Sterling Energy Company
Headquartered in Denver, Colorado, Sterling Energy Company is a utility company that provides natural gas gathering, processing, infrastructure, and related services to oil and gas production companies throughout the Denver-Julesburg Basin. Since 2011, this has included ongoing investment in the infrastructure necessary to serve producer customers in a safe, responsible, and cost-efficient manner.
“The marketplace for oil and gas infrastructure providers is extremely competitive,” said Chad Leavitt, chief financial officer, Sterling Energy.
“Fortunately, there are strategic means to stay competitive—even in a tight business environment. Performing assets, experienced management, committed investors, thoughtful financial planning, and the agility to meet client needs beyond core requirements are essential.”
“In 2013, we expanded our services to producers with the addition of a freshwater transportation pipeline. This is a service we didn’t provide when we started the company. Our leadership is committed to improving its understanding of producer clients’ needs, constantly assessing their needs, and implementing necessary and new methodologies.”
Enhanced field coordination
This commitment to innovation included going live with the Epicor Enterprise Content Management (ECM) system (formerly called DocStar) with advanced workflow and reporting as well as Artsyl docAlpha intelligent data capture in January 2017. Sterling Energy selected the program primarily for being cloud-based and its ability to improve productivity through enhanced interdepartmental collaboration—especially in the field—and eliminate time-consuming, manual document management processes.
Epicor achieved this by storing documents from virtually any input device in a cloud-based environment and accessible from widely distributed locations. This also involved smoothly integrating with existing software applications to automatically capture, save, and index records for easy retrieval or tracking across multiple versions.
“Prior to DocStar [now Epicor], we had no way to coordinate and share the details of customer transactions made by our people in the field,” recalled Kathleen Flanagan, senior financial and project accountant, Sterling Energy. “Each new record, notation, or purchase request had to be input from a computer in our offices. The system was totally incompatible with mobile devices—there was no way to share information from the field in real-time. This meant we couldn’t approve new purchases on-the-spot in front of customers to save time or even share customer updates between sales, support, and office staff as they were happening.”
Instantaneous access from remote locations
After learning about the system at a trade conference, Sterling Energy invited Epicor representatives to visit its Denver-based offices and address its concerns with the existing system. According to Flanagan, the on-screen demonstration not only showed how the solution worked overall but also specifically its ability to instantaneously access customer files from the cloud and deliver them to remote locations and greatly speed the purchase approval process.
“We love it,” explained Flanagan. “DocStar ECM [now Epicor] is accessible from anywhere—as long as there is a WiFi connection. Our salespeople literally had to drive hours to our headquarters after meeting with clients to input their notes and get new deals approved. This is now done in moments through a tablet. As a result, they’ve been freed to spend far more time generating new business.”
Flanagan also cited numerous other internal efficiencies. For instance, through Epicor ECM, the invoice approval process has been reduced from a full day to one hour. Subsequently, cash flow has increased through the quicker payment of clients, which has lowered the entire sale, invoice, approval, and payment timeframe by about 15 days. This was all achieved through a process that has also virtually eliminated invoicing errors.
“We’ve never had a problem,” added Flanagan.
“In fact, DocStar [now Epicor] has been there to answer every question. This even includes helping us resolve third-party issues that have nothing to do with DocStar ECM [now Epicor]. They have certainly become a solid partner in our ongoing growth.”