Railway Contracting Services Gains Greater Visibility into Invoices While Improving Payment Cycles

Invoices used to be stored in one physical location where site representatives from across the UK sites had to travel to a single location once a month to reconcile expenditure against live projects. This led to a very time consuming process involving travel and manual paper invoice retrieval and sign-off. By setting up Fujitsu work group scanning facilities for the purchase ledger team, team members are able to scan, index, and release invoices into Microsoft® SharePoint using KnowledgeLake.

The Challenge

VolkerRail experienced challenges in the areas of invoice storage, retrieval, and approval. Unnecessary time was spent traveling to a central location as well as manually finding and filing invoices. At the same time, the manual nature of filling and finding invoices lead to lost invoices. Invoices were not immediately and easily available, and visits to the invoice storage facility were done on an ad hoc basis. Because of this, invoices could age and project cost reconciliations could become out of date, compromising financial control on accruals as well as project budgeting processes.

The Solution

After evaluating various document imaging solutions, including a native adapter for the incumbent financial system, VolkerRail selected a combination of Fujitsu workgroup scanners, KnowledgeLake, and Microsoft SharePoint. The priority project was to deliver a solution to scan and host purchase ledger invoices online for a geographically dispersed audience. On successful roll-out of a group wide purchase ledger imaging solution, other processes within the accounting and human resources departments are planned to be automated as well.

The solution allows the purchase ledger team to code invoices in the accounting system and then scan and index them into SharePoint. Users work in teams of two with one small footprint Fujitsu work group scanner (fi-6140) per team. The speed and ease-of-use of the scanner (that supports automatic duplex scanning at up to 80 sides per minute) allows users to process up to 300 invoices per day using KnowledgeLake. Scanning rules in KnowledgeLake include bar code recognition, page separation, blank page detection, and various imaging enhancements. During indexing, KnowledgeLake allows users to see the image and relevant properties side-by-side and only requires that the coded reference number of the invoice be entered. Other properties are loaded and validated automatically from the back-end accounting system. On average, it takes users 25 seconds to process an invoice from paper to SharePoint.


VolkerRail Ltd is a UK-based group of companies who are part of the larger VolkerWessels Group, providing a wide range of contracting services to the railway industry.


United Kingdom



"The AP team has stopped filing invoices away, we are now solely storing our invoices electronically, and this again has saved the department valuable time."

Michelle Walters, Purchase Ledger Supervisor, VolkerRail

Results & Benefits

Revitalized Operations

The solution is not limited to a specific functional area in VolkerRail and can be used as a basis for future solutions across the group.

Enhanced Document Visibility

It was not previously possible for stakeholders to access invoices from remote locations. Users of the solution can now simply log into SharePoint to confirm that an invoice has arrived, check the invoice status, and update the invoice properties, all without leaving their desk.

Reduced Filing Time

Automated filling can be done faster than manual filing with the use of drop-down selection boxes, automatically populating fields from the accounting system and indexing invoices directly into the system.

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