Monómeros Innovates Accounts Payable and Tackles e-Invoicing Requirements

4 min read

SITUATION

· Accounts payable relied on manual tasks and data entry
· Looming e-invoicing mandate required the digitization of purchase orders, payment terms and credit notes

RESULTS

· Integrated Laserfiche with SAP ERP to digitize both internal and external invoices and automate invoice processing
· Reduced average cycle time from 72 hours down to 10 minutes
· Improved traceability and compliance, inventory management and sustainability

In 2019, Colombia joined a host of other countries in mandating e-invoicing — an electronic billing approach that requires the digitization of purchase orders, payment terms and credit notes. E-invoicing requirements are becoming more and more common across the globe, with the goal of providing governments a more efficient means of auditing and tax and customs enforcement.

In order to accommodate the coming requirement, the agroindustrial company Monómeros sought a new document management system (DMS) with business process management (BPM) capabilities. “We saw that the versatility and capacity that Laserfiche had as a BPM tool would allow us to keep control of our documents, plus there was traceability that would comply with Colombia’s laws and archival standards,” said Esteban Echeverria, IT superintendent at Monómeros. “Laserfiche is not only a tool that will allow us to keep control of documents, maintain traceability and comply with the rules and archival standards of Colombia, but it also provides a platform that will allow us to automate business processes across the company.”

80% more efficiency in grant approvals processWith Laserfiche process automation and records management, along with an integration between Laserfiche and SAP, Monómeros fulfilled the country’s e-invoicing requirements while also accelerating the accounts payable (AP) process.

Today, the company’s AP cycle has been cut down from an average of 72 hours to just 10 minutes — a 99.77% improvement in efficiency.

The Seeds of Innovation: ERP Integration

Monómeros is a large agroindustrial company with an important role in supplying the necessary fertilizers for some of Colombia’s most important crops, including potato, coffee and palm. With a history dating back to 1967, the company has undergone a number of modernization initiatives for a more efficient, agile enterprise.

Accounts Payable (AP) is one area where the organization has seen tremendous impact. With thousands of invoices needing to be processed per month, manual tasks — such as data entry, inventory management, and data verification — can delay critical operations at any organization, causing missed deadlines and challenges in vendor and customer relations.

At Monómeros, the invoicing process relied on manual tasks and mailing invoices between staff and geographic locations.

“During the COVID-19 pandemic, invoices had to be manually assigned to each analyst and physically sent to them to be managed in our ERP,” said Carlos Daniel Machado, head of accounts payable at Monómeros. “Cycle times from when invoices were received reached up to 72 hours. We needed to optimize the process and reduce cycle time.”

On top of this, the Monómeros team needed to consider the e-invoicing requirements that would become compulsory for businesses in 2020. This perfect storm led them to Laserfiche, which was implemented with support from Colombia-based Laserfiche solution provider Gestech.

“Laserfiche offered a balance between all of our considerations, including cost, functionality, business process management (BPM) capabilities, a good user experience and local support with Gestech,” said Echeverria.

The goal was to digitize and optimize the process to increase efficiency and reduce costs; improve visibility and control; and strengthen business relationships.

To tackle the challenge, the Monómeros and Gestech teams created a Laserfiche workflow designed with four stages and integrations with the company’s SAP ERP software.

  1. 1. Invoice acquisition: Once received, invoices are digitized and indexed in Laserfiche. Laserfiche matches the supplier data to the invoice metadata, then routes the invoice to the accounts payable manager.
  2. 2. Assignment: Once the AP manager receives the invoices in Laserfiche, they assign them to the appropriate AP analysts.
  3. 3. Invoice entry: Analysts receive and review invoices in Laserfiche, which queries invoice tracking numbers that have been entered into SAP.
  4. 4. Payment: Payments are carried out in SAP, which queries payment proposal numbers associated with the invoices and relays them to Laserfiche. Payment numbers of paid invoices are also relayed to Laserfiche and recorded in invoice metadata.

The process not only applies to external invoices, but also to internal ones having to do with reimbursing employees.

“In the case of employee reimbursement, they file their request through a Laserfiche form and attach all necessary documents, and that generates a digital filing through Laserfiche in a matter of seconds,” said Machado.

Ripe for Digital Transformation

With this solution, Monómeros has been able to reduce the average cycle time from 72 hours down to 10 minutes. With an average of 1,500 invoices per month, Monómeros has seen a huge impact on overall time and cost savings. As added benefits, Monómeros has improved traceability and compliance, inventory management and sustainability.

“Not only have we been able to improve compliance practices and optimize processes with Laserfiche process automation, but we have also enhanced customer service and their overall experience.”

Carlos Daniel Machado, Head of Accounts Payable, Monómeros

“We are now working on an integration between Laserfiche and our vendor bill reception process. Every business process that needs to be automated or integrated with our content we see as in the scope of Laserfiche’s capabilities. This makes us excited for all of the future possibilities.”

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