Dr. Werner Hopf on the Future of Customizations in SAP Systems
Recently, Dolphin CEO Dr. Werner Hopf was asked how companies can prepare SAP Systems for the future. He stated that SAP is “going away from on-premise custom programs more toward the SAP Cloud platform.” Companies, therefore, will need to reconsider how they think about customizations or unique features in the future.
Recently, Dolphin CEO Dr. Werner Hopf was asked how companies can prepare SAP Systems for the future. He stated that SAP is “going away from on-premise custom programs more toward the SAP Cloud platform.” Companies, therefore, will need to reconsider how they think about customizations or unique features in the future.
Many chief technology officers (CTOs) have already embraced the idea of cloud technology in some aspect of their business. Cloud storage and cloud hosted applications, for example, have long been popular options for organizations. Despite the numerous benefits of cloud solutions, a complete transition can seem risky, and many companies are reluctant to take the leap and implement a cloud-only strategy. This is why many organizations are choosing to adopt the
best of both worlds: a hybrid cloud approach that takes advantage of the benefits of cloud while keeping certain applications on premise.
Today, the question isn’t if hybrid cloud is a smart approach, but rather, what is the smartest way to implement a hybrid cloud strategy? Forward-looking CTOs recognize this shift and must now evaluate their organization’s cloud readiness and the best way to make the transition for their company.
When Adient, the world’s largest global automotive seating supplier, was spun off as a separate company from Johnson Controls (JCI) in 2016, the company needed to ensure it could keep Accounts Payable operating at peak efficiency or jeopardize important vendor relationships.
The company, which receives more than 3 million invoices each year across 230 facilities and 33 countries, wanted to find an invoice processing solution that could be installed as a single instance but used in its various regional shared services centers in North America, Europe and Asia. The solution would have to be able to accommodate the different languages, currencies, and invoice formats used across the company’s global supply chain and:
Increase the efficiency, accuracy, and timeliness of invoice processing
Enable consistent reporting against AP performance metrics, globally
Enforce corporate controls and comply with local financial regulations
The company had less than a year to move to set up the system in its new data center and decided to implement the Dolphin Process Tracking System for Accounts Payable, a solution which had been used successfully by its parent company, JCI, for almost a decade.
Solution: Process Tracking System for Accounts Payable
The centralized solution enabled Adient to standardize processing across the entire company. Key capabilities of the solution include:
Automated capture of highly unstructured invoice information using Optical Character Recognition (OCR)
Intelligent validation of invoices against Vendor and PO information in SAP
Configurable business rules to automatically post or route invoices for tax approval or exception handling based on corporate, regional, and local requirements
SAP workflows that integrate with other corporate processes in Global Procurement, Finance, and Treasury.
Centralized, efficient storage of invoice images for global access.
Real-time analytics and reporting on invoice processing metrics for productivity, cash flow, and status tracking
The Dolphin solution has certified integration with SAP S/4HANA, so the company knew it would work in the new SAP system which was Business Suite on SAP HANA, and that it would be able to work with S/4HANA when the company decided to migrate to that system in the future.
The company was able to complete the transition to the new data center in less than six months and experienced no disruption in business. Key accomplishments include
70% accuracy rate for paper-based invoices captured using OCR
40% of invoices autoposted based on defined business rules
Support for more than 10 languages
Faster processing with automated workflows for approvals and exceptions
Greater Efficiency with improved collaboration between the AP, Procurement, Finance, and Treasury departments with reports and analytics that provide complete insight into invoice lifecycle and greater insight into working capital
Reduced risk and greater transparency with standardized processes and centralized image storage for all three service centers: US, Europe, and Asia.
Compliance with diverse statutory requirements in the US, EMEA, and APAC
The company plans to enhance the solution with robotic process automation and to enable earlier monitoring of paper-based invoice to ensure the fastest possible processing time and capture even more discounts.
In a 2016 Dolphin and Shared Services Link conducted a survey of Global Process Owners asking them what challenges they face in managing the complex order to cash process.
Survey results show that 53% of GPOs cite lack of standardization as the primary challenge to improving processes. In order to cash, this lack of standardization is driven by (35%) poor alignment between teams and issues around global compliance and master data. The good news is that having a GPO in place is the best indicator of achieving more standardized processes as 63% of organizations with a GPO rate their processes as Good or Excellent.
Other topics covered in the survey include:
Barriers to improving Days Sales Outstanding
Degree of process accuracy
Challenges with timely access to information
Degree of automation in processing
Ability to report on and measure order to cash cycle time
Emergence of robotic process automation and cloud solutions to support processing
To find out more, download our Order to Cash Survey Results Report today.
In this recorded webinar, Brian Shannon, Chief Strategy Officer of Dolphin discusses how to calculate the potential ROI of accounts payable process optimization projects using standard SAP software reports, detailed questionnaires, and third-party analysis tools. Learn from real-world stories that demonstrate different process optimization options and the resulting benefits.
Setting goals for the finance team — such as improving efficiency and reducing costs — helps drive process improvements across the organization, but it is important to review these goals regularly to ensure they continue to serve the overall strategy of the business. Evolving best practices and new technologies can make it necessary to revisit outdated processes and shift the focus on value. In his latest article, Brian Shannon discusses five ways that companies can drive meaningful process improvements in their finance departments.
Improve Speed and Accuracy of Information Capture
Use Intelligent Automation
Focus on User-Centered Design
Move to the Cloud Where it Makes Sense
Value is More Important that Cost
Read Brian’s article to find out how to organizations can ensure that they are using current best practices and new technology to drive meaningful process improvements that deliver benefits throughout the finance department and beyond.
Dolphin takes an integrated approach to maximizing enterprise-wide performance, helping organizations manage the data that fuels the business and the processes that run it.We offer a unique combination of SAP add-on software solutions and business consulting services that help companies increase performance, reduce risk, and lower the total cost of ownership of SAP systems.
Cutting costs is a surefire way to improve the bottom line, but visionary Global Business Services leaders do more by controlling costs, cash, and risk. During this session we’ll discuss how to identify opportunities for process improvements across the entire Order-to-Cash mega-process. We’ll discuss how to prioritize improvements based on corporate strategic goals for cost containment, risk management and cash flow optimization. We’ll also help you build a business case to overcome common hurdles such as:
Executive and organizational “buy in”
Harmonization of improvement across your ERP systems
The Facilities and Services Department of the University of Toronto was looking for a solution to enable more efficient invoice capture and routing so it could reduce errors, eliminate paper-based processes, and shorten the payment cycle to vendors. The department, which is responsible for maintaining the downtown campus of the 4th largest university in North America, wanted to gain greater control over the large number of Non-PO invoices the university processed each month and benefit from better pricing/discounts from its wide network of vendors. Due to the unique audit and compliance requirements of this institution, the university also wanted to improve visibility into the entire invoice lifecycle from capture through posting and payment through the use of unique vendor spend reports.
After a detailed search for a solution that could meet the university’s needs, it selected the Dolphin Process Tracking System for Accounts Payable (PTS-AP), which enabled the university to achieve significant cost savings through the following key capabilities:
Flexible invoice capture to capture invoices electronically, improve invoice accuracy, and eliminate paper
Automated approval and exception handling workflows to shorten the payment cycle to vendors
Real-time invoice information to improve visibility into invoice processing, including Non-PO invoices
Ability to view invoices by vendor to reduce the time spent on vendor inquiries and report on vendor spend
Web and email notifications and escalations for approvals and exception handling
Ability to delegate approval authority to multiple individuals over a selected time period to accommodate employee sabbaticals
Report on utility consumption, spend trend, and more to improve compliance with the university’s policies and regulations
Since implementing the solution in late 2014, the university has been able to:
Gain complete transparency into invoices on spend by individual, departments, etc.
Fast capture and processing improves consistency of payment process, resulting in more discounts and avoidance of penalties
Capture of utility consumption is a huge gain for the department
Online processing results in no duplication of effort, freeing employees to do higher-value tasks instead of low-value clerical work
Sustainable online solution: the university is removing 80K sheets of paper, reducing office and storage space, etc.
Based on the current volume and cost of invoice processing in the department, the department expects to save 250K in the first year.
Fast Invoice Approvals & More Discounts with a Modern and Responsive App on the SAP HANA Cloud Platform
Want to capture early payment discounts from vendors and have better control over cash flow? Dolphin Advanced Approvals enables companies to quickly and easily approve Accounts Payable invoices and manage exceptions anytime, anywhere using any device. Available on the HANA Cloud Platform, Dolphin Advanced Approvals is a modern and responsive web-based application that is both easy to deploy and use.
In this Webcast:
Learn how enabling users to approve invoices quickly ensures the organization can capture more vendor discounts and lower invoice processing costs
Discover how extending SAP applications with invoice approval solutions can improve transparency and control over organizational spending and cash flow
Leverage the power of the SAP HANA Cloud Platform to quickly transform outdated, manual processes with minimal administration and support effort
Increase user adoption with modern, responsive solutions that provide a consistent user experience on a desktop or mobile device
Dolphin’s approach to Accounts Payable automation and optimization takes significant time and cost out of the Accounts Payable process while providing several options for a truly unique solution that addresses your specific business situation.
SAP Invoice Automation
Dolphin’s Process Tracking System for Accounts Payable (PTS-AP) is an SAP-certified solution with invoice automation. It automates the receipt of invoice documents and data into the SAP application and incorporates easy-to-use dashboards that enable greater visibility into the accounts payable workflow process. PTS-AP is tightly integrated with SAP and utilizes the SAP NetWeaver Business Workflow engine, SAP ArchiveLink technology and third-party content management solutions. This unique architecture enables AP users to stay within the SAP application to record or review transaction records, while non-SAP approvers can still access invoices and perform coding and approvals using email and a Web-based interface. PTS-AP also contains open interfaces to image capture solutions, such as optical character recognition (OCR) and e-Invoicing networks to minimize data capture inefficiency and errors.
SAP Accounts Payable Automation
An optimized SAP/Accounts Payable process using Dolphin PTS-AP delivers sustainable cost savings, cash flow management and risk mitigation. How? The Dolphin dashboard instantly provides real-time information and robust analytics tools to better manage your cash flow. Because all records are up-to-date and Web-accessible, business users can review and analyze a complete process history that is more accurate than ever. Businesses may improve vendor relations by quickly providing immediate answers to vendor inquiries rather than researching and making many calls to confirm. The time savings from automating routine transactions allows your AP staff to focus on dealing with issues, exceptions and the highest business priorities.
This infographic demonstrates how the University of Toronto Facilities and Services Department was able to have savings add up quickly by implementing a centralized and standardized Accounts Payable solution for SAP systems. This award-winning solution has saved the team hundreds of hours and thousands of pages of paper as were able to increase the percentage of electronic invoices and enable online approvals for more than 100 staff located across Canada’s largest university that is like city-within-a-city.
Hear Gretchen Kincade of GE Water & Process Technologies speak about how the company created a global center of excellence for controlling accounts payable activities across a broad multi-national organization to ensure maximum performance, achieve superior match rates, and capture all available discounts.
By integrating the Dolphin Accounts Payable solution with Ariba, GE Water has been able to gain better cost control over the procure-to-pay process with:
Increased visibility and global metrics enables centralized oversight of an off shored Accounts Payable process
An optimized the entire Buy-to-Pay process to meet and surpass corporate document retention and compliance standards
Coordinated large multi-national project with a change leadership strategy to put the right pieces in place for success
Honeywell International, a Fortune 100 diversified technology and manufacturing leader, was looking to improve its AP efficiency with a solution that could be used across its six global business groups. Everyone, everywhere should be able to use the same process and the same solution, so the company could more accurately track and report on invoice status. The global and diversified nature of the business required a solution that was also flexible enough to allow the company to extend its common core process to accommodate local business needs and regulations where necessary.
The company initially rolled out Dolphin Process Tracking System for Accounts Payable in 2006, at the same time the company was rolling out its global SAP system. At this time, the company used the Dolphin solution to provide a centralized view of scanned invoices received from across the company. Gradually, over time the company expanded the functionality of the solution in phases to include capabilities such as:
Increased electronic invoice capture, including OCR (paper, fax, or email) and EDI (large vendors or inter-company transactions)
Automated the processing and coding of non-PO vendor invoices (i.e., Utilities, Rent)
Configurable business rules to increase ability to auto-post invoices
Tight integration with SAP OM to support billing documentation requirements
Flexible document search and batch output to support internal and external inquiries and local document storage requirements
Separate phases and functionality were rolled out in 2010, 2011, and 2013.
Now that the company is using one common process and one common solution for Accounts Payable, it has achieved many benefits including:
40% auto-posting of invoices
Real-time view of invoices across all six business units
Ability to increase volume without increasing headcount
Fewer keystrokes required for invoice entry and validation
Faster processing of Non-PO invoices, such as utility invoices
Ability to support international documentation requirements quickly and easily
Compliant with EU payment directive and other regulations
Multiple shared service centers running on the same IT infrastructure
The largest county in Florida wanted to centralize and automate the processing of more than 7,000 invoices a month. The county had implemented SAP ERP more than a decade before and used the software for many of its financial processes; however, the AP department still relied on a paper-based invoicing process. Vendors mailed invoices to the county’s various offices and departments, and these invoices were then routed for manual approval. For an organization that manages massive projects like constructing roads and buildings, accurate financial planning is crucial. Also, Florida Statute requires the Collier County Clerk of Courts to audit these documents to ensure legality of payment, which can increase the timeline for processing invoices.
“We had manual processes in place for receiving and processing invoices,” says Jane McDonald, Senior Project Manager for Collier County Clerk of Courts. “Workers used email and interoffice mail and didn’t always send the invoices to the AP department right away. We didn’t have visibility into an invoice’s status until it was approved and entered into SAP ERP at the very end of the process. Because our projects sometimes continue for months, workers often had to search through file cabinets (files are kept on site for two years) or warehouse archives to locate older invoices.”
The Clerk of Courts management information system (MIS) and AP organizations knew it was time to research new technology that would leverage the SAP workflow. A cross-functional team was assembled and began to evaluate how much work would be required to build and maintain a custom solution from scratch. At the same time, they also considered third-party vendors that might be able to provide an appropriate solution. Key capabilities the county identified include:
Ability to integrate the chosen technology with the organization’s current SAP environment
Digital storage of invoices
Easy extraction of information for auditors
The county’s vendor selection team chose Dolphin’s Process Tracking System for Accounts Payable (PTS-AP), which went live in August 2012. The project involved instituting a new accounts payable workflow aimed at centralizing the AP process countywide. Key feature are:
Automated invoice capture, with scan and capture
Powerful InfoCenter to facilitate invoice processing and troubleshooting by the AP staff
Automated workflows to route invoices to the appropriate department that, in turn, can route it for additional approval(s).
Improved exception handling for If an invoice is rejected during that process, it can be easily returned to the vendor with a rejection code along, with any backup documentation to explain why it could not be paid.
“All of these steps in the invoice approval process have a predefined status within the system’s workflow,” explains Frank Bodino, Senior Systems Analyst at Collier County Clerk of Courts. “In this new process, all of the steps are visible. We know where each invoice is at all times, we know who looked at it, what notes they put down, and when it was approved. If the invoice was rejected, we know why.”
After the invoice is approved, the goods receipt is matched, and the AP audit is performed, then the invoice can be posted to SAP ERP. “All the information we need to post the invoice is there, so there’s no dual-keying or duplication of data,” McDonald says. “We just hit the button, and the invoice information posts.”
Improving the AP business process required changes across the entire organization. For example, since invoices now come into the AP department as the first step of the new process, the various departments within county government had to adapt to a new workflow where AP clerks scan the invoices.
While the new workflow for invoice processing is much more streamlined and intuitive, it did require training users on the new system and getting their buy-in on the updated processes. “Just like with any training, some people caught on very quickly and others struggled with the new processes,” says McDonald. “The project team created training documents to help explain the process in a way users could understand.”
According to McDonald, the new solution has delivered all of the benefits advertised and more.
Easy access to and cost effective storage of invoice documents
Simplified approvals process
Ability to track how many invoices are processed in a given period is helping the organization measure its own performance.
Improved visibility both internally and externally.
“Now, we can provide our external auditors with invoice information, purchase order (PO) information, and backup documentation more easily than we could with the paper-based system,” says McDonald. “In the past, we had to go back to the paper files and dig out the invoice which was time consuming. A significant time and cost savings benefit was our ability to search by check number or the clearing document and instantaneously receive the information associated with the invoice.”
The improved metrics have also pinpointed any delays in the AP process. For example, the new process showed that many invoices are rejected because vendors don’t provide PO numbers on their invoices. Without the PO number, AP clerks were forced to try and find out which department and what purchase generated the invoice. By requesting that vendors provide the PO number on their invoices, the AP process has been streamlined even further.
According to Bodino, the county has become more efficient thanks to the new solution. “We have been able to fix and change processes that, while they worked, were cumbersome at best,” he says.
Pepco Holdings Inc. (PHI) is one of the largest energy delivery companies in the mid-Atlantic region wanted to centralize its accounts payable processing to increase efficiencies and lower processing costs. The company had grown gradually through acquisition, and as a result, was receiving, reviewing, approving and processing invoices at more than 20 locations in four states and five jurisdictions. The accounts payable processes were disjointed and very manual, which increased the company’s cost of paying invoices and made it difficult to stay in compliance with the highly regulated industry’s stringent data retention requirements.
As part of PHI’s Invoice Improvement Project (IIP), the company implemented Dolphin’s Process Tracking System for Accounts Payable (PTS-AP) solution with the Supplier Portal by Taulia, for the following key capabilities:
Advanced imaging and digitization of invoices
SAP-enabled workflow solutions to automatically post or route invoices based on the company’s multi-tiered corporate approval policy
Centralized, efficient storage of invoice images for easy access
Self-service portal access for self-service invoicing and online inquiries
Real-time analytics and reporting on invoice processing metrics for productivity, cash flow, and status tracking.
The solution was rolled out across all three of PHI’s utility companies, Delmarva Power & Light, Atlantic City Electric, and Pepco, in a comprehensive process-driven initiative unlike any other accounts payable project in the utility industry.
The company was able to achieve over $3 million in savings for 2014 – an incredible return on investment. Mary Gabriel, Manager of Accounts Payable and Sarbanes-Oxley stated “Enhanced controls, increased transparency and shortened cycle times are a direct result of the process-centric innovation the solution provides”. Key results include:
Reduce the average invoice processing time from 30 days to less than 10
Automated the processing of low-dollar, high-volume invoices
Improved reporting and compliance with regulatory requirements
Reduced document storage fees by 39% for savings of more than $100,000 each year
Increase transparency with their suppliers and strengthening their relationships
Captured nearly $2 million in discounts in by offering early payments to their suppliers through the intuitive supplier platform
In June 2015, the company received the Supply Chain Excellence award from Southeastern Electric Exchange for its innovative Accounts Payable project.
The Order-to-Cash process is at the heart of your business. And yet, this process is often surprisingly disjointed, inefficient and difficult to track. In theory, order-to-cash is a single “mega” process that moves an order through the organization from sales through delivery, billing and finally to payment processing. In reality, however, order-to-cash touches many different departments which are either unable or unwilling to work together.
Speed Procure-to-Pay Approvals and Exceptions in SAP® applications
Unwire your organization with the Dolphin Mobile Approvals App and enable busy managers to approve critical or time-sensitive SAP procure-to-pay transactions anytime, anywhere, on any mobile device.Organizations can reduce invoice approval time, increase productivity, and optimize cash flow by pushing procure-to-pay information directly to managers’ smartphones or tablets, so they can quickly:
Approve and code Non-PO Invoices
Accelerate the resolution of blocked or held PO-based invoices
View invoice images as an attachment
Approve other P2P transactions from the same app: shopping carts, purchase requisitions, purchase orders, service entry sheets, and expense reports
This SAP procure-to-pay mobile approvals app is fully integrated with Dolphin’s Process Tracking System for Accounts Payable solution (PTS-AP), which is SAP-certified from SAP NetWeaver 7.0 to NetWeaver 7.40 on HANA. The App leverages these certifications as well as PTS-AP’s existing certifications on SAP NetWeaver Gateway.
When it comes to Accounts Payable, find out how to automate and the optimize the process to achieve immediate sustainable cost improvements while at the same time, have the visibility into what drives expenditures to control cash flow and mitigate risk.
Sandy Maxey, Senior Director of Treasury Operations at Cobra Electronics, shares how Cobra overcame their challenges in collections by implementing an accounts receivable solution that provided instant visibility to critical sales and delivery documents, and streamlined their collection process.
David Kraulis, Senior Manager, Financial Operations, goes through step-by-step how they leveraged SAP ERP Financials to streamline their approval process, enhance internal controls and create a scalable foundation for operation expansion.
Download this webcast to hear how Accounts Receivable organizations using SAP® are managing their receivables by implementing solutions that automate capture of remittance data and provide instant visibility to critical sales, delivery, invoicing and payment documents. Learn how to….
Streamline discrepancy management processes
Increase visibility to payment documents – the remittance image is actually attached to the clearing document
Accelerate routing of exceptions with automated tracking and reminders
Integrate with SAP’s Financial Supply Chain Management solutions
Gain 360 degree visibility to all images in the Sales Document Flow, including critical signed proofs of delivery
Hear Carol Lietzau, ACS Project Manager at Honeywell International, as she discusses Honeywell’s journey and process for a global roll-out of an SAP Accounts Payable solution across various business units and countries to ensure continuous process improvement and compliance.
The Dolphin Mobile Approvals App, capable of supporting SAP approvals on your mobile device. The App, powered by Innovapptive and the SAP NetWeaver Gateway, allows busy users to approve critical or time-sensitive procure-to-pay transactions, whether they are in meetings or out in the field.
In this webinar, Dolphin and Innovapptive discuss how mobile can unwire your enterprise, so you can accelerate approvals and improve exception handling for more efficient procure to pay processes, improved controls, and increased cash flow.
Email, manual signatures, and a hard copy filing system were the standard tools used to manage the accounts payable workflow needs of the company that operates the most contemporary and technologically advanced drillship fleet in the world.
In this ASUG webcast, John Mazza of Pacific Drilling and Brian Shannon of Dolphin demonstrate how moving to a more efficient, standardized global process helped Pacific Drilling’s AP department meet its business objectives so it could scale to accommodate rapid international growth and deliver real cost savings through improved use of cash.
Learn how Pacific Drilling optimized its Accounts Payable processes by:
Digitizing invoices and content
Introducing intelligent coding and routing of transactions
For Bourns, a global manufacturer of electronic components, the goal was to go beyond ‘paperless’ in Accounts Payable to achieve touchless processing in its SAP environment.
In this ASUG Webcast, Marie Bourns of Bourns, Inc. shares the details of their journey to find a solution that met their CFO’s mandates of eliminating paper and manual ‘touches’. She discusses how they automate the exception process and benefits from real time visibility enabling the ability to handle discrepancies as well as employee expense processing.
Marie describes their course from roadmap to realization documenting the value gained in addition to lessons learned. In particular attendees will learn about Bourns’ unique approaches to reach “touch-less processing” using Dolphin’s Process Tracking System for Accounts Payable which delivers options such as auto post within tolerances.
The next step for Bourns is rolling out the automation solution to its 15 global entities across Central and South America, Europe and Asia quickly and effortlessly.
The University of Toronto, one of the top-ranked research universities in the world, is used to being at the head of the class. So, when the Facilities and Services department was looking for a solution to optimize its accounts payable processes and increase savings and efficiencies, it wanted a “smart” solution that could meet the University’s unique requirements.
In this webcast, Ron Swail, Assistant Vice-President, Facilities & Services and Darrel Fernandopulle, Director, Financial Services – Facilities & Services from the University of Toronto and Brian Shannon of Dolphin will discuss how the department was able to implement an SAP-centric solution that could automate and standardize its manual accounts payable processes and also support the University’s unique business processes and diverse vendor community.
Don Keskey, Senior Manager of Global Shared Accounting, Tennant Co. addresses the four things the company has done in the past three and a half years to move away from business challenges, and moved towards:
Putting preventative controls and processes in place to avoid costly and inefficient audits down the road
Freeing up administrators’ time from low value work and enabling accountants to work on higher level accounting
Operating a standard global process that everyone now follows
Being able to ‘flex’ resources by moving high volume work to low cost, high resourced delivery centers, instead of recruiting locally to manage peaks in demand
When Vishay Intertechnology transformed its manual invoice process into a fully optimized and centralized process, it wanted to ensure that the Accounts Payable staff and affected business users were ready for the changes to come.
Learn how the company implemented a program to teach Vishay’s “old dogs” some “new tricks” so it could maximize the benefits from its AP process improvements and:
Gain greater insight and control of invoice processing across six different locations
Scale business easily to accommodate new vendors and global business units
Increase the auto-posting rate and reduce the overall cost per invoice
Learn how with a well-planned roll out and a good sense of humor the Vishay Intertechnology team managed to achieve essential process improvements that resulted in lower processing costs, faster invoice processing times, and better controls, so the company could support its continuing growth and strategic objectives.
SAP ERP HCM gives organizations in all industries the tools needed to manage their most important asset: people. The solution helps executives, human resources professionals and line-of-business leaders to forecast, plan and hire, as well as cultivate the skills of and train their workforce.
But like it or not, managing the process of people is both labor and paper intensive. For most businesses it has become increasingly important to have visibility into the workforce and a clear succession plan – ensuring a company never misses an opportunity. The requirements include quick identification of and access to all data and records.
By automating Human Resources, you can ensure that HR, managers and executives have the information they need to make sound business decisions. Automation of core HR processes focuses on streamlining administrative tasks, increasing efficiency and supporting compliance within changing global and local environments. The results can be significant, allowing you to pay more attention to strategic tasks, cost reduction and improved efficiency and productivity.
Dolphin delivers a rich environment to create solutions specific for any SAP Human Resources workflow. Developed with the SAP Business Workflow EngineTM, our solution takes a document-centric view. No matter how you want to design your HR workflow process, Dolphin makes it easy for Human Resources to be in command of how you track, manage and control the many documents that make up the employee record database.
Process Tracking System (PTS) for SAP Customer Order Management
Automate sales orders into your SAP application to improve productivity, reduce errors and handle exceptions. Reduce Days Sales Outstanding and gain visibility into the process. There’s a basic transaction at the heart of every business – a customer wants your product, sends an order and you deliver. How you manage that transaction says a lot about your company to the customer. Is it easy? Is it fast? Is it flexible? If a customer calls with a question, can you find the order and resolve the problem before you put down the phone? Successful companies respond to orders fast. They’re confirmed instantly, and the customer information is quickly entered and processed for scheduling and on-time delivery. The data is available on-demand to confirm order status, manage the process and make informed, accurate forecasts. Sales Order Management is in many ways the most important thing you can do to keep your customers loyal and happy. Dolphin offers a unified dashboard view of the Sales Order Management process. Making this process visible, trackable and reportable can drive dramatic productivity improvements in the Order-to-Cash process.
Managing Documents Throughout the Accounts Receivable Process
The Order-to-Cash process is at the heart of your business. And yet, it is often surprisingly inefficient and difficult to track. Even the smallest error can make the process inefficient, quickly draining available capital and resources. Automating order-to-cash processes and linking documents improves cash availability by decreasing the number of touch points at each step of the cycle, speeding your receipt of revenue and boosting productivity.
The Order-to-Cash process touches key performance areas: sales order management, order fulfillment, billing, credit management, cash collection and cash application. Dolphin can help you streamline this process. Managing the Order-to-Cash process more effectively ensures that orders get delivered on time and payments are collected quickly. Moreover, it ensures that you recognize revenue in compliance with company policy, accounting standards and regulatory requirements. In many ways, how you handle the Order-to-Cash process is the most important aspect of a company’s relationship with its customers. Now, make it the most important part of your business process management plan by turning to Dolphin for help.
SAP is the best-in-class ERP system. That’s why you chose it. That’s why your organization made a significant investment of time and resources to implement it as your system of record. Despite this, many organizations look to implement solutions that use other workflow engines when they want to improve their business processes.
Dolphin takes an SAP-centric approach to business process optimization. Our solutions incorporate pre-built workflows that are based on line of business (i.e., Accounts Payable, Accounts Receivable, Order Management and Human Resources) and SAP system best practices. By leveraging the power of the SAP Business Workflow engine, we can provide our customers with solutions that are fast, flexible and cost-effective.
We’ve compiled the Top 10 reasons we’ve heard from SAP customers why using the SAP Business Workflow engine is not only a sensible solution, it is the BEST solution for organizations running SAP systems.
For organizations running SAP, using manual, paper-based processes reduces the benefits and business value gained from an SAP system implementation.
Dolphin’s imaging and business workflow solutions improve an organization’s return on investment in SAP by transforming manual, document-centric processes into fully automated and integrated business processes tailored to the organization’s specific business needs.
Our solutions expertly integrate SAP standard technology with leading SAP add on solutions from Dolphin and other software providers, to provide customers with automated and streamlined processes that improve efficiency, reduce errors, and improve transparency.
An efficient Accounts Payable (AP) process minimizes the clerical work associated with invoice capture and entry. Accounts Payable service levels and costs are also impacted by supplier inquiries regarding invoice receipt, expected payment date, changes to account information, and more. Adding a SAP accounts payable vendor portal can significantly reduce the time your AP staff spends responding to vendor inquiries and the self-service aspect enables suppliers to review invoice and payment status 24/7.
Dolphin’s Vendor Portal powered by Taulia is a powerful web application that addresses these issues and more. Tightly integrated with SAP, your accounts payable application, the vendor portal provides your suppliers with the means and visibility to submit invoices, have a real-time view of the process, search and retrieve purchase orders, learn the payment date, and even trigger or negotiate early payment for discounts. You’ll see immediate benefits in heightened efficiency to help save time and reduce costs that help improve cash flow.
Dynamic Discounting allows buyers and sellers of commercial goods and services to change the payment terms for an individual invoice or group of invoices to accelerate payment based on a sliding discount scale. The process is specifically designed to allow buyers and sellers to manage early payment discount offers easily and seamlessly.
Dolphin handles dynamic discounting through a secure, hosted vendor portal that provides suppliers on-demand access to invoice status details. Details can be set according to company business rules and parameters, and AP departments can take advantage of the ability to create an invoice referencing the exact line items of a Purchase Order, increasing hands-free invoice posting. Increasing hands-free posting percentage reduces the number of vendor calls to the AP department, so that staff can engage in more productive activities.
Reduce spend and earns more early payment discounts
Grant suppliers a say in payment timing
Discount amounts calculated dynamically based on the number of days remaining until the due date
Discounts can be taken dynamically as needs of buyer or seller dictate; they do not need to be negotiated in advance
Easy to use; no user training
Pay suppliers ahead of time – win/win for you and your supplier
The solution benefits suppliers as well, by offering them the flexibility of discounting some or all of their receivables. This eliminates the need to engage high-cost financing options like factoring or asset-based lending to obtain cash liquidity. And, dynamic discounting mitigates the uncertainty surrounding the timing and amount of payments, improving cash flow forecasting.
Find, Display, and Output Documents in SAP
The Document Navigator and Output solution allows you to do find, display and mass output the documents from SAP that are stored on external ArchiveLink compliant content repositories. The mass output option supports batch or package output. You can access all related documents and content and distribute them selectively (all or one) to print, fax, email or download. For example, with a customer on the phone, you are able to view all sales order related content and instantly e-mail it as one package.
Batch output needs typically include AP Invoices, Purchase Orders, SD Order Related Documents, Customer Invoices and HR Employee Folders.
Examples of ad hoc package printing are PM Work Order Package – PM work order and notifications including DMS and ArchiveLink documents from equipment, locations, work-orders, notifications and materials; Customer Billing Package – SD Invoice with related documents from sales order (customer PO), delivery (POD, COA), material (MSDS) and shipment (shipping instructions, packing list); and AR Check Package – Checks with supporting documents such as invoice or other billing package documents.
Accounts Payable, with its manual, paper-based operations, has much to gain from automation. The process is time-consuming, repetitive and error prone. More urgently, the people responsible for the process have no visibility into it and cannot be assured of getting timely, accurate information on demand. Yet, too many organizations have not realized the full value of process automation initiatives or not undertaken them at all.
This white paper details inefficiencies and obstacles in Accounts Payable focused around invoice capture and processing. Highlighting solutions available to automate and optimize the “invoice-to-pay” portion of the process, we discuss options that bring us closer toward a true paper-free environment. Financial & Process Excellence is only possible when paper is truly eliminated.
Please fill out the form to access the White Paper.
Optimizing the Order-to-Cash Process: Managing Documents Throughout the Process
The cash flow management landscape is experiencing a seismic shift. Related business processes have often been overlooked as a catalyst for improved working capital and business performance; however, for companies using robust SAP® applications for corporate finance functions, it is not enough to update single aspects of these critical processes. Managing the end-to-end flow of cash through the enterprise in today’s fast paced business environment requires a comprehensive and integrated solution approach.
This White Paper discusses powerful opportunities throughout your SAP Order-to-Cash process and how to achieve an optimized process.
Manual processes are costly, time-consuming, repetitive and error-prone. The people responsible have no visibility into the process and executives cannot be assured of getting timely, accurate information on demand to better run the business. Lack of quality information from inflexible, paper-based processes is both risky and costly. There is a better way.
Learn how Accounts Payable optimization can help you:
Eliminate paper and save on manual storage and distribution
Improve cash flow by eliminating late payment fees
Quickly obtain discounts and advantageous payment terms
Track invoices and documents in your workflow process
Increasingly, organizations are moving Accounts Payable, Accounts Receivable and other core business functions to in-house or outsourced shared services centers. While CFOs are looking to reduce costs and increase efficiency, the reality is that many organizations struggle with how to ensure that shared services centers deliver maximum value to the organization. Too often, the move to a shared service center can result in a loss of control and transparency for critical business processes and once in place, it can be difficult to change processes to align with the organization’s strategic goals or adapt to rapidly changing local requirements.
Paystream Advisors’ report “Automation Solutions for SAP: Solutions for Touch-less Accounts Payable” discusses the various options available to organizations looking to improve the efficiency of invoice processing.
One of the largest multi-media and on-line retailers in the world was struggling with a very paper driven Accounts Payable process. The time to process invoices was long and labor intensive. The staff was spending too much time handling exceptions causing lost invoices, duplicate payments and other inefficiencies. The decision was made to automate as much of the process as possible.
There were several unique requirements for the solution. The company decided to roll out the solution in the UK; however the technical team was in the US. Also, not all approvers were SAP users and there was no budget for additional licenses. In addition, the company needed a solution that would:
Work with SAP Apparel and Footwear (AFS)
Enable auto-posting of invoices
Use SAP workflows
Dolphin implemented our best practices solution for Accounts Payable (AP) that leveraged the company’s existing SAP environment. The solution included key features the company needed including:
Visibility into invoice status throughout the invoice-to-pay process
SAP workflows and automated invoice capture to speed up and automate the manual processes
Web-based approvals for both SAP and non-SAP approvals.
Manual processes were replaced with automated ones reducing risk by eliminating errors, duplicate payments and lost and/or misplaced documents. The company transitioned from a completely paper-driven, manually intensive AP vendor payment process to an automated, streamlined and flexible workflow solution thereby reducing costs and improving inefficiencies.
The company has realized many benefits since implementing the solution:
Reduced average invoice processing time from 20 days to 9 days
40% reduction in processing staff
Improved productivity through all processing steps
Eliminated errors and redundancies
Invoices are handled only once
Simplified approval process
Decreased number of vendor inquiries
Provides complete visibility, control and audit trails from point of entry into SAP to payment
The company also implemented SAP’s Data Archive Retention Tool (DART) for the UK and Germany, and data archiving in the US, for FI and MM. Ongoing data archiving is ensuring optimal system performance and compliance for structured and non-structured data and documents.
A global manufacturer of major home appliances was growing through acquisition, which meant that there was an immediate 40% increase in orders. This caused many problems for the company, including:
No staff or space increased to match higher order volume
All inbound orders handled manually
Lost and misplaced orders
Manual order tracking was inconsistent across divisions
Leveraging the company’s SAP environment, Dolphin implemented our best practice solution for sales order management Using Dolphin Process Tracking System for Order Management the solution enables:
Automatic capture of inbound orders
Easy access to sales order documents within SAP
Automated bundling of order-related documents for faster outbound communications to trade partners
SAP workflows to streamline their proof of delivery (POD), lien waiver and billing package management processes
Exception handling workflows to address material price variants
The company has been able to realize immediate and ongoing cost savings. Key benefits include:
Faster more accurate order processing
Easy access to and bundling of order documents from SAP
Satisfies all retention requirements
Knowledge transfer to internal team to repeat process for “new” legacy systems
A world-leading global supplier of water treatment, wastewater treatment and process systems solutions centrally received all invoices in the US. In an effort to reduce processing costs, they outsourced the processing to Bangalore, India. However, they soon found that visibility into the process and control became issues.
Dolphin implemented the Dolphin Process Tracking System for Accounts Payable, which would allow the company to reduce costs with outsourced processing and still maintain centralized control over invoice processing. The solution included:
Scanning and Capture of manual invoices (mail, fax or email)
Real-time data on invoice processing
Instant access to invoice documents from within SAP
Invoice validation and SAP workflows to address common challenges such as ad-hoc approvals, invoice prioritization and invoice duplication.
The solution enables the US facility to receive invoices by mail, fax or email. The invoices are then scanned and approved. Staff in the US facility also handle vendor inquiries and master data maintenance. The team in India, on the other hand is responsible for indexing the scanned documents and processing the invoices. Both the US and India groups worked together to pinpoint success factors and formalize the necessary hand-offs to support the business process. The solution was implemented in less than four weeks.
Today, 25% of the processing is done in the US; 75% is sent offshore. Benefits of this module include 24-hour work cycles; the ability to structure and assemble teams with diverse skill sets; and the ability to scale up or down depending on the requirements. Other benefits are:
A 140-year-old privately held real estate investment company best known for the balanced, sustainable communities in Southern California and the Silicon Valley was in the process of rolling out SAP. The company had grown quickly and consequently had very complex Accounts Payable (AP) processes. With over 400 managed properties, there was no visibility into invoices needing approval, and the process needed to be re-engineered. The company decided the best approach is to automate its existing AP process, concurrent with the SAP rollout, so it could have a more centralized invoice process that provided greater visibility.
Dolphin provided complete blueprint, implementation and training services for the company’s invoice process for Accounts Payable. The solution included Dolphin Process Tracking System for Accounts Payable, along with archiving to retain the invoice images in PBS ContentLink, an SAP ArchiveLink certified document repository. Dolphin designed and implemented the capture management system consisting of Kofax Ascent and Ascent for Payables Optical Character Recognition (OCR). Custom workflows were created using SAP Business WorkFlow to provide seamless integration and to complement the entire procure-to-pay process.
Key decision points were:
An end-to-end solution with one vendor
A complementary rollout in conjunction with SAP Procure to Pay
Maximum leverage of their SAP investment with minimal additional Total Cost of Ownership (TCO)
Best practices-based solution tailored to their specific environment
Web-based approval and coding of invoices
Automatic routing of invoices for approval and coding based on rules, without AP processor intervention
The project from blueprint to implementation successfully went “live” in conjunction with their SAP application providing a seamless procure-to-pay solution.
An enterprise-wide view to invoices
Automatic process time monitoring and escalation as needed
Improved efficiencies and visibility to invoices reducing lost or misrouted invoices
After rapid growth of the business through a series of mergers and acquisitions, the automotive division of global manufacturing was left with a decentralized accounts payable (AP) process across its 180 plants worldwide. The company had two outsourced shared services environments, inconsistent processes, and limited visibility into when invoices were received and paid.
To process its more than 2.5 million invoices each year, the company wanted an SAP-centric solution that would enable the company to centralize and standardize invoice processing
across the company and:
Reduce invoice processing costs
Post invoices quickly
Resolve vendor discrepancies with less effort
The company also wanted a solution that would allow it to bring its shared services center in-house to increase controls and transparency.
The company implemented the Dolphin Process Tracking System for Accounts Payable (PTS-AP) solution. After conducting a detailed analysis, the Dolphin team developed a blueprint for process optimization that included:
Automated capture of invoice header and line-items with Optical Character Recognition
Early, automated validation of invoices against specific business rules
Automated routing of invoices for approvals and exception handling using SAP workflow
Detailed AP dashboard and analytics for insight into invoice status from initial capture through processing and posting
Dolphin incorporate industry best practices and the company’s specific business rules to enable the centralization and standardization of its accounts payable processes. With the solution in place, the company was able to move its shared service centers in-house. It was also able to adopt new business rules such as “intelligent routing and coding”, which increased efficiencies and lowered processing costs by ensuring key invoices were paid on time, available discounts were captured, and less time and effort was spent managing exceptions and vendor inquiries.
The solution was implemented in less than four months and has since been expanded to other divisions. Today, the company is processing more than 10,000 invoices per day, faster, and at
a lower cost per invoice. Key results include:
Millions in savings from faster invoice processing, captured discounts, and reduced late payment penalties
Improved accuracy with a >70% OCR recognition rate across all European languages.
Faster exception handling with invoice validation and vendor inquiries performed by in-house shared service centers in Europe and Mexico
Improved control and visibility with real-time invoice status tracking and improved reporting and analytics
The initiative received the company’s Chairman’s Award which is the highest company-wide recognition for an internal project.
A large regional electric and gas distribution utility with nearly 700,000 customers was going through an acquisition, reorganization and a bankruptcy in a little more than a year. The company chose to use these changes as an opportunity to address the challenges around invoice processing.
The utility’s Accounts Payable (AP) department received and paid approximately 75,000 invoices, representing $850 million in annual payments annually. The company started by reorganizing and centralizing the AP department. The reorganization allowed the company to reduce staff but it did not deliver any productivity improvements. Furthermore, the drastic changes at the company resulted in a significant disruption of AP processes. Invoices weren’t being approved on time. Duplicate payments were issued. Invoices were lost. And while productivity was down, overtime was up—AP staff was under pressure to reduce overtime and still get the job done. There were invoice control issues and SOX remediation became a stated priority.
Even after adding employees back, the invoice processing issues remained. The company attempted to upgrade their Enterprise Content Management (ECM) capabilities to include electronic approvals, but the process was too slow. Management needed a quicker fix.
The company decided to move to a centralized processing model that would increase productivity, lower costs, and allow the regulated provider to meet Sarbanes-Oxley (SOX) requirements for accounts payable documentation.
Dolphin recommended a number of improvements that would allow the company to take control of the Accounts Payable process. Dolphin Process Tracking System for Accounts Payable (PTS-AP), provided the company with a turnkey solution for managing documents and automating the AP process with our enhanced SAP workflow. Key capabilities of the solution include:
Invoice scanning and capture
SAP workflows to automate approvals and exception handling
Efficient document storage in the company’s existing FileNet repository
Robust reporting capabilities for real-time information on invoice status
With real-time invoice information, the company was able to resolve vendor inquiries in minutes rather than days. The company was able to control cash flow and make informed decisions about what invoices needed to be paid and by when.
Results The company has realized ongoing cost savings from the productivity and efficiency gains. The solution also ensures that the company is able to mitigate risk and comply with policies. The solution was implemented in four months, from initial project planning through go-live. To date, the results have been…
Reduced invoice process cycle time
Freed 6-8 employees in operating areas allowing them to be deployed to areas of greatest need within the accounting department
Decreased overtime 80%
Eliminated duplicate payments
Gained the ability to have real-time access to information to predict cash requirements
Met SOX and other compliance mandates
Improved vendor relations
Realized goal of annually saving half a million dollars in operating costs
Cobra Electronics, a leading global designer and marketer of communication and navigation products, found that customer billing questions were impacting the company’s time to payment. Resolving billing questions often took multiple calls and the staff had to search for and assemble sales order related documents from many areas. This problem was even greater when large customers had billing questions, as delayed payments on large orders significantly impacted the company’s cash flow.
At the time, the company would manually key in all order information, hand write the SAP document number on each order, the copy the order, file it and then send it to be scanned and indexed in SAP applications.
The company wanted to automate this process to reduce the manual, time consuming parts of the order entry process and reduce the time required to respond to billing questions. The goal was to be able to answer questions in a single call. To do this the company would need to be able to:
Search for and instantly access all sales order related documents – bills of lading, credit memos, sales orders – regardless of where they resided in SAP.
Access customer-related non-SAP documents that are covered under Sarbanes Oxley (SOX) policies.
The new solution would replace the existing, homegrown imaging system with a solution that would be capable of managing all customer order related documents and flexible enough to scale to meet the needs of other business process areas.
Dolphin implemented a solution that included Dolphin Process Tracking System for Accounts Receivable, Dolphin Document Navigator and Output and Dolphin Cloud Archive Service. The solution, would enable every sales representative (SR) to have a complete 360 degree view of all sales order related documents by enabling:
Intelligent scanning of sales orders
Linking of scanned images and bar codes to SAP transactions
Searching for customer-related documents across all of SAP
Ability to select and assemble all customer-related documents in a single PDF
Ability to print, fax or email selected documents
With this information close at hand, sales staff can easily engage customers in a real-time discussion and answer inquiries or resolve disputes on the spot.
The solution was implemented in 37 days using very few IT resources. Thus far the company has significantly improved time to payment. Other benefits include:
Reduced time to resolve customer billing inquiries from 3 days to minutes
Faster payment and reduced Days Sales Outstanding (DSO)
50% reduction in time to resolve collection issues
Instant access to customer-related documents from SAP and non-SAP systems
Improved customer satisfaction
Faster audit response time
Improved compliance with secure document retention
IMS Health, a leading provider of market research services for pharmaceutical and healthcare industries relies on robust processes and innovative technology to support its Healthcare Measurement, Consulting, and Analytics & Services business divisions. With an active acquisitions team, the company was growing quickly and sometimes struggled to merge disparate organizations and fractured processes. The company is continuously striving to deliver exceptional service as it tracks more than 80% of global pharmaceutical activity annually for the pharmaceutical and related industries.
The company, which runs SAP ERP, needed an Accounts Payable improvement solution that:
Supports the strategic imperative of exceptional customer service
Improves processing of time-sensitive invoices from the global supplier base.
Enables centralization/outsourcing of processing capable of handling the company’s many foreign language transactions
Automates the capture of invoice data with accuracy and reliability
Fits into the company’s new SAP Supplier Relationship Management (SRM) module
Solution Optimizing the business process was critical to the success of the solution. The team chose to leverage Dolphin’s Process Tracking System for Accounts Payable and its capabilities including:
Intelligent document capture of digitized images
Data validation and line-item matching to enable hands-free posting of transactions
Intelligent workflows to route transactions for exception handling, coding and approvals based on the organization’s business rules
Real-time information on invoice status for improved transparency across the company’s shared service centers and the centralized corporate management team
Reporting and metrics, such as invoice cycle time, to identify areas for improvement across the business process
Results Language issues and remote processing concerns evaporated once Dolphin’s solution was implemented. With an invoice recognition rate of over 90%, the solution delivers significant auto-posting success rates that previously required manual touch points. The organization has experienced tangible cost savings and greater control over their cash flow as well as mitigating the risk inherent in the AP process.
In many organizations, the finance department is viewed as a cost center. At first glance, there do not seem to be many, if any, opportunities for accounts payable (AP) or accounts receivable (AR) to contribute to meaningful business objectives. This business unit is traditionally tasked with billing customers and paying vendors. It is responsible for getting the company paid and paying the company’s bills. Generating revenue typically does not factor into the equation.
That was the situation at Bourns, Inc. as recently as 2012. As a global manufacturer of electrical components for the automotive, industrial, consumer products and communication industries, Bourns handles about 100,000 invoices per year. AP department functions are decentralized with nine separate manufacturing plants each handling individual AP responsibilities. As many as 80 percent of invoices are purchase order-based because the company purchases such a high volume of raw materials, further complicating the process.
The process was mostly paper-driven, required hands-on attention and was extremely labor intensive. When Bourns’ chief financial officer (CFO) saw the day-to-day actions required to manage this, the inefficiencies were both obvious and startling. He issued a challenge to the AP team at the Riverside, Calif. plant: It had one year to implement a touchless processing program that would see at least 60 percent of all invoices being processed with no AP involvement once invoices entered the work flow.
The Heraclitus axiom, “change is constant,” is an absolute truth for businesses today. Change is important because, without it, businesses are at risk of serving customer needs with antiquated and inefficient approaches and technologies, losing an important competitive edge. One should look no further than organizations such as Blockbuster and Kodak as examples. These former titans are now nothing more than a memory of times gone by, when movies meant videotape and photography meant film.
Ushering in meaningful, institutional change is difficult. John Kotter, the well-known leadership scholar, states that 70% of all major change efforts in organizations fail. The primary reason, he says, is that organizations often don’t take the holistic approach necessary to see change through to the final results. Failed projects often lack vision, leadership, and engagement — all key traits of an effective change management approach that begins in the highest echelons of an organization.
Despite the difficulty of implementing change, high performance finance departments must be in a constant state of change. They must be fast and flexible, adapting to evolving economic and environmental conditions, to strategically keep cash flowing into and out of the organization. Optimizing financial processes such as near-cash processes like accounts payable and accounts receivable can help companies make more agile decisions and grow the bottom line. But, these areas are often ineffective, slow to make and collect payments.
Stuck in the mindset that “we’ve always done it this way,” implementing change can be especially challenging. However, an effective change management strategy—beginning, according to Kotter, with an engaged leader such as the CFO—will dramatically improve the success of financial projects. What else must that leader do and why is change needed?
Strong financial leadership means more than cost-cutting and performance management. Customers and vendors are looking for reasons to do business with your company — they are differentiating the good companies from the great. To find out where your organization falls on the spectrum, start with this question: Are your finance processes optimized for internal and external business drivers?
Successful finance organizations distinguish themselves in many ways, but the most strategic and successful start by improving service levels and transforming the business to adapt to changing market conditions. Let’s look at three ways companies can adopt a relentless approach to business transformation that drives results.
Risk is unavoidable in your business decisions and operations, but it can be managed with the right technology and the right strategy. SAP solutions for governance, risk, and compliance (GRC) enable organizations to manage risk and comply with highly complex financial, compliance, and regulatory audits. However, rapidly evolving audit requirements are changing the way that organizations do business, and merely implementing GRC solutions is not enough. By putting a comprehensive risk management strategy in place now, organizations can protect themselves from future risks. A successful risk management strategy incorporates three essential elements: roles and responsibilities, policies and procedures, and technology.
Many food manufacturers struggle to keep profits high amid thinning margins and must continuously seek new and innovative ways to reduce costs. Companies across the spectrum of food manufacturing, whether it be a purveyor of customized ingredients for the food and beverage industry, a leading spice manufacturer, or a multi-national food and beverage company, have all found a recipe for success and profitability by optimizing their near-cash processes.
Follow the Money
Near-cash processes, such as Accounts Payable (AP) and Accounts Receivable (AR), are responsible for moving cash through the enterprise and provide a very direct way to control the flow of cash and drive greater profitability. While many manufacturers are quick to introduce modern manufacturing techniques and advanced distribution systems in a bid to stay competitive, they often overlook the fact that near-cash processes require innovation too. Unlike other changes in manufacturing that can be very resource intensive, simple improvements to near-cash processes can make an immediate impact on the bottom line.
Align Process Changes with Corporate Objectives
Successful process optimization projects starts by aligning any process changes with current corporate objectives. If reducing costs is a corporate goal, it is important to find ways to leverage existing infrastructure investments and build simple, sustainable processes. Making optimal use of your human resources is also important. When processes are truly optimized, human resources provide the skills and critical thinking that is needed to support continuous process improvement and larger organizational goals.
To read the full article on Food Manufacturing click here.
Unwire the enterprise and improve invoice approval time by 40% with Dolphin’s Mobile Approvals App. The Dolphin Mobile Approvals App pushes critical or time-sensitive procure-to-pay transactions directly to managers’ smartphones or tablets so they can approve items or manage exceptions, anytime and anywhere.
Are your back-office processes cumbersome, error-prone, and lacking in corporate-wide visibility?
Perhaps the fundamental issue is that you refer to them as “back office,” affixing what could be considered a derogatory label to a staff of valuable contributors. Using such seemingly unimportant labels, you are also likely neglecting a potential area for improvement that could help your operation significantly reduce cost infrastructures, improve cash flows, and mitigate the risks inherent in such processes.
SAPinsider Special Report, January 2014.
Improving customer service and responsiveness, particularly related to exception processing, while reducing costs is one of the biggest supply chain challenges that SAP customers will face in the coming year. Companies need to get a handle on business processes and data within their supply chains.
This undertaking can be overwhelming. Companies need real-time visibility so they can adapt their processes to changing economic and commercial environments, ensuring they have the right information at their fingertips to make informed decisions. It is also critical that solutions intended to enhance the supply chain integrate with existing SAP systems and applications, so they improve overall business performance instead of hinder it.
IT Knowledge Exchange, January 28, 2014
Dr Werner Hopf
Look for Big Data to get more strategic and more important in 2014. With the New Year in full swing, leading industry prognosticators are predicting that IT spending on Big Data will continue to grow as even more businesses continue their quest to gain a competitive edge through newfound insights enabled by Big Data. What level will this spending reach? How will these efforts affect the distribution of power in the C-Suite? And most importantly: where are the areas of Big Data that are truly impacting cash flow and the all-important bottom line?
Tim Hortons, a food and beverage company with iconic brand status in Canada wanted to streamline and automate the company’s Accounts Payable process. When the company was rolling out a new Procure-to-Pay process using SAP, the company took the opportunity to ‘optimize’ the AP function as well.
The solution needed to integrate seamlessly with the Procurement, Finance and Treasury processes and constituents, and address the following goals:
Control: with optimized business processes that are centralized and automated
Cycle Time and Efficiency: with more transactions processed correctly, the first time, in a timely manner
Visibility: with real-time invoice tracking and metrics to measure processing efficiency
Risk Mitigation: with standardized processes and greater control over all invoice types
Solution The company implemented Dolphin’s Accounts Payable solution and has been running on it successfully for more than five years. The solution includes the following components:
Dolphin Process Tracking System for Accounts Payable (PTS-AP) with intelligence capture
Taulia Vendor Portal for Dynamic Discounting
e-Invoicing (Transcepta) for select group of vendors
The high-impact solution has positively supported the overall Procure-to-Pay implementation and was the runner-up in the Huntington Innovation Award from the Institute of Financial Operations in 2012. Key benefits include:
Improved invoice approval cycle time with web-based approvals
Increased invoice volume by more than 25% without adding additional headcount
Reduced time to resolve vendor queries from over 1 hour to minutes.
Increased electronic invoice capture to 40%, most of which post automatically without any manual effort.
Automated workflows that efficiently routes and tracks the invoice processing and exception handling
Instant tracking of invoice status and access to supporting documents
Processing more than 7,000 invoices a month with a mostly manual system created a pressing need for Collier County, Florida, to turn to an automated system. Learn how Collier County Clerk of Courts integrated its SAP ERP with the Dolphin Process Tracking System for Accounts Payable to streamline invoice processing, gain visibility into overall AP processes, and reduce costs. Click here to read the full article published in insiderProfiles
Senior executives discuss the company’s singular focus on delivering solutions to SAP customers — data lifecycle management and archiving and business process optimization. They mention many of the benefits customers have indicated are realized by working with Dolphin.
Brian Shannon, Principal Finance Consultant at Dolphin, discusses Dolphin’s approach to improve business processes within the SAP environment. He talks about listening and delivering transparency and visibility, efficiency and control for improved cash flows.
Companies taking a best-practice approach to AP and AR management are seeing big cost savings and much-improved cycle times. But revamping processes is no mean feat. Like other former back-office financial processes, accounts payable and accounts receivable have come to t he fore in recent years to t ake a place of prominence within t he broader scope of supply chain and working capital management. That’s because accounts payable (AP) and accounts receivable (AR} are critical parts of the bigger financial picture, when it comes to understanding and improving working capital and improving relationships with suppliers.
Click here to read the full article on Global Finance Magazine.
SAPinsider, July/August/September 2013
Many CIOs find their businesses drowning in data, yet starved for insight. As companies struggle to tackle the challenges associated with conquering big data, it becomes even more critical to create and implement a clear business performance improvement strategy for handling both the data that fuels the business and the processes that run it. Although operating at this level of systemic synergy may seem like a daunting and expensive proposition, the end result is well worth the efforts, and will actually allow for big savings.
The old axiom, “change is constant,” is absolutely true. For high-performance finance organizations, this adage underscores the need to be flexible and adaptable to varying economic and environmental conditions. Optimizing financial processes, especially near-cash processes like accounts payable (AP) and accounts receivable (AR), can help companies achieve this adaptability. The trick, of course, is getting the project right.
Change is constant, and it’s critical that financial organizations adapt to meet the needs of current economic conditions. This article will discuss how to become a catalyst for change by reinventing key processes within your finance organization, including accounts payable, accounts receivable and general ledger activities. It will demonstrate how optimizing back office functions like accounts payable and accounts receivable can deliver real value to an organization, and provide insight into how to effectively drive this change.
Click here to read the full article on Business Finance Magazine.
CFOs are constantly bombarded with questions that are essential to the survival of the business.
How can we improve cash flow?
How can we preserve our cost structure as we exit the economic malaise?
Will the company’s manual processes and bloated databases put us at unnecessary financial risk?
Yet too often, competing priorities — such as global business strategy concerns, merger and acquisition activity, and the need for lightning-fast market reactions to macroeconomic news — relegate process optimization efforts that could help the CFO address these issues to the back seat. This article outlines five simple process optimization opportunities that can help elevate the overall performance of your finance organization.