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 FS2 AccountsPayable solution, so it could leverage its existing investment in SAP applications. After reviewing the way Tennant processed invoices in all three shared services centers, Serrala 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.