Avoiding paper - During invoicing solves space problems

Avoiding paper - During invoicing solves space problems

Avoiding paper - During invoicing solves space problems

Document management and electronic workflow instead of scanning services

Tupperware's invoice archive was taking up valuable space and did not allow staff to search for stored information quickly, so the company made plans to digitise it. Instead of contracting a scanning service provider, Tupperware opted for an electronic invoice-processing system in combination with a legally compliant digital archive.

Now Tupperware has not only regained some space, but is also able to process invoices faster and from any location. Both invoice information and related documents can be digitised and the files easily found when needed.

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Thanks to using document management, our paper archive is shrinking by one accounting year every year. This means that after seven years, it will be completely emptied automatically.

Peter Moser

Operations Manager, Tupperware Austria


Saving space as the main goal


Tupperware Austria's basic plan was to digitise its invoice archive because the invoices that Austrian law requires the company to keep for seven years for tax reasons were already taking up an entire room. "Having a scanning service provider carry out the necessary scanning process in full and in a legally compliant manner would have been relatively expensive. And it would need to have been done again at the end of every financial year", explains Peter Moser, Operations Manager at Tupperware Austria. "So we came up with the idea of digitalising the invoicing process using a document management system in conjunction with legally compliant archiving to avoid using paper in general. As a result, our paper archive is shrinking by one accounting year every year. This means that after seven years, it will be completely emptied automatically." The IT manager sees the fact that the digitisation process brought many other advantages (such as location-independent processing, faster information retrieval and faster processing times) with it as a very positive side effect.
This first step was to select an appropriate supplier; Moser received three tenders. Konica Minolta—already one of Tupperware's suppliers for multifunction printers (MFPs)—made the best offer during the tendering phase. "The other two providers were reluctant to listen to us and their implementation plans sounded complicated. By contrast, we were able to get on board with Konica Minolta's solution very quickly", Moser recalls. He wanted a solution with a simple user interface that can be rapidly deployed and easily adapted to specific processes, meaning that employees are quick to learn and accept the new product. Konica Minolta presented an appropriate solution that also met Tupperware's requirement that it had to be scalable at any time so that it could handle an increasing number of invoices without any problems. Tupperware also met Konica Minolta's wishes for the licence model, which only counts concurrent users and does not provide licences on a named-user basis. Moser explains: "On top of our four power users who use the system frequently, there are many other users who only access the system occasionally to approve invoices, for example. If we had needed licences for all of these users, it would have quickly created higher fixed costs. But this way makes it good value for money."



Comprehensive process planning is essential


The solution was set up and customised flexibly, with the responsible clerks working directly together with Konica Minolta's ECM project team. Managers in the finance and accounting departments were also increasingly involved during the short preparation phase. Before starting, Moser believed that the greatest challenges would be "finding out what you really want and how to best map it in the system" — making it better to plan a day too many than one too few. In this regard, Moser points out that the work required was exactly in line with the information Konica Minolta provided in advance, which in his experience is not always the case with IT projects.
This good planning paid off: Following some basic training, the intuitive solution was well received by all users because it is based on the Windows interface with which they are already familiar. Now any Tupperware Austria supplier can send electronic invoices to a general email address. The invoices do not need to be in a specific format; a standard PDF document is all that is required. Cost centre managers receive an email notification to approve invoices for payment. Paper-based invoices that arrive by post are scanned using a desktop scanner purchased for this purpose and are then processed in the same way as incoming digital invoices. Tupperware can also dispatch electronic invoices for its suppliers because both incoming and outgoing invoices are archived in a legally compliant manner.


​Current invoice status clearly visible at all times

In addition to having done away with physical archives, Tupperware benefits from increased transparency in that invoice statuses can be called up at any time from any location. "While paper-based invoices previously had to go through different folders depending on their processing status, you can now see at the touch of a button which invoices have been received, processed, approved and paid, and which are ready for archiving", says Moser, who relies heavily on the location-independent electronic workflow, especially due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This makes it easy to process, approve and automatically forward invoices to the next person from any location, including home offices. "Otherwise we would have to post invoices from employee to employee, which would certainly be just as inefficient as leaving the invoices in the company office until employees could return. The exceptional situation caused by COVID-19 has immediately revealed the advantage of the work process's flexible design."

Challenge

Challenge
  • Digitise the paper-based invoice archive in a legally compliant manner to gain space.
  • Map internal company process chains in a digital IT process, taking all application scenarios into account during the planning phase.
  • Find a balance between adapting the company's processes and adapting the software.

Solution

Solution
  • Introduce a document management system with invoice workflow to avoid creating paper files.
  • Any supplier can digitally send invoices to a general email address without the need to use a specific format or change the format further down the line.
  • Paper-based invoices that arrive by post are scanned using a desktop scanner and processed in the same way as incoming digital invoices.

Benefits

Benefits
  • The invoice archive is gradually shrinking every year, meaning that storage space for paper documents will no longer be needed after seven years.
  • Digitisation has made processing invoices and finding information faster.
  • All employees can process invoices from any location whilst maintaining compliance, meaning that employees can work from home when needed.