Automated invoicing – a packaged solution

Automated invoicing – a packaged solution - Innovation-Nation-Special-Edition quote Peter ChenWhen you’re one of the world’s leading food processing and packaging companies, you’re going to be dealing with customers and suppliers serving millions of consumers in just about every country in the world. Everything you do will be happening at scale – and that includes finance and accounting.

Which means, in turn, that every improvement you can make is likely to result in benefits at scale, too.

The challenge – reducing monotony, increasing efficiency

Our relationship with our packaging client extends all the way back to 2006. The service has covered Procure-to-Pay (P2P), Credit-to-Cash (C2C), and Record-to-Analyze (R2A) for over 130 entities in 70 countries.

In 2017, the organization sought to automate repetitive accounting tasks and thereby reduce the number of full-time employees who were currently engaged in them.

The solution – phased RPA implementation

When the project began, robotic process automation (RPA) had not yet been widely adopted. To create an environment conducive to its implementation, Capgemini streamlined existing processes, reimagining them as sequences of typical human behavior, such as watching, listening, thinking, and acting.

With key opportunities identified, an internal project team was assigned and trained in RPA techniques. These techniques were used to analyze current processes and design RPA artefacts that would replace them. At first, artefacts were run in attended mode, but they were switched in stages to run in unattended mode, and automated running schedules were established, operated from a central location.

Next, all local artefacts were migrated to a virtual data center, and round-the-clock running schedules were set up in Orchestrator. Workflow was standardized for artefact development and operation, and Kibana was introduced to monitor the RPA performance.

Orchestrator coordinates automated processes across three accounting functions:

  • P2P – purchase order/non purchase order processing; reversals; travel and expenses auto payment runs; payment duplication checking and blocking suspected items; and manual payments
  • O2C – customer remittance clearing; customer ledger clearing; journal posting; and bank statement downloads and bank booking
  • R2A – accounts receivable/accounts payable netting runs; inter-company reconciliation and balance sheet packs; vendor accrual processes; and VAT reporting processes.

Support is provided to the client organization in eight languages, from two delivery centers – one in Blumenau, Brazil, and the other in Nanhai, China.

Automated invoicing Innovation-at-a-glance

The outcomes – going frictionless

The program has transformed not only processes, but attitudes: people’s mindsets have changed, and they have comfortably embraced the notion of having robots as co-workers. It’s not simply having a new tool at work, but a whole new way of working, with continuing efforts to optimize artefact processes and reduce robot average run times. In turn, this helps deliver – what we call – the Frictionless Enterprise.

Across this global organization, it’s making a significant difference:

  • Almost 530 work items processed in 2019
  • Total of 52 P2P, O2C, and R2R processes developed
  • Improved and high accuracy (99.99%)
  • 60 full-time employees have been released since RPA implementation, accounting for 41% of original team size
  • Over €1 million revenue generated.

Peter Chen is the engagement manger responsible for providing world-class service to this client. During the RPA transformation, he restructured and trained the team, and implemented the RPA artefact schedule to achieve an innovative “Robot + Human” process model.

June Liu manages the overall O2C operations for this client. She was also responsible for RPA implementation, development progress, and maintenance after go-live. June delivers RPA adoption training and communications to Capgemini’s delivery staff and client teams that boosts RPA adoption and enables significant cost reduction.

Peter Chen
Peter Chen (Senior Engagement Manager, Capgemini’s Business Services)

June Liu
June Liu (Operations Manager, Capgemini’s Business Services)