The manufacturer is one of Australia’s most recognisable brands and one of the largest food producers in Australia and New Zealand. Founded in Sydney over 100 years ago, the company has expanded through organic growth and acquisitions to employ more than 8,000 staff who support their operations. With suppliers vital to the sustainability of the business, the manufacturer sought a solution to streamline its accounts payable processes and ensure invoices are paid on time.
Working with Canon Business Services (formerly Converga), the manufacturer deployed a fully integrated automated accounts payable (automated AP) solution, configured to automate invoice matching and drive new efficiencies while removing the burden from time-poor accounts payable staff.
The manufacturer’s accounts payable (AP) team processes more than 20,000 invoices every month. These invoices come from thousands of suppliers, each with their own invoice template and terms – many of which require payment within 7 days.
All invoices must be matched to purchase orders before being sent to the relevant internal stakeholder for approval. This manual process was costing AP staff hundreds of hours every week, and presenting significant risks to the company when key vendors experienced processing delays.
The manufacturer met with the CBS team who demonstrated the automated accounts payable solution. “Our financial services provider knew another business was using CBS’ solution successfully, and recommended that we bring that same technology to our business” said the customer.
After engaging with the team, CBS deployed a fully configured automated AP solution which:
The solution has increased the manufacturer’s visibility of invoices and enabled efficient processing of more than 20,000 invoices per month.
"Together with CBS’ team, we completed lots of internal testing and then went out to the greater business community to show people how to use it. The solution is quite simple and intuitive so it didn’t take long for staff to learn it.“
“The solution has allowed us to increase visibility and run reports to identify exceptions and bottlenecks, while improving cashflow because we know what invoices are in the system ready for payment. It also helps us identify issues, such as whether a site is not receiving purchase orders in time.
Another major benefit is that suppliers have access to the system so they can see where their invoice is at. This is a great advantage because they don’t need to contact us and we save lots of time fielding calls. This has been a huge improvement to our customer experience.
When we started we had 10 people managing 20,000+ invoices. Now we have 4. It has given time back to our accounts payable department to focus on more complex tasks.”
The manufacturer also utilises CBS’ outsourcing solution to assist with exceptions: “CBS’ team in Manila assist with basic exceptions so our team can focus on more complex issues in-house. It’s a cost effective resource that helps us ensure we pay suppliers on time if we are not able to automatically match a transaction.”
Moving forward, the time and cost savings for the AP department has enabled the manufacturer to seek out other opportunities for business workflow improvements.
“If we can go to the next level in the AP team it’s exciting as it removes a whole heap of noise coming through the business – such as an invoice not getting paid or sitting on someone’s desk beyond terms.
We have a corporate responsibility to pay all vendors on time, as well as a new law which requires us to report on how quickly we pay small businesses. By introducing tech to make invoicing processes simpler and more efficient, we can achieve a better customer experience as well as compliance and other improvements to the business.
Canon Business Services is a great business partner. If there’s an issue we can escalate it and they always seek to rectify it quickly. They also provide value-add through suggestions and support, and are very receptive to our ideas.”
Automated AP has helped the manufacturer increase efficiency, save time and resources, and improve their vendor experience. If your business is struggling with similar challenges, contact us for an obligation-free and confidential discussion.