Railway Contracting Services Company 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 workgroup scanning facilities for the purchase ledger team, team members are able to scan, index and release invoices into Microsoft® SharePoint using KnowledgeLake.
VolkerRail experienced challenges in the areas of invoice storage, retrieval, and approval. Unnecessary time was spent to travel 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. This meant that invoices could age and project cost reconciliations could become out of date, compromising financial control on accruals as well as project budgeting processes.
"By using Fujitsu, Microsoft SharePoint and KnowledgeLake we are now able to view 100% of all purchase ledger invoices instantly across all of our UK based sites."
-Matthew Booth, Business Analyst
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 - from major projects to track renewals and specialized operations including signaling, OHLE, power distribution, plant, welding and coated rails.
After evaluating various document imaging solutions, including a native adapter for the incumbent financial system, VolkerRail selected a combination of Fujitsu workgroup scanners, KnowledgeLake Imaging 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.
Matthew Booth comments, “We selected Microsoft SharePoint as the base platform for our solution because of its ease of use and compatibility with other applications within the Microsoft Office suite. VolkerRails internal Intranet uses Microsoft SharePoint and we wanted a consistent look and feel for our scanning solution.”
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 sharing a small footprint Fujitsu workgroup 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) allow users to process up to 300 invoices per day using KnowledgeLake Capture.
Scanning rules in KnowledgeLake include bar code recognition, page separation, blank page detection and various imaging enhancements. During indexing, KnowledgeLake allow users to see the image and relevant properties side by side and require that only the coded reference number of the invoice be entered. Other properties are loaded and validated automatically from the backend accounting system. On average it takes users 25 seconds to process an invoice from paper to SharePoint.
“The implementation of the scanning system in our department has been quick and easy, we found staff required minimal amounts of training before being confident on using the software. Scanning has reduced the amount of time staff had previously spent copying filed invoices for commercial staff, the system means any member of staff can have access to electronic copies of documents anywhere in the country. More recently 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. The scanning system has proved a valuable tool which has saved our busy department valuable man hours; I would recommend this software to any AP department without a scanning solution,” Michelle Walters – Purchase Ledger Supervisor.
By selecting Fujitsu scanners and using KnowledgeLake Document Imaging for SharePoint, VolkerRail ensured that a generic and scalable platform for document imaging is available to the whole group while at the same time leveraging their investment in Microsoft technologies.
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