Western Forest Products Improves Productivity and Harvests Savings through an Automated Accounts Payable Solution
Western Forest Products Inc. is an integrated Canadian forest products company and the largest coastal British Columbia woodland operator and lumber producer. Western’s principal activities include timber harvesting, reforestation, sawmilling logs into lumber and wood chips, and value-added remanufacturing.
Even within a depressed forestry market, Western Forest Products sought to introduce technology into the organization to promote internal efficiency and reduce its operating costs. And, like in many large organizations, the Accounts Payable department was a logical area to explore for improvement.
Every day, more than 700 invoices are received by Western from the various suppliers of the company. With a head office in Duncan, British Columbia and more than 50 remote offices and sites located throughout the province, Western’s A/P process faced numerous challenges. Hardcopy invoices often had to be copied and mailed between remote site offices for review and approval and then copied and mailed again to the head office for final entry into the organization’s JD Edwards Financial System. This manual, time consuming, process was subject to coding and approval errors and long payment cycles for the organization, often resulting in missed discounts and late payment fees. With long cycle times and high manual labour costs tied up in the invoice approval process, Western engaged CDIT to improve and streamline the process through enabling technologies.
The solution—designed and delivered by CDIT for Western—includes Kofax Capture, the world’s leading automated information capture platform, Kofax Transformation Modules (KTM), which streamline the transformation of business documents into structured electronic information, and Xerox’s DocuShare CPX Document Management system combined with CDIT’s AP-FLO Workflow System for DocuShare.
AP-FLO is a CDIT-designed and developed Automated Accounts Payable Workflow Solution for DocuShare CPX. The solution automates the manual tasks inherent in the traditional paper-based Accounts Payable process, such as invoice review and approval and payment processing.
AP-FLO is a CDIT-designed and developed Automated Accounts Payable Workflow Solution for DocuShare CPX. The solution automates manual tasks, inherent in the traditional paper-based Accounts Payable process, such as invoice review and approval and payment processing.
Through the solution implemented at Western, hardcopy invoices received at the head office are batch scanned into the Kofax Capture system.Invoices received at remote sites are scanned using existing multi-function devices on the network and automatically imported into the Kofax Capture system, along with invoices received via fax and e-mail.All invoices are then routed through a series of KTM queues, which automate the process of document classification and data extraction. During the KTM process, through integrations with Western’s JD Edwards system, specific vendor information is automatically associated with each invoice, such as payment terms and discounts. Additionally, site and contact information from JD Edwards is also associated to each invoice, which facilitates the automatic routing of invoices to the responsible Western site office and site contact in the AP-FLO system.
Once an invoice enters the AP-FLO system in DocuShare, the responsible site contact is automatically notified by e-mail. Through a robust “My Invoices” interface, each site contact is able to review and code assigned invoices and then route each invoice to the appropriate approver, based on vendor and site rules. All invoices are prioritized for site contacts and approvers in AP-FLO based on vendor payment terms and available discounts. Once an invoice is approved in AP-FLO, all invoice and coding information for the invoice is automatically transferred to the JD Edwards system for vouchering and payment. Payment status information is then transferred from JD Edwards to AP-FLO to update the approved invoice document in the DocuShare system.
With the implementation of the Automated Accounts Payable Solution from CDIT, Western Forest Products is realizing significant improvements in productivity, efficiency, accuracy and cost savings across its Accounts Payable system. The solution has enabled Western to centrally manage the entire process, while enabling staff at remote sites to easily track invoices, seek approvals, and settle accounts. And having quickly realized the benefits of automation in A/P, Western is already looking to leverage the platform into other operational areas of the organization.