Manufacturer Saves with Automation via Company-Wide ERP Connection.
We can now go into our ERP software and click on a link to view the associated paperwork relating to the transactional information, which across 65 sites has been magic and saved a lot of phone calls and emails.
Damien Frost, General Manager Finance, Brickworks
Prior to automation, Brickworks relied on a team of Accounts Payable (AP) clerks to manually process 10,000 invoices per month. An invoice was generally touched 8 times during processing which opened the door for delays and manual errors. As part of their continuous improvement practices, Brickworks recognized the opportunity to improve this business-critical process and turned to Efficiency Leaders to implement Kofax’ Business-Critical SharePoint solution. The outcomes of the deployed solution were maximized by connecting and better utilizing their existing line of business systems and Microsoft® SharePoint® 2010 for improved efficiencies and return of investment.
Paper-Based and Manual Workflows
General Manager Finance, Damien Frost, arrived at the company in 2007 to find a paper-based workflow in place to deal with around 10,000 invoices a month.
Invoices getting lost was quite common and they bounced around different locations trying to find the right person to approve them,
The typical flow of invoice processing was to create a manual purchase order then upon receipt of the goods the invoice would be stamped, reviewed and approved by a manager who would sign it and then send it to accounts payable with the purchase order attached. The data would be keyed into the ERP system, generate a batch that would be reviewed by a manager who would manually review the invoices again before the batch was released for payment.
Processes Years Behind
We did a process flow analysis and found that an invoice was generally touched eight times by our staff. We had over a dozen staff doing data entry in accounts payable alone, our processes were years behind where we needed to be,”
The large number of suppliers, over 11,000 individual firms, meant a wide variety of invoice formats are received and thus any automation project would have to address the requirement of extracting the invoice data without the use of templates, before entry into Brickworks Maximise ERP software. Additional complexities facing AP automation included multiple currencies, multiple versions of the ERP system and more than 20 company entities that would need to reference the different versions depending on the recipient company that was invoiced.
Brickworks decided to introduce automated account payables workflows and increase efficiency in their business-critical processes by connecting their existing line of business systems with SharePoint. Implemented by Australian and New Zealand solutions provider, Efficiency Leaders, the Business- Critical SharePoint (BCSP) solution integrates Kofax Capture, Kofax Transformation Modules and Maximise Financials via Microsoft SharePoint 2010. It provides user interaction for both workflow and image and data storage and includes complex routing for review/approval and receipting for processing invoices.
Automated Workflows Implemented
Now Brickworks employees are able to raise and approve purchase orders on line rather than manually, so that these can be automatically matched with scanned invoices. The solution delivers automatic classification and separation of documents. The solution also caters for supporting documents which are combined with the invoice and stored as one file linked to the finance system, enabling easy retrieval when the need arises.
Seamless User Experience
After scanning, all invoices are still checked by an operator for accuracy, and then if the scanned invoice is matched with a purchase order it will go straight through to the ERP platform for payment. Otherwise it is delivered in an ELAP workflow so that the PO raiser can action any unresolved items. In the case of non PO invoice, the appropriate manager receives an email with a digital copy of the invoice for approval. Once they submit it for payment, it will check the manager has the right authority as set out in the ERP system.
Significant Savings across the Company
In our test locations we have had around a third of invoices going straight through with a match to a PO. If I am able to replicate that across the business our savings will be significant and our ultimate target is even higher than that. We can now go into our ERP software and click on a link to view the associated paperwork relating to the transactional information, which across 65 sites has been magic and saved a lot of phone calls and emails,
Efficiency Leaders adds,
SharePoint 2010 had never been used at this level of integration. Making the user experience as seamless as possible required all products and parties to work closely together.
Brickworks Building Products in Australia has a long history as a supplier of building materials dating back as far as 1908. Brickworks employs over 1200 staff and has operations at over 65 different locations across Australia and New Zealand as well as a distributor network that supports export sales to countries such as Japan, Taiwan, Korea and the Middle East.
When General Manager – Finance, Damien Frost, arrived at the company in 2007 he found a paper-based workflow in place to deal with around 10,000 invoices a month in support of Brickworks’ operations in over 60 different locations across Australia and New Zealand.