Success Story / Elektro-Material AG / Automatic auditing of accounts using JobOrder Match

Swiss style retail

For some it reassures, for others it’s unsettling: we’re talking about the fully automated auditing of accounts including payment run without any human intervention at all. For it to succeed, incoming invoices have to be recorded in the correct position and reconciled with orders. The example of Switzerland’s leading electrical wholesaler, Elektro-Material AG (EM), shows how so-called shadow processing, that’s what fully automated invoice processing is called, contributes to corporate success using JobRouter®.

Elektro-Material AG has been an institution in the Swiss electrical industry for more than 100 years. Half of its sales are generated by the online shop (e-shop) with more than 250,000 products. Orders are delivered on the same day, or next day latest, even directly to the customer’s building site on request. The white delivery vans with the green and red EM logo are part of everyday life on Swiss roads.

Thousands of articles are ready for collection round the clock at nine EM branches distributed all over Switzerland. The customers, fitters from SME businesses, appreciate the personal advice, diverse assortment and professional exchange with colleagues.

Invoice processing for the EM head office on Zurich’s Heinrichstraße, the branch there and the Bern and Spreitenbach locations has been centrally managed since the start of 2015. Even Elevite, the EM lighting centre of excellence for innovative lighting solutions, recently taken over by EM, is already using this solution.

Success Story / Elektro-Material AG / Automatic auditing of accounts using JobOrder Match

Original objective:
the rational reconciliation of header data

“Originally it was all about working in a simple and rational way,” says Peter Ammann, IT Project Manager at EM’s Zurich head office. We were looking for a solution to be able to centrally reconcile material invoices with orders and detect any discrepancies sooner. “Header data reconciliation” was on the list of requirements. The retail specialists had almost settled on purely reconciling the basics, namely creditor, order and invoice number and total amount including VAT, if a Swiss sales partner had not introduced them to JobRouter® and demonstrated the reconciliation of positions using the JobOrder Match module. Suddenly the option of fully automated invoice processing was on the table. A dream scenario with the deluge of incoming invoices they receive every year.

New objective:
complete processing without any intervention and multilingual

It is well known that the path to your dream destination is a rocky one. The Swiss, whose homeland is defined 40 percent by alpine terrain, approached the challenge of decentralised to centralised, over 10 locations and more, in German, French, Italian, pragmatically. They took stock for the digitalisation of the invoice verification process using the JobRouter® workflow management system. Which employees had which roles? What were the supplier interfaces? How is the verifying of orders and differences carried out?

Scanning software and an external service provider were selected to scan the invoices; the basis for JobRouter® being able to do a good job of processing paper documents. The pilot locations were picked out and milestones were set. Step 1: the most important suppliers first. Step 2: ramp-up the volume. Although the project team was already in the starting blocks before the end of 2014 it was decided to carry out the switch at the start of the new business year first.

„You should choose a solution that not only runs well according to the PowerPoint presentation. When we were evaluating we made sure we chose a solution with reference customers. JobRouter® was being used at a famous Swiss trading firm and that was what convinced us. There is no other system that is as specifically aimed at position reconciliation as the JobRouter® workflow management system.”“

Quote Peter Ammann, IT Project Manager

„New projects have to highlight the prospect of clear added value. That is why first of all we analysed the performance of the legacy process, highlighted the improvement for potential and created a business case. We are still in the process of building up statistics and analyses about JobRouter®. As a result of this we are also expecting greater control and transparency which will help us to work together and negotiate with suppliers.“

Quote Samuel Neuenschwander, Head of Accounting

Success Story / Elektro-Material AG / Automatic auditing of accounts using JobOrder Match

Position reconciliation using JobOrder Match

The mountains of paper invoices are in the meantime much smaller at pilot locations because the majority have already been processed by the scanning service provider. The data from the document headers and individual invoice positions are being migrated into JobRouter® via an interface®. What used to once require many busy hands and a sharp eye is now running automatically through JobRouter® and upstream checking rules. Put in simple terms, the workflow management system combines the invoice data with the order data from the enterprise resource planning system, carries out the required checks and automatically starts the booking process and payment run if they are a 100 percent match. “Shadow processing is the ideal process that would have still been inconceivable years ago. We are managing 80 percent at the moment,” says Ammann very pleased, but follows up immediately with: “That is still unsatisfactory. We hope to be able to raise this to 90 to 95 percent. For us the yardstick for the project’s success is the degree of automation.”

JobOrder Match ensures that you can concentrate purposefully on the incorrect invoices in the time you have gained. The module automatically passes this on to the responsible administrator for clarification. With a difference in the amount, for example, the dialogue clearly indicates the incorrect position, works out the differential amount and displays the original document at the same time.

The advantages of electronic order reconciliation using JobOrder Match

  1. Ideal for the centralised automated processing of incoming invoices
  2. Processes data from OCR recognition and/or existing enterprise resource planning systems
  3. Analyses the incoming invoice’s header data and position data
  4. Compares invoice data with order data and the received good
  5. Can prompt fully automatic booking and payment with 100 percent match (shadow processing)
  6. Automatically filters out deviating positions and passes them on to the responsible employee

“Better quality, better quantity”

Success can be measured. IT Project Manager Peter Ammann says: “We have better quality with digitalisation. At the same time the throughput times from order reconciliation to booking and payment of invoices can be significantly reduced. ” There’s not any specific analysis yet on the time and cost savings, be it man hours or archiving costs.

However, it’s already clear now how JobRouter® literally brings in the cash: cash discounts can be taken advantage of to a greater extent thanks to the time advantage. Terms of delivery can be controlled better in terms of compliance and also negotiated. “Central purchasing now has access to current prices, discounts and volume and an invoice’s status at any time. We can negotiate better now,” adds Samuel Neuenschwander, Head of Accounting. Both interview partners are very confident in terms of more advantages, once the remaining EM locations have been switched to the digital process. The French and Italian dialogues are currently being defined and the operating instructions are being translated for colleagues.

Success Story / Elektro-Material AG / Automatic auditing of accounts using JobOrder Match

Project details

Customer: Elektro-Material AG
Industry: Electrical wholesale
Employees: Roughly 700 employees at the head office, nine branches and the EM Elevite lighting centre of excellence
Processes: In the final version approx. 1,120 processes / day
Database: MS SQL Server
Features: Connection to DocProStar, DocuWare, ERP: in-house development on AS/400 (programming language RPG III, database OS 2/400, ODBC-compatible) Accounting: Comarch Schilling, on AS/400
Project duration: So far 8 months for 3 branches and the head office
Running modules: JobOrder Match, JobSelect, JobStart
Running processes: Electronic invoice processing
Planned: French language interface, overhead cost processes
Elektro-Material AG in brief

Logo Elektro-Material AGElektro-Material AG (EM) was founded in Switzerland in 1913. Roughly 700 employees work at the head office, nine branches and the EM Elevite lighting centre of excellence. Its main business is electrical wholesale in which with more than 250,000 products EM offers the best full service package from one source for the electrical installation industry, from small firms to industrial corporations. Half of the business with roughly 18,000 customers is processed through the online shop (e-shop). The company’s service includes its own delivery fleet which delivers orders all over Switzerland on the same or next day. EM has perfectly supplemented its market leadership in the electrical installation material sector by taking over Elevite thanks to great expertise in the innovative and dynamic light sector. EM has been part of the Rexel Group, a worldwide leading wholesaler for electrical parts and supplies, since 2006.

© JobRouter AG 2015 /226