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Six lessons learned from Heineken’s e-invoicing journey

BlogSarah Feurey12.07.2012 Comments (1)Bookmark

Certipost, Electronic invoicing, Finance, Legal / Compliance / Risk, People, Process / Supporting Technology, Process excellence / Compliance, Procurement


Last week I attended sharedserviceslink.com’s e-Invoicing Europe 2012 Conference, which brought together a wide range of companies who have implemented e-invoicing.

Here are the lessons I took away from Marco Jansen’s (Manager Financial Services) presentation on implementing e-invoicing at Heineken:

1. Understand your supplier base: e-Invoicing is still new for many suppliers. Some suppliers will need extra attention and you need to provide a variety of solutions for different suppliers. Heineken offered:

  • A free web portal for small/low invoice suppliers

  • An integrated invoice message (XML, EDI) and mapping by Certipost into Heineken format for strategic suppliers

  • A roaming option to send invoices via other platforms for suppliers connected to other networks

2. Define your scope. How much can you reasonably achieve? Marco said he faced significant delays when they had to go back and redefine the scope of their project. Initially they aimed to convert 100,000 paper invoices to electronic. However they discovered not all of their operating companies were willing to work on this, and it would be more efficient to focus on fewer, strategic suppliers. They then limited the scope to 75,000 invoices. For Heineken, narrowing the scope and implementing a phased approach was the key to success.

3. Work with procurement. Your e-invoicing programme won’t work without cooperation between procurement and finance. Heineken spent time designing the escalation process with procurement, financial services and their provider.

4. Communicate clearly with your suppliers. Heineken established a dedicated project team with management support. Heineken were responsible for delivering a strong and powerful message to their suppliers, and Certipost took responsibility for on-boarding and providing suppliers with information.

5. Clean up your master data. To successfully on-board suppliers, you need to make sure you have the right contacts for the people who send invoices and accurate accounting data of your suppliers. When Heineken cleaned up their master vendor database, they identified 23,000 duplicate or dormant suppliers.

6. Be firm. Merely asking suppliers to convert to e-invoicing did not prove to be effective. In a phased approach, Heineken became increasingly firm with their suppliers. First they asked nicely, then firmly, and then they rejected invoices. Heineken now puts e-invoicing as requirement in contracts.

Heineken has done well to get 95% of invoices from their top 1000 suppliers converted to electronic. They have increased productivity from 30+ FTEs processing 60,000 invoices to 20 FTEs processing 500,000 invoices which is an increase of multiples of 12.5. Impressive.

What lessons have you learned on your e-invoicing journey?

e-invoicing, electronic invoicing, einvoicing, onboarding, Certipost, supplier communication, procurement

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Keith Edwards Shrewsbury Shropshire PCT 24.08.2012

30 FTE x 60K invoices - 1.8M transactions

20 FTE x 500K invoices - 10M transactions

That's a lot of growth!!