Category Archives: Uncategorized

Smart Thermostats, Machine Learning, and … Your Orders?!

Machine learning … It’s the buzzword everyone is selling but what the heck does it actually mean?

Allow me to illustrate. My fiancé and I just built a house, exciting times! Being the techie I am, we had to retrofit it to be the complete smart home. One of my first purchases was a smart thermostat that touts machine learning and how it will save you money. Sound familiar?

After being zapped hooking the thing up (note to self: turn off the power before messing with the wires) I had a brand-new thermostat. The first day I found myself tweaking it every now and then. Of course, it had no idea that I liked to sleep cold. I adjusted it and turned it down before bed the first few nights. Sure enough, the thermostat started adjusting itself and kicking in exactly when I wanted it to. When I checked the app during the day it knew I was not home and turned itself off. Not bad!

What’s actually happening?

When I hooked this thing up, I started with a clean slate. Every adjustment I made or didn’t make started compiling data in the background. Every minute it’s recording that temperature and building out a repository of my preferences and making recommendations for me. Once I taught the machine that I liked to sleep cold every night, it saved that data and every night at 9 p.m. it turned the heat off. The machine was getting smarter as I used it. It was using my preferences and changes to build predictable habits over time.

Enough about the thermostats … what does this have to do with orders?

Great point, let’s tie it all together. Imagine that same story but instead of your temperature preferences imagine your orders. Similar to how my thermostat turns off when I’m not there, an AI (Artificial Intelligence) engine knows keywords and general areas to pull data on orders. There are immediate efficiency gains.

Imagine that troublesome customer. They send in different item numbers every time and their order format always changes. Similar to how I like to sleep cold (that’s saying something in a Wisconsin winter) that’s not something my thermostat could predict off the bat. But after adjusting it the first few nights, the thermostat remembered that tweak and made it moving forward.

Real world example

Back to that troublesome customer that sends in manufacturers SKU’s or their own item numbers on every order. When that order comes in and you change the item number to your own internal item, AI starts to build out that correlation and every time you receive that SKU, it will automatically make the change moving forward!

Previous technology required data to be in a certain spot on the document or, even worse, a specific template. Machine learning remembers where the data is in every single order and allows customers to send in orders without changing a thing.

Moral of the story

A few months in, I’m so happy with my smart thermostat that I’m promoting it on a company blog. It’s running on autopilot and making changes for me automatically. It’s saving me money by turning off when I’m not home and saving me time by never having to touch it.

Other folks can gain the same advantages in order management by leveraging a (you know what I’m about to say) AI-driven solution. Instead of “tweaking the thermostat all day” it empowers customer service teams to focus on what matters — your customers — while saving your company big bucks.

How Girl Scouts Can Help You Grow Your Business (No Excuses)

I was at the grocery store a couple weeks back shopping for the necessities. After checkout, I headed for the exit and there was a table of Girl Scouts selling their cookies. Since I was a kid, there hasn’t been a year that has gone by that I haven’t bought some Thin Mints, Caramel Delights or another one of their fantastic cookies. Of course, they still come around and sell door to door, but grocery store stands have become a popular set up for their business. When you come to their table you can’t resist purchasing a box or two or three …

Unfortunately, with just $5 in cash in my wallet, I only purchased one box. This is not an uncommon occurrence, since I hardly ever have cash on me and usually pay for everything with a credit card. These days, it seems that just about every restaurant or business accepts credit cards as payment, with the exception of the rare business out there that still does not want to make the switch.

After purchasing my box of Caramel Delights, I thought to myself that if they accepted credit cards, I would have probably purchased multiple boxes. According to a 2014 report by Bankrate and Princeton Survey Research Associates International, 50% of Americans carry $20 or less every day, and 9% don’t carry cash at all.

A couple days later I ran across an online article about Girl Scouts who were accepting credit cards via the payment company Square. In the article, Square was excited about the opportunity, saying: “We love when sellers use Square in creative ways. As you can imagine, their customers are equally as excited that they don’t have to carry cash anymore.” A mother of a Girl Scout added: “I think 90% of people who weren’t carrying cash turned around and bought something when they heard we took credit cards.” Also in this article, there were a few Twitter users sharing their excitement:

  • “Girl Scouts take payment by Square now. The future is here and my account is devastated”
  • “Girl Scouts are hip now with the Square so they can force me to pay no matter what”
  • “Girl Scouts operating with Square is one of the better things that’s ever happened in the cookie game”

With this in mind, think about how you are currently accepting payments from your customers. Are you offering them a way to pay online? Giving your customers the option to pay securely on their own terms, just like the Girl Scouts did, makes you easier to do business with.

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.

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!

Esker Expands Globally While Achieving Record Sales Growth

Leader in document process automation solutions sees an increase in demand for cloud-based solutions

Sydney, Australia — April 20, 2017 Esker, a worldwide leader in document process automation solutions and pioneer in cloud computing, recently announced that the company achieved record growth in 2016, fueled by an increased demand for cloud-based solutions, the changing regulatory environment in some countries and the company’s commitment to consistently delivering innovative, comprehensive solutions ahead of the curve. Esker’s strategic acquisitions and partnerships have augmented its customer base and facilitated expansion into new regions.

“We are experiencing dynamic, sustainable growth across the board, but especially in cloud-based solutions, where we saw a 20 percent increase last year,” said Steve Smith, U.S. chief operations officer at Esker.

“This represents 77 percent of total company sales revenue and validates the need for automation. Even better, we anticipate double-digit growth again in 2017 in every market where Esker is active,” said Christophe DuMonet, Managing Director of Esker Australia and New Zealand.

2016 Highlights

In order to accommodate such rapid growth while maintaining excellent customer service, Esker invested in additional staff. By late 2016, Esker outgrew its North American headquarters in Madison, relocating to new office space to accommodate new and anticipated future hires. Esker also opened its first U.S. satellite office in Denver to accommodate a growing number of customers in the Rocky Mountains and Pacific states, along with the western region of Canada, especially within the medical device, food production and semi-conductor industries.

Also, Esker expanded its international footprint, beginning with a partnership with Santiago, Chile-based Gosocket Corporation, a leading provider of solutions related to electronic document exchanges with digital signatures, to bring more value to Latin American customers of both companies. Customers in this region can now meet evolving electronic invoicing (e-invoicing) mandates that vary by country. Esker and Gosocket Corporation are working together to bring a more comprehensive set of offerings to the Latin American region beginning this year.

“Esker’s expansion into the Latin American region created an opportunity for both companies,” said Sergio Chaverri, chief marketing officer at Gosocket Corporation. “By partnering with Esker our customers will have access to leading business solutions and Esker’s international customers will have the ability to meet any changing regulations seamlessly.”

Esker also further developed its activities in the Oceania region with the signature of a partnership agreement with Fuji Xerox in New Zealand. “Automation of previously manual tasks and introducing mobile and analytics functionality for insights into the AP process delivers rapid and quantifiable benefits. With the combination of Fuji Xerox’s consulting team and Esker’s cloud Accounts Payable, we’re delivering tools that AP users need, but just haven’t been able to access,” says Cameron Mount, Fuji Xerox New Zealand GM Enterprise Consulting.

Lastly, Esker also put in place its third data center in Singapore, offering its Asia-based customers the best possible response times. This new infrastructure was built on the Microsoft Azure cloud platform.

Solution advancements

Esker is committed to regularly providing customers with new and improved offerings. One of the company’s most notable launches last year was Esker Anywhere, a mobile application that gives managers the ability to review, approve, and reject purchase requisitions and supplier invoices while out of the office. Esker also introduced solution integrations with Oracle JD Edwards EnterpriseOne enterprise resource planning (ERP) software and Oracle E-Business Suite, providing customers with greater operational process efficiency and productivity.

Following the 2015 acquisition of TermSync, Esker has now fully incorporated the solution into its accounts receivable (AR) automation platform, benefiting customers with strengthened reporting and analytics, faster collections and billing processes and decreasing costs. Esker’s new, comprehensive AR solution is designed to alleviate cash flow concerns for companies, especially as interest rates rise and customers demand extended terms. It also completes the order-to-cash (O2C) cycle, allowing Esker to offer customers an enhanced end-to-end solution for document process automation.

Ongoing and future initiatives

Earlier this month Esker finalised its acquisition of e-integration GmbH, the Düsseldorf, Germany-based electronic data interchange (EDI) service provider, which will allow Esker to further grow and develop in Europe’s leading market.
“We recognise that our customers have a global presence with varying needs in every market,” said Eric Bussy, worldwide corporate marketing and product management director at Esker. “We want to increase our international presence to fulfill those needs and offer the most value to our customers.”

Esker anticipates that 2017 will be highlighted by:

  • Double-digit growth and continued exploration of new external growth opportunities.
  • Innovative strategies surrounding Esker’s O2C and purchase-to-pay (P2P) solution offerings, including the launch of the TermSync product in France and a new online payment solution offered through Esker partner, SlimPay.
  • An agile and responsible business approach: Ranked among the top 30 Best Workplaces France 2017 by Great Place to Work®, Esker will continue to develop its Agile methodology and friendly work environment in order to offer its employees a quality, stimulating environment.

Meet Susan – Life Science Industry Customer Service Representative | Esker Order Processing

 

Susan has her MBA and is a customer service representative in the Life Science industry. She faces unique challenges in this industry and recognizes the importance of accuracy in her position. But she is frustrated most of her time is spent manually entering sales orders.

Learn More:

http://www.esker.com.au/solutions/sales_order_processing/

 

Parts Town Awarded Order-to-Cash Department of the Year at Inaugural AR & O2C Spotlight Awards

 

Adoption of Esker’s business process automation solutions improved cash conversion cycle and customer experience leading to recognition.

logo Parts town

 

 

Sydney, Australia — August 2, 2016 — Parts Town, a leading parts distributor in the food service equipment market (www.partstown.com), was named the AR & O2C Spotlight Awards’ Order-to-Cash Department of the Year winner. Hosted by The AR Network (TARN), the inaugural awards are an expansion of the Institute of Finance and Management’s (IOFM) Spotlight Awards and recognise outstanding achievements in financial operations.

Parts Town earned this distinction by successfully automating its manual cash conversion process, improving customer service and increasing productivity and efficiency while reducing days sales outstanding (DSO).

Last year, Parts Town’s O2C team recognized the need for a new process to sustain its high annual growth rates while increasing workflow efficiency and visibility, high-quality customer care and turnaround time. They decided that a cloud-based solution would enhance their productivity and enlisted the help of Esker, a leading document process automation solution provider.

Esker’s solution automated the entire order processing cycle starting with the reception of the order, scanning of the order and creation of the order into the ERP application, as well as creating and processing invoices for collection. With this implementation, Parts Town is steadily making progress toward its goal of processing 60 percent of its orders by 3 p.m. every day.

“Parts Town is growing rapidly and we need solutions that put us in a position to continue that growth, as well as streamline the processes to maintain it,” said Amy Argentine, Director of Technical Service at Parts Town. “Providing excellent customer service was the driving force behind our decision to partner with Esker, and we are now able to provide an improved process from start to finish in less time.”

With the automated order processing solution, Parts Town’s Distribution Center (DC) benefited greatly as well. The DC has full visibility using this platform, which allows the data to be allocated and used to forecast supply chain and staffing demands.

“The O2C cycle is crucial to the success of a business because it affects customer satisfaction and the company’s bottom line. Parts Town was awarded this honor due to its commitment to prioritising the customer experience while sustaining growth and improving visibility,” said Brian Cuthbert, executive director at IOFM.

About Parts Town

 
Parts Town (www.partstown.com) supplies genuine OEM replacement parts for commercial cooking equipment to the restaurant industry. For over 20 years, Parts Town has been focused on delivering the highest level of customer service for food equipment replacement parts, commercial kitchen accessories and selected food equipment. By recruiting and retaining the industry’s leading talent and living its core values, Parts Town has been able to achieve the unique combination of providing the industry’s most complete set of value-added capabilities while continuing to provide enthusiastic and expert customer service.

 
Parts Town has been named to the Crain’s “Fast 50” list, recognising the fastest growing companies in the Chicagoland area for six consecutive years as well as the “Inc 5000” list of fastest growing privately held companies in North America for eight consecutive years.

 

Parts town

 

 

ESKER: A Worldwide Leader in Cloud-based Document Processing Automation Software.

Esker A worldwide leader in Cloud based solution 2

Quit Paper in any Business Document Process

For Quite some time, business faced challenges to manage documents across different devices, as well as to control document flow that made business reporting an arduous task. This scenario prevailed for years mainly because organisations used manual processes, which were neither sophisticated not intelligent enough to capture data from complex documents such as invoices, sales orders and account statements. Due to the complexity these documents contain: product codes, GST, quantities, prices, etc. businesses experienced processing delays, high error rates, poor reporting and customer dissatisfaction. Thanks to documentation process automation software, organizations can automate their manual business processes  which were neither sophisticated nor intelligent enough to capture data from complex documents such as invoices, sales order sand account statements. Due to the complexity these documents contain: product codes, GST, quantities, prices,etc., businesses experienced processing delays, high error-rates, poor reporting and customer dissatisfaction. Thanks to documentation process automation software, organizations can automate their manual business processes and free up their workforce from spending hours on error-prone manual operations. Automating document processes throughout a company adds value to existing systems, enhances productivity, strengthens business relationships and improves the exchange of business-critical documents between customers and suppliers.

Starting off as a host access software provider in 1985, today Esker has become one of the leading document process automation solution providers. Esker solutions help organizations of all sizes to improve efficiencies, accuracy, visibility and costs associated with business processes.

The core principle behind Esker’s document process automation platform is a focus on helping businesses Quit Paper to drive operational efficiencies, cost savings and process visibility. Esker offers solutions specifically designed to eliminate the huge amounts of paper flowing through order-to-cash (O2C) cycle of fulfilling customer orders and collecting payment, and the purchase-to-pay (P2P) cycle of buying the goods and services.Increasing speed and accuracy through document process automation helps businesses fulfill customer orders faster, get paid sooner, optimize financial management and maximize supply chain efficiency.

From cloud computing and infrastructure to business processes and personal collaboration, Esker has proved to be one of the rarest software vendors to offer 100 percent cloud and business automation to its clients.

In a nut shell, Esker guarantees to bring the paper-flow of information to a halt within an organization by initiating the right automation to every business documentation cycle.

One Platform for Any Business Process

Esker allows businesses to control all of their document process improvement efforts in one collaborative platform that spans the entire cash conversion cycle. Whether they want to automate and capture any inbound documents (sales order, vendor invoices) or electronically deliver any outbound document (customer invoices,purchase orders),Esker allows them to automate as needed using a shared group of technologies.

Through this innovative platform, businesses have a single solution to receive sales orders or supplier invoices from any source; send purchase orders or customer invoices directly from ERP systems and store documents and data within the ERP application

Esker’s automation solution is implemented either on-premises via Esker Delivery Ware or in the cloud via Esker on Demand to automate accounts payable, order processing, accounts receivable, purchasing and more.

“Working with in a wide range of industries for nearly three decades with businesses of various sizes, we have found that automation typically helps organizations process business documents like orders and invoices up to 90% faster and a minimum of 40% more cost effectively when compared to manual processing methods,” said Jean-Michel Bérard, CEO at Esker.

Esker’s Innovative Solutions

Esker infuses its core mantra, Quit Paper, in every solution that the company delivers. For instance, Esker’s mobile invoice approval application, Esker Any where, equips managers with on-the-go accessibility to review and approve purchase requisitions and supplier invoices. The application helps businesses further speed up the review and approval cycles of invoice and requisition processing, as well as improve efficiency in the P2P cycle.

“Employees are becoming increasingly mobile and require anywhere accessibility to business processes and data in order to maximize productivity,” said Jean-Michel Bérard.“Our mobile app is a result of our ongoing commitment to bring value to companies looking for faster and more efficient ways to do daily business activities, including processing invoices and spend requests on the move.”

Esker A worldwide leader in Cloud based solution

Solution Dash boards Optimize Business Process Management

Esker offers collaborative and customizable solution dashboards which facilitate daily tasks, monitor performances indicator sand react quickly to prevent problems or spot opportunities early, making every action smarter and more strategic. The dashboards, which are integrated into all Esker solutions, enable users to access the right information when they need it, follow key performance indicators and provide real-time visibility on work in progress.

“Our simple, intuitive and collaborative solutions allow organizations to optimize how they manage critical business processes,” said Jean-Michel Bérard. “We are committed to improving our solution functionality, placing the user experience at the center of our development efforts. This new development philosophy generates greater customer adoption and improved user efficiency.”

“Esker is commitment to building a network of business collaboration, enabling meaningful connections between organizations, suppliers and customers.”

 

After having catered to Malaysian Airlines, Sony, Toshiba, Samsung, Whirlpool etc.,Esker continues to innovate and offer enhanced solutions to deliver greater added-value to its customers.

 

Order and Issue Management: An Untapped Potential for Improved Productivity and Enhanced Customer Relationships

 

Whilst these numbers are based on European companies, the situation in ANZ is somewhat different. Informal survey numbers, due a greater adoption of EDI and smaller number of orders, show that less than 33% of companies plan to optimise their order processing in 2016 in ANZ. So this is a great opportunity for companies to improve customer experience (‘where is my order?’), reduce labour intensive activities to better focus on customer education, customer cross selling and customer care activities.

Esker Survey Results 1

Order – to – Cash Efficiency Success Story : Tessenderlo Kerley

With headquarters in the hot desert of Phoenix, Arizona , the specialty chemical producer knows a thing or two about thriving in an unforgiving environment. So when order-to-cash (O2C) inefficiencies began interfering with the company’s growth, TKI took initiative — and changed how it did business forever.

 

 A GOOD PROBLEM TO HAVE

 

About a decade ago, TKI was facing what could be described as “a good problem to have.” The company was growing exponentially, making acquisitions on a global scale and expanding its expertise into new and competitive markets. Business was booming … but success doesn’t come without consequences of its own.

All the acquisitions TKI made brought new levels of complexity to its IT infrastructure. What once was a modest landscape, now included a myriad of different systems, making it difficult to centralise O2C communications.

Furthermore, its growth as a business meant more customers to serve and documents to handle. Because TKI ran its O2C processes using manual methods, it was facing the prospect of investing in more resources (e.g., staff, equipment, consumables, etc.) to keep up with company growth.

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AMAZING OUTCOMES

A decade ago, TKI began this initiative with a handful of simple yet strategic goals in mind. Above all else, the company needed a way to maintain its rapid growth without having to expend valuable resources in the process.

Enhancing the performance of its O2C processes proved to be a great way to create added value, and judging by the phenomenal results TKI has seen since go-live, Esker has proved to be the
right provider for the job.

 

FUTURE PLANS

What TKI achieved with Esker are the kind of things that happily-ever-after tales are made of. But this story is far from finished. TKI now has  its sights on improving another critical business  process

— and one that, like order processing, has a significant  impact on the company’s success moving forward.

With Esker’s Order Processing solution already firmly in place and creating significant amounts of added value, naturally, TKI is looking to a familiar friend for help. Not only does Esker’s Accounts Payable solution offer the kind of functionality TKI is searching for (e.g., document capture and data recognition, 3-way matching verification, etc.), the added complexities and technologies of an unfamiliar vendor would be avoided. Only time will tell how the next chapter in TKI’s storyunfolds, but if history is any guide, the sun will continue to shine in Phoenix.

“The results have been fantastic — we’veactually reduced our order processing time from around three minutes down to 30 seconds by using Esker’s Order Processing automation solution”.

Dan McMenomy | Director of Business Systems