Brickworks builds a digital future
Australian building products manufacturer, Brickworks Limited has gone live with accounts payable (AP) automation including complex routing for review/approval and receipting for processing invoices in Australia. It intends to roll the system out across New Zealand in late June.
The platform was implemented by Australian and New Zealand solutions provider Efficiency Leaders, utilising Kofax scanning software with workflow implemented on the Efficiency Leaders Automation Platform (ELAP).
Brickworks employs over 1200 staff and has operations at over 65 different locations across Australia and New Zealand as well as a distributor network that supports export sales to countries such as Japan, Taiwan, Korea and the Middle East. Prior to the implementation of an automated process, Brickworks had a paper-based workflow in place to deal with around 10,000 invoices a month.
Damien Frost, General Manager Finance, said “We did a process flow analysis and found that an invoice was generally touched eight times by our staff. We had over a dozen staff doing data entry in accounts payable alone, our processes were 10 years behind where we needed to be.”
The large number of suppliers, over 11,000 individual firms, meant a wide variety of invoice formats were received and thus any automation project would have to address the requirement of extracting the invoice data without the use of templates, before entry into Brickworks Maximize ERP software. Additional complexities facing AP automation included multiple currencies, multiple versions of the ERP system and more than 20 company entities that would need to reference the different versions depending on the recipient company that was invoiced.
Their solution includes Kofax Capture and Kofax Transformation Modules integrating with Maximise Financials. The solution has been built with Microsoft SharePoint 2010 at the core, providing user interaction for both workflow and image and data storage.
After scanning, all invoices are still checked by an operator for accuracy, and then if the scanned invoice is matched with a purchase order it will go straight through to the ERP platform for payment.
Otherwise it is delivered in an ELAP workflow so that the PO raiser can action any unresolved items and in the case of non PO invoice, the appropriate manager receives an email with a digital copy of the invoice for approval.
Frost has so far been impressed with the improvements saying, “In our test locations we have had around a third of invoices going straight through with a match to a PO. If I am able to replicate that across the business our savings will be significant and our ultimate target is even higher than that.”