Armtec Delivers Greater Efficiency & Visibility to AP Processing with Esker’s Cloud Solution

Sydney, Australia — December 4, 2014 — Esker, a worldwide leader in document process automation solutions and SAP® software solution and technology partner, announced today it has reached an agreement with Armtec, a leading Canadian infrastructure and construction company. Armtec has selected Esker’s on-demand Accounts Payable automation solution to integrate with its SAP application in order to create a more efficient, transparent and responsive vendor invoicing process.

Armtec receives between 110,000-120,000 vendor invoices annually, which are currently processed manually and cause a number of challenges for the business. Ultimately, Armtec performed a comprehensive “value stream mapping process” to identify its AP department’s biggest pain points and determine a course of action. The main challenges included:

  • Hiring and training temps to accommodate seasonal invoice volume increases
  • Issues with high costs, duplication and exception handling with large volumes of invoices
  • Limited visibility and reporting into the process
  • Too much time spent servicing internal/external customers with decentralised offices

In order to overcome these challenges, Armtec will be integrating Esker’s Accounts Payable automation solution with its SAP application. Scanned invoices will now automatically go through Esker, with data being intelligently extracted via OCR and a corresponding document entering into an electronic workflow in SAP for easy archival, tracking and reporting. By removing the manual steps of keying in, reviewing, coding and approving, Armtec will soon be able to manage the higher volumes of invoices more efficiently, allowing AP staff to focus on higher value tasks.

One of the primary reasons Armtec selected Esker was because of its cloud-based service option. Esker offers a true software as a service (SaaS) solution with lower upfront costs and total cost of ownership. Since operations are external and there is no software to maintain, much less strain is placed on IT resources.

“Our current process of scanning invoices directly into SAP is not optimal — it is very dependent on human intervention with no real workflow and limited ability to develop metrics,” said Joan Carter, Business Process Improvement Manager at Armtec. “With Esker, as soon as an invoice is scanned and received it’s on its way and fully reportable. The level of OCR, electronic workflow and SAP integration has us really excited about the level of efficiency and visibility we’re bringing to the process.”

About Armtec

Armtec is a manufacturer and marketer of a comprehensive range of infrastructure products and engineered construction solutions for customers in a diverse cross-section of industries that are located in every region of Canada, as well as in selected markets globally. These markets include Canada’s national and regional public infrastructure markets and private sector markets in agricultural drainage, commercial building, residential construction and natural resources. Armtec operates through a network of offices and production facilities across the country.

Armtec operates in two business units: Drainage Solutions and Precast Concrete Solutions. Drainage manufactures and markets corrugated high-density polyethylene pipe, corrugated steel pipe and other drainage related products including small bridge structures. Precast manufactures and markets highly engineered precast systems such as parking garages, bridges, sport venues and building envelopes as well as standard precast products such as steps, paving stones and utility vault.

Celebrate summer with the perfect Accounts Payable cocktail!

Summer is coming… Let’s celebrate with a refreshing Accounts Payable (AP) cocktail!

Our perfect AP process recipe contains:

  • Automatic invoice matching
  • Electronic workflow
  • Dashboards, analytics and KPIs
  • Archiving

Discover the full recipe in our infographic below:

Bag Makers Automates Sales Order Processing and Achieves ROI in just Three Months

Sydney, Australia — November 6, 2014 — Esker, a worldwide leader in document process automation solutions and SAP® software solution and technology partner, announced today it was selected by Bag Makers, Inc., a leading imprinted bag supplier, to virtualise the company’s order entry and order archiving processes through the implementation of Esker’s Sales Order Processing solution. The successful installation and integration of Bag Makers’ SAP Business One system with the Esker DeliveryWare platform is the first in the US.

A recent implementation of SAP Business One prompted Bag Makers to improve its internal processes even more. Previously, customer orders would arrive via fax or email and be manually keyed into the SAP system, then printed and distributed to different departments throughout the building. Frequently, art files would arrive independently of their respective purchase order (PO), which posed challenges for matching orders with associated documentation. On the back-end side of the process, Bag Makers was scanning POs and internal documents and storing them on a server.

End-to-End Automation

Today, Bag Makers is using Esker to fully automate and streamline every phase of its workflow. Incoming orders, regardless of format, are automatically imaged into the Esker solution where data is extracted to be pushed into SAP and electronically stored for easy retrieval. After initially considering a basic archiving solution as replacement to its manual system, Bag Makers was introduced to Esker at an Americas’ SAP Users’ Group’s SAP Business One Summit, and, shortly thereafter, selected the industry leader to automate both the back- and front-end of fax and email order processing.

“Esker allows us to digitally archive our orders and eliminates our need to manually enter data,” said Jeremy Bayness, Director of Computer Operations at Bag Makers. “When you add up the cost savings, the integration capabilities with SAP, and the improved processing times and accuracy rates, it’s easy to see why Esker was our top choice.”

Benefits by the Numbers

  • Reduced receipt-to-entry time from 4-5 hours to 1 hour
  • Improved order-entry accuracy rate to 99.8 percent
  • Reallocated two employees previously dedicated to scanning orders for archival to other value-added tasks
  • Reallocated six employees previously dedicated to order entry, increasing overall productivity
  • Enhanced customer response time thanks to instant order notifications and confirmations

In addition to the performance of the solution, Bag Makers was equally impressed by the level of support Esker provided throughout the solution delivery process. “I can’t say enough about the Professional Services team — we achieved ROI in only three months,” Bayness said. “The Esker team seemed to know the pitfalls before we even got to them and helped us avoid a lot of issues.”

About Bag Makers, Inc.

Bag Makers, Inc. is a leading imprinted bag supplier, specialising in non-woven polypropylene, paper, plastic and polyester bags. Exclusively serving the promotional products marketplace, Bag Makers prints more than 75 million bags each year through flexographic, hot stamping and screen printing services. Bag Makers was founded in 1980 to provide quality printing, fast service and lower minimum orders for imprinted bags. More than 30 years later, the company has earned a host of industry awards for outstanding service and quality that has solidified its position as a market leader.

Why cloud-based Accounts Payable Automation is perfect for SMBs

Cloud technology now makes it possible for small to mid-sized businesses (SMBs) to capitalise on the benefits of AP automation with minimal risks or upfront expenses.

Why SMBs suffer from manual processing

Everything Comes at a Higher Cost

SMBs don’t have the high invoice volume of large enterprises but the time and manpower needed for manual data entry, approval and storage take their toll. Big businesses can manage by simply adding staff and easily absorbing the cost. Cash strapped SMBs, on the other hand, are forced to handle invoices with limited personnel even though their volumes may be growing.

There Is Much Less Room for Error

Businesses who process their invoices manually are proven to experience a higher rate of errors (e.g., duplicate payments, late payments and overpayments). Where larger enterprises typically have enough strength to withstand the fallout from a damaged supplier relationship or wait for the repayment of a double paid invoice, the majority of SMBs has no such luxury.

Improving Is Easier Said Than Done

Unlike bigger businesses, a lot of SMBs run small or industry specific ERP systems or home grown legacy solutions. The complexity of such a setup can cause SMBs to think their AP infrastructure is too complex or difficult to change. What’s more, the general lack of visibility due to manual processing makes it difficult to forecast expenses and identify areas of improvement.

Why Cloud-based automation is an ideal solution

No New Hardware or Software Investments

Regardless of format, scanned or electronic invoices are entered into an automated workflow where an intelligent image recognition technology accurately extracts all data. Captured data is checked against ERP master data and dispatched to the appropriate managers for approval. The invoice is automatically archived in a web portal and linked back into the ERP application and available for as long as needed.

Predictable Pricing via Pay-Per-Use Model

Cloud automation operates on a pay-per-use pricing model, meaning users only pay for the amount of service used. This not only gives SMBs some much-needed pricing predictability, it offers a tremendous level of flexibility for variations in invoice volume and users.

Unified AP Workflow Outside the ERP System

A unique feature of cloud-based AP automation solutions is that workflow resides outside of the ERP system. This provides users anytime, anywhere access to invoices, promotes user acceptance, simplifies training, and helps maintain business continuity during IT landscape changes.

To learn more about cloud-based accounts payable automation, download Esker’s eBook.

Direct Energie Automates Its Vendor Invoices with Esker’s Cloud-Based Accounts Payable Solution

Sydney, Australia — October 13, 2014 — Esker, a worldwide leader in document process automation solutions, today announced it has been selected by Direct Energie, a privately owned French provider of electricity and gas, to automate its annual volume of 7,500 vendor invoices. Implemented as a cloud service in less than two months and fully integrated with Direct Energie’s SAP® application, Esker’s Accounts Payable automation solution has provided the company with complete visibility of its vendor invoicing process — from reception to archiving.

Operating in a particularly sensitive industry (electricity supply), Direct Energie was looking to overhaul and streamline its business processes following its merger with Poweo. The increase in business and volume of accounting records brought greater complexity to the management of vendor invoices in terms of tracking and secure exchanges. This led Direct Energie to contact Esker in August 2013 about automating its AP invoice process.

“The wish to automate vendor invoicing arose from the need for more reliable and efficient processes,” said Louis-Mathieu Perrin, Chief Financial Officer at Direct Energie. “Our invoices are particularly sensitive, and poor management of payment terms can have significant consequences on company cash and energy supply, which is at the heart of our business.”

Fast Implementation with Cloud Computing

Previously, Direct Energie’s vendor invoices came in paper format, were processed manually, and then placed in a folder for signatures. Once all signatures were collected, the invoices were returned to the accounting department to be paid and archived.

Now, with Esker, the invoices are digitised and data is automatically captured. The AP manager validates the recognised data which is then integrated into SAP. An electronic approval workflow, based on predefined company rules (e.g., invoice amount, job position, etc.), is activated, requesting approvers to authorise payment. Once the invoice is approved, payment is released in SAP and the invoice, along with the associated validation process, are archived.

“The Accounts Payable solution was installed in less than two months thanks to cloud computing,” said Perrin. “Today, it’s used daily by over 100 employees. We know precisely at what stage of validation our invoices are, and we are also able to quickly retrieve any archived invoice.”

Benefits Achieved

    • Processing time is 50% faster, from invoice reception to document validation.
    • Tracking is enhanced thanks to electronic archiving and Esker’s analytics & audit trail.
    • Productivity is increased by accountants no longer having to enter invoice data, send approval reminders or manage errors related to manual processing.
    • Supplier relationships and cash flow are improved thanks to an increase in on-time payments.

“In addition to solution usability, the reporting capabilities won us over,” said Perrin. “A daily email is sent to accounting, which closely monitors the list of non-approved invoices. One of the big advantages of the solution was the ability to finally set the workflow validation based on cost centres and vendors.”

About Direct Energie

Born from the merger of Poweo and Direct Energie, Direct Energie Group has already gained more than 1.1 million customers in the mass electricity and gas market (863,000 electricity customers and 237,000 gas, residential and business). Direct Energie also works with businesses and local authorities (more than 100,000 points of delivery). Direct Energie operates in the production and supply of electricity, gas and energy services to its customers. In 2013, the group achieved sales revenue of over 760 million euros and delivered 8,8TWh of energy. Direct Energie’s success is based on over 10 years of technical expertise, excellence in customer relations and its ability to innovate.

About Esker

Esker is a worldwide leader in document process automation solutions. Addressing all types of business processes from accounts payable and accounts receivable to order processing and procurement, Esker cloud computing solutions enable companies to automate the reception, processing and sending of any business document with one platform. Esker helps over 80,000 companies across the world to reduce the use of paper and eliminate manual processes while improving their productivity, efficiency and environmental impact.

Esker has global headquarters in Lyon, France, U.S. headquarters in Madison, Wisconsin, and ANZ headquarters in Sydney (since 1997). Over 1,800 companies in Australia and New Zealand rely on Esker solutions to run their businesses. For more information, visit www.esker.com.au, follow us at twitter.com/EskerANZ and read our blog on www.blogeskeranz.com.