Turning paper into hen's teeth

Turning paper into hen's teeth

Streamlining accounts and eliminating paper using document management improves efficiency for a major poultry producer.

By scanning in all paper documents as soon as they are received, the paper trail ends and the efficiencies begin for Bartter Enterprises, one of Australia's largest poultry and egg producers.

It has almost entirely eliminated the need to reference paper-based purchase orders, invoices and statements. In turn, this has significantly reduced labour-intensive tasks such as sorting and storing hard files, according to David Jones, accounts payable manager at Bartter.

"Prior to the implementation, information had to be sourced from hard copies. This wasted a lot of time in manual searches."

The company has implemented a document management system developed in Sydney by Australian developer CompuTechnics. The application was first introduced into Bartter's finance department to automate the handling and filing of supplier invoices and statements. This eased the management of the department's business processes and Bartter estimates that the system will process more than 18,000 purchase orders and 35,000 creditor invoices annually.

Bartter Enterprises, based in the Riverina region of New South Wales, has been in business for 43 years and employs over 1500 staff.

A significant aspect of the company is its level of integration, as every facet of production from breeding, hatching and feeding to growing, processing and transporting, is controlled in-house.


In keeping with the company's ongoing development, it has applied some of the latest principles in information management to improve efficiency.

This involves eliminating paper at the earliest possible stage. After all invoices, purchase orders and statements are received, they are scanned, indexed and registered within Objective, allowing invoices to be matched to their corresponding purchase orders and fully processed and charged to the suppliers account and the cost centre - all within Objective. Once an image is indexed and registered it is virtually impossible to lose a purchase order, creditor invoice or supplier statement.

Mr Jones said senior management, accountants and auditors also wanted ready access to accounts information, so a new approach for quick information retrieval had to be found.

"Prior to the Objective implementation, information had to be sourced from hard copies which could be found in a number of locations including trolleys, folders and archives," commented Mr Jones. "This wasted a lot of time in manual searches by staff. Now, all stakeholders have access to this information at their fingertips.

"Once each invoice is processed there is no more time wasted managing that document; our staff can move immediately onto the next transaction. In a high-volume work environment this is critical.

"The new approach has improved the entire department's business processes which will be passed onto our customers and suppliers with improved accountability and query handling," he said.


"With Objective, our accounts payable staff have the information and tools at their workstations. The retrieval ability of the software and the user interface has delivered benefits to the team."

A built-in search facility allows users to find documents based upon details such as creditor, general ledger numbers, dates of invoice, invoice or purchase order number, accounting periods, departments, or any combination of these fields.

In a phased implementation, Bartter introduced the software to one department at a time. The fleet vehicle department provided the proof of solution to affirm Bartter's decision to roll Objective out to other parts of the finance department.

Accounts receivable has also been involved in the electronic document management implementation. The accounts receivable department recently started scanning signed invoices and proof of delivery documents which offer access to debtor invoices from the workstation.

Previously staff had to file invoices - amounting 4,500 per week - in numerical order and retrieve them upon impromptu customer requests. "Obviously more value added tasks can be done by staff", added Mr Jones.

The volume of the debtor invoices required CompuTechnics to develop special techniques for automatic indexing. The solution eliminates the need for time consuming, manual intervention by accounting staff to enter invoice numbers. When the original invoice is produced, the invoice number is printed in two specific locations. Upon scanning the signed invoice copy, optical character recognition (OCR) technology is used to determine the invoice number. Details of the invoice are returned to automatically complete indexing requirements.