Adelaide Brighton streamlines accounts payable with Kofax

Stonebridge Solutions has implemented an automated accounts payable management platform for Adelaide Brighton Limited (ABL), one of Australia’s leading construction material manufacturers with  more than 1,500 staff.

ABL processes approximately 100,000 invoices per year across its Corporate, Cement and Lime and Concrete and Aggregates divisions, which required manual entry into the payments system. This created a lot of extra work in processing invoices. Furthermore, the manual processes meant that there were numerous ‘exceptions’; invoices that couldn’t be paid without additional manual intervention.

Mark Tosolini, Group IT Manager, ABL, said, “Payments would often be stopped because people hadn’t followed the correct processes. This was a clear driver to automate the accounts payable process to make it more effective and, specifically, to make exception handling as efficient as possible.

We also wanted to find a way to eradicate the physical, hardcopy invoices and reduce the amount of data entry that had to occur for each invoice.

“The previous system resulted in too many email-heavy processes. For example, finding out the status of an invoice required emailing people to ask them for an update. They would then need to physically check on the status before getting back to the original person. The time and resources required for this were significant. ABL was not in a strong position to handle growth in the number of invoices we received.”

A comprehensive search for a solution culminated in the decision for ABL to work with Stonebridge Solutions, a subsidiary of Konica Minolta. Stonebridge Solutions implemented an accounts payable automation system based on OpenText Vendor Invoice Management for SAP Systems, and worked with Kofax to integrate its optical character recognition (OCR) capability into the solution.

ABL originally chose Kofax for its ability to cope with emailed invoices in any format and configuration. Kofax’s OCR capability extracts the data from the invoices and enters it automatically into the OpenText system, which is embedded in ABL’s existing SAP system.

The Benefits

Using the new system has proved intuitive and easy for ABL’s team and the benefits have been immediate.

Mark Tosolini said, “Exceptions are now rarer and easier to deal with. Processes are far more efficient, requiring less manual intervention, which has reduced the headcount required in our Cement and Lime division while enabling our Concrete and Aggregates division to cope with increased invoice volume (as a result of business acquisitions) without staffing changes.”

Since implementing the solution, ABL’s Cement and Lime division now consistently processes more than 85 per cent of invoices automatically, rather than requiring manual intervention. This is a significant improvement compared with the direct processing success rate in 2014, which was as low as 30 per cent and never reached as high as 80 per cent.

Mark Tosolini said, “The increased visibility into where invoices are up to is excellent. No one can pretend they haven’t seen an invoice because the system shows exactly where it is. ABL has already had two Vendor Invoice Management upgrades, both of which have had minimal impact as the implementation and upgrade process was painless each time.”