All posts by cdumonet

Novatech Group Selects Esker to Automate Its Order Management and Accounts Payable Process

Sydney, Australia — January 31, 2018Esker, a worldwide leader in document process automation solutions and pioneer in cloud computing, today announced it has signed an agreement with Novatech Group, a leading Quebec manufacturer of doorglass, patio doors, steel doors, retractable screens and insulated glass, to automate its order management and accounts payable (AP) processes.

 

Esker’s Order Processing and Accounts Payable automation solutions will integrate with Novatech’s Oracle® E-Business Suite ERP system. Once implementation is complete, Novatech estimates it will be automating 11,500 total documents (sales orders and supplier invoices) each month through Esker.

Order management project

Novatech receives approximately 7,000 sales orders each month from customers, mostly via fax and email. Previously, the company’s process for managing these orders was heavily reliant on its team of Customer Service Representatives (CSRs) performing manual tasks. Received orders would have to be printed or collected (depending on arrival method), then hand-entered into Oracle and scanned for archiving purposes. This led to a lot of wasted time and energy, along with an increase in order backlogs and entry errors — issues that were only amplified during seasonal peaks.

According to Hélène Marcoux, customer service manager at Novatech Group, the old process was getting in the way of the department’s primary objectives. “Our goal has always been to be proactive and productive in customer interactions and keying in orders wasn’t helping,” she said. “With Esker, we’ll be able to improve the overall service we’re providing our customers. From a cost-saving standpoint, it will also help us reduce overtime hours and our reliance on temporary seasonal hires to manage spikes in order volume.”

Another benefit of order processing automation is the added visibility the solution brings. Esker’s solution is equipped with intelligent dashboards displaying live metrics and KPIs customisable by user. Eric Castonguay, operations manager at Novatech Group, considers this feature to be highly advantageous, saying: “As a manager, I need to have KPIs to see what orders are coming and going and, ultimately, prevent any issues from slowing down the operation. I’m so glad we found Esker!”

Accounts payable project

On the AP side of its business, Novatech had been experiencing similar inefficiencies as a result of manual processing. Each month, the company’s team of AP specialists are tasked with managing about 4,500 supplier invoices. The amount of paper invoices being passed around, combined with the overall lack of visibility, made for a chaotic, decentralised environment.

“Automating invoices in Esker is going to make a significant impact on our success as an AP department,” said Sonia Dumont, corporate controller at Novatech Group. “Before, there was really no way to tell where an invoice was, how long it had been there or what specialists were busier than others. Esker gives us that visibility. What’s more, we’ll no longer be missing out on early payment discounts. That’s a huge value.”

About Novatech Group

Novatech Group is a Québec company with 35 years of experience that manufactures entrance doors, doorglass, patio doors, retractable screens and custom sealed glass. Offering high quality products designed to improve the customer’s residential experience, with a range of architectural products for the residential market, Novatech Group’s development encompasses the pursuit of excellence, automation and innovation at all levels of the company. Novatech operates 13 ultra-modern plants across Canada, the United States and Europe, and its products are distributed internationally.

How Listening to Bob Dylan Might Just Make Your Business More Agile

As you may have heard, Bob Dylan recently received a Nobel Prize in Literature for, as the Nobel Committee put it, “having created new poetic expressions within the great American song tradition.”

He is the first musician to ever receive the prestigious honor.

Predictably, the news ignited a firestorm of response. Dylan enthusiasts, who have long maintained that his lyrics have transcendent artistic value, were tickled by the recognition. Many literary purists, on the other hand, were borderline outraged that a songwriter had infringed on the hallowed territory of poets and novelists.

As a diehard Dylan-ite since my early 20s, I have my own thoughts on the matter … but that’s a discussion for another time.

What the announcement of the Nobel Prize really got me thinking about was the enduring nature of Dylan the artist; specifically, something he once said about being successful, and how, in my opinion, a lot of today’s businesses would be better off if they took the old troubadour’s advice.

Embracing a “State of Becoming”

Those who get Dylan never really give him up. I can personally attest to this. And one of the biggest reasons he has such a devoted fan base is his seemingly endless capacity to recreate himself. From protest singer and electric bard to Nashville crooner and ethereal love lyricist — every version of Dylan is the same yet, somehow, entirely original.

And so it goes with Bob … always one step ahead, demanding that his audiences catch up with him and not the other way around. It’s no wonder he’s still going strong — gravelly voice and all — after all these years.

This brings me back to the quote I mentioned previously. In the 2005 Martin Scorsese-directed documentary No Direction Home, Dylan laid out the philosophy behind his elusive nature (emphasis mine):

“An artist has to be careful never to really arrive at a place where he thinks he’s at somewhere. You always have to realize that you’re constantly in a state of becoming, and as long as you’re in that realm, you’ll sort of be alright.”

It could be argued he said essentially the same thing 40 years earlier, albeit more succinctly and inauspiciously, in his song “It’s Alright Ma (I’m Only Bleeding)” when he sang, “He not busy being born is busy dying.”

Ok, so maybe success in the business world isn’t quite equitable to success as an artist. Still, it raises an important question: How many of today’s businesses, because of their past or present successes, feel as though they arrived somewhere — to a kind of real or imagined destination that they merely work to sustain rather push beyond?

It’s the Way We’ve Always Done Things

In Esker’s realm of document process automation, over and over again we encounter businesses that are reluctant to adopt new technology because they see their current processes — despite their obvious flaws — as being somehow tied to their identity. It’s the way we’ve always done things.

That’s not to say resistance to change is necessarily a bad thing. Changing solely for the sake of change is not in anyone’s best interest, and there are certainly legitimate variables that prevent change from occurring (e.g., bad timing, limited budget, etc.).

But where Dylan’s advice can really work its magic is within components of document processes that normally are considered inconsequential or too essential to a company’s identity to change in any way.

For example, a lot of companies take great pride in the personal touch of their customer service. A recent TermSync study found that over 80 percent of distributors believed their quality of customer service differentiated them from the competition; yet, only 30% of them offer their customers a self-service online portal (something 3 in 4 customers actually prefer).

Just think of all the value and opportunities within customer service that companies have lost due to not embracing a “state of becoming.”

Another example of this is in order processing, where many companies have EDI systems as part of their infrastructure. The problem is, exceptions — which can affect up to 35% of incoming EDI orders — can cause a lot of serious workflow issues. Still, a lot of business professionals feel as though EDI is the end-all-be-all and wind up missing out on the benefits that automation can bring, such as reducing EDI processing time by an average of four days versus when manual intervention exists in an EDI environment.

Fostering an efficient, agile business has never been more important than it is today. Yes, change can be a scary thing, but it’s always better to be proactive than reactive. As Dylan once sang, “May you have a strong foundation when the winds of changes shift.” Indeed, Bob.

Document process automation has been that foundation for thousands of companies — not only as a solution to address short-term problems, but as a driving force behind long-term business improvement strategies.

5 Mind-Numbing Tasks Your Accounts Receivable Team Never Has To Do Again

Money moves fast, from you to your vendors and from your customers to you. So why are Accounts Receivable (AR) departments so often stuck in outdated, time sucking practices that create unnecessary errors, waste time and prevent your valuable talent from focusing on their essential work? Why not automate those practices and make it easy for your staff to do what they do best–help your customers pay you!  You can revolutionize your AR operation by automating these 5 tasks:

1) Sending Snail-Mail Invoices. This is the 21st century. Last year 60% of companies preferred electronic invoicing, and for obvious reasons…it’s easy to track, lightning-fast to process and very more likely to be paid than a paper invoice that can be misplaced or simply thrown away. If you are reading this, your organization almost certainly already has the digital tools to distribute invoices by e-mail, including clickable links to allow for instant payment.

2) Sending One-Off Payment Reminder Emails. Customers sometimes need to be reminded to make their payments, but it can be confusing to figure out who gets the reminders and how to prioritize them.  Should you be reminding people with the highest balances or the ones that have been outstanding the longest? How can you tell if someone is overlooked? Automating your reminder list with customized messaging makes sure everyone gets an appropriate reminder at the appropriate time, and no one gets accidentally added or left out.

3) Prioritizing Collection Calls Manually. Collection calls are as tricky to prioritize as payment reminders, and your customers like them even less.  If you can generate collection call lists automatically, along with personalized call scripts, your AR team will be more successful and your revenue stream will flow more abundantly. Automated AR systems also allow you to track balances from purchase through the late payment and collection process with a minimum of manual intervention, which reduces the risks of billing errors and payment disputes.

4) Fielding Every Single Customer Inquiry In Person. While your organization is right to pride itself on its personal touch, your customers don’t have time to wait on hold while your staff rushes to answer phones. Automating your AR service options so that customers can use an online portal to resolve simple problems shows that you value your customers’ time and that you have highly-trained people on the phones when they’re needed. Tasks that your customers may be able to complete using an automated portal include:

  • Update contact and account information
  • Review account and order history
  • Simple troubleshooting, guided by online manuals
  • Register non-urgent questions and concerns via email

5) Compiling Data to Generate And Send Reports. AR isn’t just about collecting money, it’s about reporting how you get it and where it came from. Compiling reports manually not only takes an enormous amount of time, it’s very easy to make a mistake.  Converting your AR reporting from manual compilation to an automated reporting tool will give you more control over the accuracy and timeliness of your reporting, as well as the option of creating and revising reports far more quickly.

You hired your Accounts Receivable team to manage your company’s central revenue stream.  When you automate their purely administrative tasks so that they can focus on building customer relationships, you invest in their success and yours.  When your customers encounter problems with their invoicing or their payments, it reflects badly on your organization.

How the Life Science Industry is Changing

 

I was recently reading up on President Trumps proposed taxpayer budget, wondering “What will it mean for patients, hospitals and numerous other life science customers that Esker serves?” Regardless of one’s political leaning, most supply chain leaders tend to agree that healthcare costs continue to rise.

After a recent conversation with analyst firm Gartner, I took away that hospitals are facing increased demand, higher costs and there is a definite expectation that Medicare funding will be reduced. There is a new culture where hospitals must consistently improve patient outcomes, their education of doctors, and lower overall hospital costs.

Life science providers can anticipate more demand for their products as medical professionals become more comfortable with medical devices and joint replacements. A good friend of mine who is a retired airline captain, tennis player and ski instructor jokes about a hip replacement procedure being required at one point in the future as it means he will be able to maintain a lifestyle close to what he has enjoyed so far. Who doesn’t want to play tennis or coach their grandkids to play ball? I recall an HBR publication that highlighted many babies born today have an excellent chance of becoming centenarians assuming a healthy lifestyle and access to best in class care and life science applications later on.

The life science providers are combining processes and technology that allow them to lower production costs, improve overall quality and get products to the hospital faster. These manufacturers are likely to be doing more business with the hospitals via direct channels in the future. To meet the increased demand and price pressures they will have to be able to handle a significantly greater scale of customers placing orders directly.

Supply chain leaders are aware that customer experience will dominate purchase decisions within the next three years. For that reason, we find ourselves talking with supply chain leaders as they look to embrace machine learning that will help cut out errors, boost staff productivity and enhance the overall supply chain experience as the supply chain tends to have more touchpoints with customers than the sales team.

There is an incorrect perception that these efficiency goals can only be achieved if every order flows through without any touches. Life science leaders including Alere and Biomerieux focused on reducing the number of touches needed by combining people, process and technology to great effect. Bayer lowered order management time from 7 mins to 58 seconds. Alere cut nearly four minutes and lowered the number of touches from 17 to 2.4.

Regardless of who is in charge in Washington D.C,  the population will rely more on life science. Those providers are going to be busier and, for most, technology is going to allow them to keep up.

Esker Achieves ISO 27001:2013 Certification

The Certification assures Esker on Demand customers that their data is safe, secure and accessible

Sydney, Australia — January 30, 2018Esker, a worldwide leader in document process automation solutions and pioneer in cloud computing, today announced that it received ISO 27001:2013 (ISO 27001) certification for its Information Security Management System (ISMS) by A-lign, an independent, third-party auditor. ISO 27001 is the internationally recognised standard for certifying that a company’s ISMS protects its data and that of its customers.

This certification demonstrates that Esker has implemented security measures and countermeasures that protect it from unauthorised access or compromise, that the security of data has been addressed, implemented and properly controlled in all areas of the organisation, and that IT personnel were found to be conscientious and knowledgeable in best practices.

ISO 27001 is invaluable for monitoring, reviewing, maintaining and improving a company’s ISMS. Accredited certification to ISO 27001 demonstrates to existing and potential customers that an organisation has defined and put in place best-practice information security processes and that all internal data and data submitted by customers and suppliers are handled in a secured way.

The benefits of information security, particularly the implementation of ISO 27001, gives partner organisations and customers greater confidence in the way they interact with a business. Benefits to customers are numerous, including:

  • Security risks are appropriately prioritised and cost-effectively managed
  • Security best practices are in place along with a managed approach to business information protection including risk, governance and compliance
  • Defined framework to ensure fulfillment of commercial, contractual and legal responsibilities

“This certification confirms our continued commitment to information security at every level,” said Jean-Michel Bérard, CEO at Esker. “Esker provides a consistent, reliable and secure operating environment to provide the highest quality of service to our customers worldwide.”

About ISO 270001

The International Organisation for Standardisation (ISO) is an independent organisation that develops a variety of standardised processes across numerous industries and sectors in order to offer a uniform method for completing specific actions in a business or governmental setting. ISO 27001 provides an international methodology for the implementation, management and maintenance of information security within a company. ISO 27001 certification requires that an organisation systematically examine its information security risks, taking account of the threats, vulnerabilities and impacts, and implement a comprehensive suite of information security controls to address those risks that are deemed unacceptable. ISO 27001 advocates a plan-do-check-act methodology via an iterative process designed to drive continuous improvement.

The Business Case Backing Order Processing Automation

Creating a culture of great customer service is tricky. One of the largest challenges for departments looking to boost customer satisfaction is bandwidth. Do your team members have enough time to start focusing on helping customers versus manual tasks like data entry and filing documents? If not, it’s time to make the case for a solution that removes manual activities and helps businesses achieve top-notch customer service.

It should be a solution that benefits not only customer service but your entire business. We’ve got just the thing: Order processing automation.

Bettering customer service with automation

Thanks to machine-learning technology, an electronic workflow and digital archiving, order processing automation streamlines even the most complicated processes to overcome challenges like:

  • Unhappy customers because of order errors, lengthy processing times and poor support
  • Low staff productivity due to a high level of manual tasks
  • High costs resulting from excess paper, re-shipping orders and other inefficiencies
  • Order errors due to staff manually entering data
  • Low visibility and accountability over the process
  • Difficulty reporting and lack of reporting on Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)

What may seem like a benefit for customer service teams translates into benefits for the entire organisation. From wasteful spending to customer churn, the impact of manual methods in order processing is widespread — and so are the benefits of automating it.

Getting buy-in from upper management doesn’t have to be a daunting challenge. We’ll show you the ropes on what to sell, how to say it and who to talk to, to get your project approved.

Building a business case for order processing automation

Want the best shot at getting c-suite’s approval? Building a strategic business case is what you need. Follow along as we guide you through solution knowledge and strategies needed to make your dream of order processing automation a reality.

It’s 2018. Time to step into the future and step up your customer service standards with order processing automation.

Why Finance Leaders Should Kill Spreadsheets

Capturing and handling data from accounting solutions to ERP systems has certainly evolved. We’ve moved from information viewed on printed pages to cloud-based business intelligence (BI) tools.  With new ways of processing information faster and with greater visibility, why in the world are so many executives still using Excel spreadsheets to manage critical accounts receivable (AR) and collections management data?

Mining information from different systems stored in various areas (such as an Excel-based aging report, collections call notes, ERP open invoice information, and cash application systems, just to name a few) is still exported, sliced and diced, and often manually compiled and pushed into a report. Then accounting has to dig into their email inbox, or navigate the share drive like Ferdinand Magellan, to gather the spreadsheets. It’s an upgrade over paper or not reporting at all, but still restrictive and does not provide immediate, actionable intelligence that today’s businesses need to remain nimble. While important data points that, once collected, deliver actionable BI, gaps in information exist that systems typically don’t capture (e.g., why customers are paying late, disputes or deductions, etc.)

Lack of visibility in AR and collections management is particularly apparent when managing:

  • Past due customers. A collector may receive a promise-to-pay, but the customer didn’t live up to their promise, and no follow up notes or reasons were captured. All the while, that customer continues to order product. Now you have capital tied up in the open AR, along with additional product being produced or procured from the supply chain.
  • Collections forecasting. Without the ability to easily uncover and report on late payment trends, recurring issues, and spot underlying problems, an accurate collections forecast is near impossible.

Accounts receivable automation maximizes ERP and other business application investments you’ve made by combining data from all systems to populate dashboards and centralize workflow. Introducing automated processes with algorithmic rules and strategies helps eliminate tedious tasks and allows you to focus on things that make a greater impact. No more spending countless hours capturing data from multiple solutions and putting findings in a spreadsheet.

Automation helps you prioritize activities and aggregate data — giving you the insight to perform pertinent tasks immediately. Details can be shared with your customers, making them self-sufficient, creating a greater user experience and providing immediate, automatic collaboration. And guess what? You get paid faster and avoid costly write-off or risk!

Esker Announces Partnership with Optima ECM Consulting to Expand Revenue Opportunities and Accelerate Delivery of Cloud Solutions

Alliance is designed to accommodate Esker’s growth while enhancing solutions offered by Optima

Sydney, Australia — January 9, 2018Esker, a worldwide leader in document process automation solutions and pioneer in cloud computing, announced today its partnership with Optima, a global implementation organisation. The relationship is aimed to benefit the customers of both companies by providing a more holistic set of offerings that complement the evolving nature of digital transformation. 

Esker’s exponential revenue growth and increased consumer demand for cloud-based solutions is predicted to continue into 2018. In order to accommodate such rapid growth while maintaining excellent customer service, Esker entered into a partnership with Optima to help create efficiencies and better implement its solutions.

“As the demand for our solutions grows, we continue to look toward trusted partners to help us scale while identifying new revenue opportunities,” said Steve Smith, U.S. chief operating officer at Esker. “Because Optima has a reputation for unparalleled expertise in purchase-to-pay (P2P) and order-to-cash (O2C), it was a natural fit for us.”

Optima turned to Esker to help capture the mid-size market and to expand its business service capabilities to include a cloud solution.
“Esker is a known entity in the cloud space with a superb reputation for integrity and excellent customer service,” said Alex Nadesan, founding partner and chief operations officer of Optima. “Our customers are looking to the cloud and, in Esker, we know we have found the technological and cultural fit we were searching for.”

Now that the two brands have forged a synergistic partnership, they will begin offering integrated solutions to current and future customers in 2018.

About Optima EDM Consulting

Optima ECM Consulting is a global implementation organisation that specialises in the strategy, design and implementation of Enterprise Information Management (EIM) solutions for Compliance, Optimisation, Revenue Enhancement and Collaboration. Optima’s unparalleled experience in strategy, design, implementation and management of EIM solutions such as Purchase to Pay, Sales Order Management, and Enterprise Content Management solutions enables companies to achieve both their strategic and business objectives as they look to execute their digital transformation. With more than 60 consultants and offices in USA, Mexico and Spain, Optima is uniquely suited to ensure businesses rapidly recognise expected ROI and drive immediate value across their organisation. For more information on Optima and its solutions, visit www.optimaecm.com.

Merry Christmas & Happy New Year 2018!

To all of our colleagues, peers, and friends, it’s time to say thank you to another awesome year of support and success! Wishing you all a Merry Christmas, festive season, and of course, a fantastic New Year 2018!

What a Year – 2017 Was a Huge Success!

What a year! 2017 has been a huge success, and it’s all due to Esker customers like you. Here’s how we’re wrapping up the year: