Invoice automation is a goal for many procurement leaders who want to improve the efficiency of their processes. But depending upon the industry you work in, it may provide an opportunity for competitive advantage as well.
Beacon is a UK-based purchasing company that helps businesses in the hospitality, leisure and healthcare sectors improve their profitability. Sometimes they do that by pre-qualifying suppliers, other times by offering their expertise directly to customers through interior design or new build management services. In 2014, Beacon saw an opportunity to improve how they processed invoices and payments on behalf of their marketplace clients.
Beacon processes more than 400,000 invoices and 20,000 direct debits and payments each year for 2,500 customers in the UK. According to Paul Connelly, their Operations Director, “On average Beacon processes 34,500 invoices per month, that’s a typical cost savings of £3,000 per year, per customer.” Any improvements in processing speed or cost, no matter how small, are quite scalable. Once each gain is multiplied many times over, the impact to customer service and performance are significant.
Because Beacon was able to automate banking transactions and provide greater analytical visibility through the Ivalua platform, they reduced operating workload and overhead costs for their centralized billing operation. This efficiency can then be passed on to their clients in the form of saved time and money – and happier suppliers.