Our client is a leading American regional grocer with over 200 supermarkets in the Southeastern United States. They offer their customers a wide variety of food products including groceries, meat and dairy, produce, frozen foods etc. Along with the supermarkets, they also own and run shopping centers, gas stations and a milk processing plant.
Our client’s Accounts Payable process was fully manual with a large volume of invoices including both PO-based and non-PO-based invoices. The indirect or opex invoices comprised more than 15% of the total invoices and required 2 AP clerks for processing. Their business model also required a large amount of data to be integrated from multiple systems. The manual processes combined with a large number of invoices meant high invoice processing times and errors resulting in delays in vendor payments.
At a glance
The client needed a modern Accounts Payable Invoice processing solution centered on Automation, AI, and ML to streamline its manual, repetitive, error-ridden, and cumbersome processes. Applexus partnered with the client to implement InSITE into their SAP environment and in the process helped empower & boost the efficiency of their AP resources, reduce fraud, accelerate approvals, and lower invoice processing costs.
The approval for moving invoices from the intake stage to the payment stage also was done traditionally via email which again resulted in delays and proved to be cumbersome, especially in cases where the invoices had to go back and forth due to error/issues with the invoices.
Added to this, the whole process of capturing invoice information like the cost center, GL accounts, vendor numbers, etc., was accomplished manually in an Excel file, which was then uploaded into the SAP system, making the audit process more tedious and time-consuming. Without a unified view of the accounts payable process or links established between sales orders, purchase orders and invoices it was cumbersome to store, trace and retrieve these documents during auditing.
With a large number of invoices being processed annually, the costs incurred by the Accounts Payable function were huge because of the manual processes involved. Thus, there was a sound business case for our client to implement an Accounts Payable automation solution and this is where Applexus helped implement InSITE, our holistic vendor invoice management solution for Accounts payable. Currently, InSITE is processing nearly 160000 invoices annually for our client and will be scaling that going forward.
Leveraging automation, InSITE optimized the entire invoice flow cycle right from invoice intake, validation with master data, business rule application till posting to SAP ERP. This reduced the overall time and effort needed in the invoice processing journey.
Applexus Intelligent Data Extraction and Recognition (AIDER) that leverages AI and Machine Learning algorithms, identified and converted unstructured metadata from the invoices into standard and structured formats and auto-populated the data into the respective fields for the AP indexer. This relieved the AP team of manual work, saved time and reduced errors. The bulk upload feature in InSITE allowed our client to upload their non-PO invoices much faster improving the overall efficiency of the AP team. Applexus has also deployed AP as a BPaaS offering wherein the Applexus AP team would manually verify and resolve any issues post-data extraction from AIDER. Any issues are routed to the client’s AP team or the supplier directly for resolution.
Customized approval workflows were also built with InSITE as per the chart of authority. This made it easy to raise and assign invoices to the concerned member in the AP and get the invoice from intake to payment faster. InSITE’s in-built automation also ensured that the invoice would be routed to the next authorized person in case of the approver’s absence.
InSITE’s comprehensive audit trail and built-in reporting capabilities ensured better transparency into the status of the invoices throughout the lifecycle and the ability to store, trace and retrieve supporting documents of the invoice for reference by the audit team.
Key benefits delivered
- InSITE is currently processing nearly 36000 non-PO based invoices for the client
- Improved invoice processing productivity by 75% through automation
- Significant reduction in the invoicing errors due to minimal manual data entry
- Improved productivity enabled the 3 FTEs to focus on more value add activities