Streamlining Accounts Payable Processes and Reducing Costs with Esker’s AP Cloud Automation Solution for SAP®

Orora Ltd successfully leveraged Esker’s Accounts Payable automation solution for SAP to automate the processing of over 220,000 invoices annually.

Orora Ltd is headquartered in Melbourne, Australia. The company was created in 2013 after Amcor, one of the world’s largest packaging companies with a 150-year history in Australia, demerged its Australasian and North American Packaging Distribution businesses.
With 39 manufacturing plants and 83 distribution sites across seven countries and approximately 5,500 team members, Orora supplies packaging products and services to the grocery, fast moving consumer goods and industrial markets.

The Challenge

Orora’s Accounts Payable (AP) team, led by Tony Gruevski, is based in Melbourne (Australia) and annually processes about 220,000 invoices. This team facilitates both domestic and international payments.

Ineffective AP automation solution had to be replaced
Orora had in place an automated solution to scan and OCR its invoices in order to automate the processing of its invoices. However, despite a lot of effort invested in this solution, it turned out to be ineffective and Orora decided to replace it with a new AP automation solution.

According to Paul Gilbert, Enterprise Application Manager, “The biggest pain point was the fact that most of our AP processing was still being done manually.

Lack of visibility of invoices
We had problems with sites stating that they had forwarded the invoices through to us, and AP could not find them, so we were continually scratching our head as to why that was the case.” says Tony Gruevski, AP Manager. “What we needed was a system that would record the invoice as soon as we would receive it, so that we would never lose visibility of it… that was the first big issue.

Too many interfaces – not user friendly systems
Our second big issue was that our process involved too many different systems which made it convoluted for us as we did not have a streamlined system from start to finish.

The Solution

We now have one system which everyone uses. All invoices are going into Esker, and from Esker they are getting posted into SAP. It’s a simple process, cuts out all the various systems, so we are really happy with it.” says Tony Gruevski.

From start to finish, we get invoices emailed to us; invoices are routed into Esker, from Esker we can post them to SAP. It’s a simple three-step process. It is a much more effective process instead of having to work with various systems and of course these systems were costing a lot of money to maintain and use.

Key Objectives for the Solution

Touchless processing
We were looking for a solution that could fully automate our AP process. This means that we would only deal with exceptions and let the solution process most invoices without manual intervention.” says Paul Gilbert.
Eventually, Orora is hoping to achieve a touchless rate of at least 85% as Orora only processes invoices related to purchase orders. The ability of the Esker AP automation solution for SAP to automatically complete full 3-way matching between the invoice, the purchase order and the goods receipt, clearly met this objective.
We still have some manual intervention which is normal but our biggest gain was that the OCR system was accurate enough, and easy to use and straightforward. That was the biggest objective for us.” says Tony Gruevski.

Cost reduction
Obviously costs came into play as well – we needed a solution that was streamlined and efficient, we thought Esker would be the best solution.” says Tony Gruevski.

Focus on higher value tasks by AP team
The key business objective was based around efficiencies in the process and also providing the business with a much more aligned or focussed customer service in the AP space which they weren’t getting because the AP team was predominantly focussed with keying in and processing errors.” says Paul Gilbert.

Why Esker?

As the Orora AP team was not satisfied with the current AP automation solution, Tony Gruevski, with the support of Orora’s Group Finance Manager – Gordon Brown – requested that the IT team, led by Paul Gilbert, conduct some market research to look for a new AP automation solution. The team reviewed several solutions and decided on the Esker Cloud AP automation solution for SAP – one of the few fully integrated solutions with SAP available in the Australian market place and fully supported by a local solution provider.

User Experience
According to Paul Gilbert, “one of the key benefits to the Esker solution was the user experience. The ease of use of the interface made it very simple for the AP officers to understand what was going on in the process.

Cloud solution – low cost and no infrastructure required
The cost savings for the Esker solution being a hosted solution were a key benefit.” says Paul Gilbert.
The previous solution was server-based which required dedicated servers, additional software products and hence incurred hardware costs, software upgrade costs and solution administration costs – the Esker Cloud solution eliminated all of these costs and time consuming activities.” says Paul Gilbert.

For Tony Gruevski who manages the AP team, the functionality provided by the Esker Cloud AP solution for SAP transformed his daily activities.
It’s easier to work with, easier for the administrators, it’s simply user friendly in house. We don’t have to go to IT, and ask them to do things. I can create new users, I can create new reports. It’s pretty much a system designed for dummies in a way.

The Benefits

Orora has already achieved many of the benefits it was looking for in a new AP automation solution:

  • OCR accuracy has significantly increased and allows for touchless processing of invoices from hundreds of different vendors;
  • Reduction of costs throughout the process;
  • Elimination of IT infrastructure and administration costs;

We’ve definitely achieved accuracy in capturing invoices. We can now guarantee we are going to have the invoices in the system” says Tony Gruevski, reducing his stress level at the end of each month. “Cost-effective, flexible, great support, it ticks a lot of boxes.

Exceptional Support

The Orora team speaks highly of the project delivered by Esker Australia. “We are more than happy to give high praise to them. They provide good support, and if there is any issue, they follow up with me, and I can follow up with them,” says Tony Gruevski.

Future Plans with Esker

Orora has also implemented the Esker Cloud Fax services solution, which provides the ability to fax documents such as purchase orders and other transactional documents from SAP, without the need for any fax server or fax software.

We are more than happy to listen to what other solutions Esker can propose. We’ve had great support from them and have developed a strong working relationship with the Esker team.” says Tony Gruevski.

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