The mining industry has enough trouble digging materials out of the earth. It shouldn't have to struggle digging invoices out of filing cabinets.

Alaska's Pebble Limited Partnership is a case in point. The company is preparing to develop one of the world's largest copper, gold and molybdenum mines in a remote region in the southwest of the state. It uses Laserfiche's workflow processing system to help it review and approve the 150 to 200 vendor invoices it receives every week.

Before installing the system, the company had a difficult time getting employees to review and approve its never-ending flood of invoices. Each invoice would be printed and hand-delivered to one employee after another on three floors. Invoices requiring seven signatures often took 22 days to clear.

C'Les Jensema, the company's Document Controller, worked with Laserfiche reseller eDocs Alaska to develop an automated accounts payable process.

Paper invoices are scanned into the system and routed to the proper folder in the Laserfiche data repository. Electronic invoices get routed into the proper folder directly. The system then identifies the document type and populates identifying fields.

AP techs check and update other fields for each invoice and combine them with backup and coding materials. Then they assign the documents to the company employees who need to review and approve them.

The system sends email notifications to the appropriate employees.  Instead of PDFs, users view a link to the invoice and approve it on their PCs or tablets via a drop-down tab.

The system also tracks events, allowing approvers to see what has happened to each invoice in the process. If there's a problem with the invoice or its coding, the invoice is sent back to the initial AP tech, who can take other steps to address the problem and get the invoice processed. Once approved, the AP tech routes the invoice into the company's accounting system for payment.

Jensema can tick off a long list of project benefits:

  • 97% of all invoices are now received electronically and never printed, saving paper and storage costs.
  • Invoices are processed and approved in a fraction of the time it used to take.
  • Accounting managers can more easily monitor invoice activity.
  • Employees have access to Laserfiche from any location, including the remote mine site.
  • Data errors have decreased significantly because of the links to the company's accounting system.
  • The company saves $8,300 per year on postage, paper and storage costs.

Jensema is now building workflows for four more business processes, starting with vendor contracting.

For detailed information about Pebble Limited Partnership's workflow, see the company’s case study on the Solution Exchange.

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