At a recent Dolphin User Group meeting, Karen Gabriel of Vishay Intertechnology was asked about the benefits the company has realized since implementing the Dolphin Accounts Payable solution.
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Source: Gartner, Inc. Magic Quadrant for Structured Data Archiving and Application Retirement, Garth Landers, Alan Dayley, JP Corriveau, 13 June 2016.
Cooper Industries, a leading worldwide manufacturer of electrical products, tools and hardware had automated its invoice capture and processing with Dolphin Process Tracking System for Accounts Payable. However, the high volume of invoices the company meant that the cost per invoice was still high as the company needed to to process the mail and capture the hard copy invoice. It became clear that the company needed to look at increasing the percentage of electronic invoices received to further drive down processing costs and meet their operational goals.
Dolphin recommended our e-Invoicing solution to eliminate all paper and manual handling. Invoices wouldn’t need to be validated, scanned, indexed, or distributed. Instead, vendors would be able to transmit the same information directly to the company over the Internet. The vendor invoice data and the image would be imported into SAP, starting the Dolphin Process Tracking system workflows, significantly reducing the time and effort required to process each invoice.
A pilot was implemented first to standardize the process and integrate e-Invoicing with the exiting organizational structures. Involving the Procurement team at this time was essential to encouraging vendors to switch to eInvoicing. The Vendor ‘on-boarding’ proved to be fast and very efficient and the project was brought in on budget.
Since implementing the solution, the company has realized the following results:
- Reduced processing costs by 72%
- Decreased processing time by 8 days
- Offer vendors a variety of input methods, including email or virtual printing
- Processes have become less complex
- Fewer errors and exceptions
- One-day processing earned vendor early pay cash discounts
- Better audit trails
After seeing these results, the company also implemented a successful intra-company e-Invoicing project to simplify invoicing between business units.
Hubbell Incorporated, an international manufacturer of quality electrical and electronic products since 1888, had grown for over a century through acquisition. This left the company with many legacy systems across its many business units. To increase efficiencies and lower costs, the company wanted to standardize its systems and use one solution so they could have a single source of truth across the organization. The company decommissioned it 18 legacy systems and moved onto a global single instance of SAP in 2006.
With many products and business units running on the same SAP system, the company quickly found that transactional data was growing rapidly. Hubbell estimated that the system would reach 3 TB of data in less than 2 years. This amount of data would be very costly as the company’s SAP instance was outsourced. The company was therefore billed for each GB of data storage. They were also billed for the length of time necessary to do system back ups, which was growing longer as the system’s data volume grew. In addition, business users, who were used to running queries quickly against the legacy systems found that their query response time in SAP systems were much slower than expected.
The company decided it needed to start archiving right away to improve performance and lower the total cost of ownership of its outsourced SAP systems.
The company turned to Dolphin to devise a data management strategy. The Dolphin solution leveraged Hubbell’s existing SAP system infrastructure and storage and Dolphin consultants helped Hubbell implement data archiving to reduce data volume. The solution included:
- Standard SAP archiving objects
- PBS archive add ons
- PBS ContentLink
Phase one was completed in 2007 and focused on archiving data from the areas with the company was experiencing the largest data growth: MM, FICO, and iDocs. Subsequent phases focused on archiving data for other areas. Phase two (2008) focused on sales and billing data. Phase three (2010) focused on archiving master data. Phase four (2012) focused on archiving BI data.
The company experienced immediate benefits from archiving. It was able to keep data under the 3 TB limit and enable:
- Reduced data storage and hosting costs
- Faster user queries for online and archived data
- Faster backup of SAP systems
- Simplified upgrade to new SAP systems and databases
- Reduced risk with secure storage of retained data
Tenneco is one of the world’s largest designers, manufacturers and marketers of clean air and ride performance products. The company needed to respond to various international audit requirements and was using a manual and inefficient archiving process to retain its historical data. The process was made even more difficult because the company was storing a large volume of data from multiple SAP systems that were located around the globe. The company stored data and images in two separate content management systems which were old, out of date and becoming increasingly expensive and difficult to support. Also, a large amount of the unstructured information (images) was difficult to access because it was stored in a completely separate system that was not integrated with SAP systems.
The company wanted to automate archiving and move to a single content management solution to reduce the cost and complexity of retaining historical data and facilitate its international audit reporting requirements. Audits represented the most complex and time-sensitive information queries, so despite the fact that company had previously implemented SAP DART, it wanted to find a solution that would reduce the time and effort involved in extracting data for audits.
Dolphin worked with the company to develop a comprehensive solution that incorporated data archiving, migration, and decommissioning with audit extraction tools.
To start, the company migrated its existing data out of its two legacy content management systems and moved it into a single solution, the Dolphin Content Archive Service for Disk. With this new, lean repository users were able to easily access all data and documents directly through SAP systems.
The company then archived an additional 3.5 TB of data out of its production system and into the new repository, saving considerable space and improving SAP system performance.
To improve audit response time, the company chose to implement the Audit Extraction Cockpit which facilitated the extraction of data for audit inquiries and other ad hoc extraction requests.
With this project, the company was able to achieve the following benefits:
- Reduced data in online systems by 3.5 TB
- Reduce system complexity and cost by moving to a single content repository
- Faster audit response time
- Easier access to archived images in SAP systems
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
Tennant Company, a world-leading manufacturer of indoor and outdoor environmental cleaning solutions and specialty floor coatings, wanted to standardize its global accounts payable processes to provide the company with greater control and transparency into invoice processing in its three shared services centers in Minneapolis, Uden, and Shanghai.
The company, which processes up to 30,000 invoices each month, wanted a solution that would enable it to:
- Increase the efficiency, accuracy, and timeliness of invoice processing
- Enable consistent reporting on invoice status, productivity and cash flow, globally
- Enforce corporate controls and comply with local regulations
The solution had to be configurable and flexible enough to accommodate the statutory, regulatory, and cultural issues faced in different countries. To reduce complexity and minimize change management, Tennant wanted a single, centralized solution that could support the shared services centers with minimal impact on critical business and IT resources and would be easy to upgrade and extend in the future.
Tennant chose the Dolphin Process Tracking System for Accounts Payable (PTS-AP) solution, so it could leverage its existing investment in SAP applications. After reviewing the way Tennant processed invoices in all three shared services centers, Dolphin delivered a solution that included:
- Automated capture of highly unstructured invoice information using Optical Character Recognition (OCR).
- Intelligent validation of invoices against Vendor and PO information.
- Configurable business rules to determine how to route invoices for tax approval or exception handling.
- SAP workflows to automate invoice processing and integrate with Procurement, Finance, and Treasury department processes.
Centralized storage of invoice images for global access
- Real-time analytics and reporting on invoice processing metrics for productivity, cash flow, and status tracking.
Tennant-specific business rules were developed to improve the accuracy of tax determination and to manage European consignment transactions.
The solution was rolled out using a phased approach and achieved a high return on investment, paying for itself in less than one year. Key results include:
- 100% of invoices are captured using OCR, 60% of invoices are submitted electronically for direct OCR capture.
- Greater transparency into invoice status, productivity, and working capital across all services centers.
- Improved compliance with diverse fiscal and legal requirements in the US, Europe, and Asia Pacific.
- Easier support for services centers. Tennant was able to roll out the final phase of the solution to the Shanghai services center without consulting assistance.
The company plans to increase automation by moving from OCR to eInvoicing, and adding support for other invoice capture methods such as EDI and ERS.
A world-renowned manufacturer and retailer of revolutionary consumer electronics needed data strategies that would enable them to manage its explosive online retail growth while keeping customer data secure and available for reporting and audit requests. With 25 Billion transactions per year, the company’s existing infrastructure could not support the volume of data and system performance, stability, and functionality were being negatively impacted. The data volume also posed a significant risk, because the company was responsible for keeping the data secure for long periods to support tax and data privacy audits.
To manage its enormous volumes of data, the company needed a comprehensive data volume management strategy that would enable it to:
- Move static and business complete data out of production systems into archive storage
- Scale to support potential future data growth
- Support analysis with fast, flexible access to historic sales data
- Secure legacy data according to current legal requirements
- Enforce data retention policies for fiscal and consumer data
- Enable fast response to audit inquiries
Due to the volume of data, the company needed an aggressive archiving strategy to keep production systems running at optimal levels. In addition, new privacy regulations required the company to go back through historical, archived data and ensure that it met current consumer data privacy standards.
Solution: Archiving to Hybrid Storage with Data Retention & Audit
Dolphin provided the company with data strategies that would 1) help it meet current demands and scale to meet future growth and 2) stay compliant with retention and audit requirements. Key capabilities include:
- Implementation of Standard SAP Archiving Objects with PBS Archive Add On modules for seamless access
- PBS Nearline storage for fast access to archived sales data used in analysis
- Dolphin Data Management and Archive Management Cockpit for encrypting production and archive data
- Dolphin Archive Retention Cockpit to enforce corporate retention policies
- TJC Audit Extraction Cockpit (AEC) for flexible audit reporting
Dolphin used an aggressive archiving strategy and a hybrid storage model. Frequently accessed sales data was moved to nearline storage for additional compression and fast access. Dolphin also employed data security and encryption to protect sensitive customer data and added audit tools to facilitate responding to fiscal and legal requirements.
The company has been working with Dolphin for almost 10 years to keep their data growth under control. To date the company has realized the following benefits:
- Archived more than 250 TB data
- Improved system performance
- Compliant with data privacy and security regulations
- Improved response time for internal and external audits
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.
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.
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
- Robust analytics
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
During the initial go-live with SAP systems, a global leader in aviation electronics and communications for government and commercial applications, decided to move only its current master and transactional data over from its legacy systems. Legacy data, it was decided, would be kept in the pre-SAP legacy systems, so the company could comply with its long term data retention requirements.
It soon became apparent, however, that the license, support, and maintenance costs for keeping these legacy systems running were too high. As time passed, it was also becoming difficult for users to extract data from these legacy systems when necessary. The company was concerned that the knowledge of how to access the legacy systems and data would be lost over time.
Dolphin designed and implemented a Decommissioning solution that allowed the company to output critical information from a variety of legacy platforms in their native format. This framework allowed the company to retire multiple legacy systems and significantly save operational costs year over year.
- Legacy information was converted to ASCII format and parsed for key attributes
- Key attributes were then transferred to SAP and stored in the company’s Archive environment
- Legacy information was linked to key information in SAP for easy user access
The company has realized many benefits from retiring these legacy systems and retaining legacy data in a more modern, compliant archive storage, including:
- Immediate and ongoing cost savings from reduced license, maintenance, and support costs
- Easy access to all legacy information directly from SAP applications
- No user training required, as the solution leveraged the company’s existing archive Required no training
- Satisfies all retention requirements
- Knowledge transfer to internal team to repeat process for “new” legacy systems
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
- Increased productivity
- Improved customer satisfaction
- Faster audit response time
- Improved compliance with secure document retention
Supply & Demand Chain Executive, May 21, 2015
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.
Read the full article on Supply & Demand Chain Executive.
As the world’s largest packaging company, Amcor offers exclusive and innovative solutions that are at the forefront of the packaging industry. In the past decade, the division has gone through enormous change in terms of sales revenues, acquisitions, and technology advances. About six years after going live with SAP software in 2001 — and integrating a couple acquired business units — the ERP database was getting too big, and hosting costs were escalating, so the division began an archiving effort to address the challenge.
As Rob Bobba, Senior SAP Business Analyst said, “The SAP system is very critical to our production planning and sales and distribution, so it needs to be stable and available to the business 24/7.”
Dolphin implemented a data archiving solution that immediately reduced the size of the system and kept performance at acceptable levels.
- Reduced system from 15TB to 4 TB – which exceeded both the performance target as well as the estimated projection for data storage cost reduction.
- Significantly increased system response times
- reduced total cost of ownership
- Seamless access to archived data for reporting purposes
- Able to expand into new territories
SAPinsider, October 2012
Like many companies, Amcor Rigid Plastics has gone through enormous change in the last decade with technology advances, acquisitions, and sales revenues. Its ERP database was getting too big, so Amcor implemented an archiving strategy to reduce costs, stabilize database growth, and increase SAP ERP system performance and availability.
Click here to read the full article on SAPinsider