AP Automation Case Study: Landstar
Accounts Payable Automation Case Study:
Landstar Benefits from Electronic Invoicing with Palette
“Before we deployed Palette, our manual systems were labor-intensive and time consuming for staff. Automated processing has significantly increased our overall efficiency, shortened payment cycles and helped to improve the manageability of transactions.” – Finance Manager – Transportation and Logistics Services, Landstar System Inc.
Key outcomes achieved with deployment of Palette:
- Over 140,000 invoices processed per year
- Invoice processing time cut by over 60%
- Reduction in time spent on administrative tasks by AP staff
- Delivered a paper-light processing solution, maximizing efficiency and manageability
- Enabled increased productivity
- Greater visibility of invoice and payment status across the organisation
- Integrated with current ERP system to streamline accounts payable activity across the organization
Headquartered in Jacksonville, Florida, Landstar System Inc is a worldwide provider of integrated transportation management solutions. With 1200 employees and a broad customer base, the organization wanted to streamline financial management and improve its operational efficiencies.
Emily Grantham, AP Supervisor at Landstar System Inc, said: “Our previous invoicing system was almost completely manual. The invoices went directly to the business unit where they were reviewed and signed, sometimes by numerous people, before being sent to a staff accountant to be coded. The staff accountant would then send them to Accounts Payable to be keyed into the ERP system and a cheque produced and verified. This process would easily take 15 – 20 days, causing unnecessary delays to payments. We needed a new system that would enable us to enhance productivity and allow greater control over accounts payable activity, whilst offering flexibility for future development, so we started to evaluate solutions to automate invoice handling.”
In October 2012, following the initial evaluation of several invoice automation solutions, Landstar selected the Palette suite of accounts payable automation solutions, to ensure that the 140,000 invoices it receives annually could be processed, approved and scheduled for payment as quickly and efficiently as possible. The electronic invoicing solution was chosen for its enhanced flexibility and ability to integrate with Landstar’s existing Epicor ERP system. The Palette solution went live in May 2013.
Saving time and resources
By using Palette to automate its invoicing management cycle, Landstar System Inc has been able to achieve significant efficiency gains: most notably a marked reduction in the amount of time spent on invoice processing. With the new automated system and the changes implemented in the way invoices are being received, the processing time is now an average of 5 days.
The solution has also provided Landstar with tighter control over accounts payable activity across the organisation, with improved visibility and tracking of invoices and payments. The majority of invoices are emailed directly into the indexing software, whilst any remaining paper invoices are scanned via a Pegasus Capture Imaging System.
These invoices are indexed and placed into a Palette workflow within two days of receipt. Once coded and approved, everything routes to a validation role managed by a staff accountant who verifies the account code prior to releasing it to the ERP system. Landstar staff are able to access their invoice workflows securely using Single Sign On, which also enables Landstar to easily manage users’ access centrally.
From here, Accounts Payable can gain an immediate overview of the organisation’s current financial position. Emily Grantham comments: “In adopting automated invoice processing, our priority has always been the efficiency and manageability of operations. Palette has certainly enabled us to achieve both of these goals. Our staff love having access to invoices even after they have been approved. Through reports, they are able to track the status of payments and retrieve payment information instantly.
“The accounting department is benefiting from increased productivity and visibility and has been able to limit the handling of invoices to indexing, cheque production and verification. The enhanced visibility of our financial position also gives Corporate Accounting a much clearer picture when preparing accruals and reporting the month’s liabilities.”
In addition to automating processing of new invoices, Landstar also uploaded 60,000 historical invoices using Palette, to give a complete picture of its entire accounting year.
Landstar’s future plans include implementing EDI for its largest vendors, to further streamline and automate processes.
EchoVera Inc. provides Intelligent OCR, AP Automation, Purchase Automation & Spend Management solutions to organizations looking to reduce costs and increase the efficiency of their financial operations. EchoVera brings over 30 years experience to clients worldwide.
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