within a company and helping to implement them for the future.

When asked about the specific characteristics of O'Neil's Technical Support services and how they assist him in reaching his business goals, Keith responded: "You can't beat the technical support, personal attention and follow-up given to customers like me. Also, their continuous improvement makes all the difference. Because the business of technology is ever-changing, something that is cutting-edge today might be obsolete next year, or even next week."

"O'Neil makes every attempt to stay ahead of the technology curve (for example, developing O'Neil Stratus). I am confident that they will continue to do their part to facilitate the success of the O'Neil customer base."