Marketing Agency Boosts Productivity 17% After Implementing a Workflow-Based Document Imaging Solution to Streamline Accounts Payable Processes
Advantage Sales and Marketing wanted to improve the speed and accuracy of its accounts payable process. The company implemented software products provided by Microsoft® Gold Certified Partner KnowledgeLake, based on Microsoft Office SharePoint® Portal Server 2003. Now, invoices are handled 40 percent faster, productivity in accounts payable is up 17 percent, and the company has full visibility into the invoice-approval process.
It’s probably true that no one likes to pay an invoice. This was exceptionally true for the managers at Advantage Sales and Marketing, one of the leading sales and marketing agencies in the United States. Their troubles were not among their vendors but from the company’s accounts payable system.
The problem was that Advantage managers could be in any of the company’s 50 locations around the United States, while printed invoices only resided in a single location; therefore, an invoice was seldom where it needed to be for proper processing. Transferring invoices from office to office was a haphazard process of faxing, scanning, and sending the digital file through e-mail with no authoritative way to track the status or location of invoices. This was a problem for the accounts payable employees responsible for routing invoices because they had no way of confirming these invoices were sent to the appropriate managers.
After review from their business analyst, Advantage discovered its invoice-approval process entailed 35 business steps; from the company’s executives’ perspectives, that was far too many. Therefore, Lewie Wake, chief technical officer at Advantage, collaborated with a task force of IT and business users to address the issues. The team discovered that a portal solution—with a single, intranet-based location for storing and approving invoices—would not only solve the problem but also serve as a model for centralizing and streamlining other processes for their large and widely dispersed company.
These solutions were available from leading document management companies such as Documentum, Hummingbird, and IBM: which provider should they choose?
Advantage rejected the expensive, well-known document management solutions and instead chose KnowledgeLake, a solution that enhances Microsoft SharePoint.
We worked closely with the marketing firm to streamline their accounts payable process from 35 steps to 14 steps by automating the process.
The Microsoft-based KnowledgeLake solution continues to make the accounts payable process faster, easier, and more productive for everyone at Advantage. Invoices are now processed 40 percent faster, and productivity in the accounts payable staff is up 17 percent, saving Advantage 95,000 US dollars per year.
The increase in visibility of the company has improved many aspects of the business. For example, Advantage personnel are consistently aware of the location of the invoices. The growth has even made an impact on Wake, himself: He now has the ability to oversee exponentially more invoices than before.
The KnowledgeLake solution has not only improved the visibility of the company but also the accessibility of the network. The company’s executives take many business trips and, at the time of their solution implementation, the only network access available to them on these trips was through their mobile devices. Prior to this solution, invoices needing approval were simply on hold until the executives were able to access them. With KnowledgeLake, their invoices could be available to the executives through their mobile connection. This enabled the accounts payable process to move along much quicker.
Advantage Sales and Marketing, LLC, based in Irvine, California, is one of the leading sales and marketing agencies specializing in outsourced sales, merchandising, category management and marketing.
California, United States
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