Customer: Abbe Corrugated
A world of packaging
Abbe Corrugated designs and manufactures corrugated cardboard packaging and point of sale displays. Their range extends from plain cardboard cartons to multi-colour, eye-catching point of sale displays, for customers packaging anything from perishable goods to heavy industrial equipment.
Abbe has always invested in innovation, such as their state of the art automated materials handling system, to ensure it can meet the ever-changing demands of its customers. An innovative approach has helped them maintain their enviable position of having the industry’s shortest lead times, from estimating through design, manufacture and delivery.
Streamlining the AP process
So when it came to looking at their internal systems, Abbe realised they had to take the same approach, and use technology and innovation to help them streamline this essential business process.
Abbe process approximately 1,000 invoices per month, but the system definitely had room for improvement. “Our invoice workflow process got the job done, but was inefficient”, says Alice Williams, Group CIO . “It was never considered too much of an issue and, whilst we wanted to automate it, there were always higher priority projects.”
“But then COVID came and we were no longer in the office. That meant that our longstanding method of using physical folders to distribute the invoices for approval simply wasn’t going to work any longer.”
A trusted partner
Abbe had a trusted relationship with Toshiba having used their multi-function devices (MFD) for many years for printing and scanning. They knew that Toshiba were experts in document management, so they got in touch to see if they could help.
Toshiba introduced Abbe to their partner Redmap, document imaging solutions specialists, and suggested Abbe talk to them about their Accounts Payable (AP) automation application.
“When I initially contacted Redmap, it was with the intention of doing a full AP Automation implementation”, explains Alice. “But we very quickly hit what seemed like an unsurmountable roadblock. We process our invoices using Microsoft Dynamics GP 2015, and Redmap told me that they don’t have PO integration with GP. So their initial response was that they were very sorry, but they couldn’t help me.”
From roadblock to customised solution
But what happened next was really impressive to watch.
Alice takes up the story: “The next day my Account Manager contacted me and said that whilst Redmap couldn’t automate the PO matching and posting to GP, they had an idea.
What if Redmap just automated the workflow and routing? They could implement this in a few days, rather than the months that I would have been looking at for a full AP project?”
The team at Abbe quickly agreed to take this path.
“Literally that weekend I watched email traffic as the Redmap team built this new product, and a few weeks later we had automated the workflow and removed the bottleneck of paper from the process,” said Alice.
Innovation from emergency
As can often be the case, emergency had spawned innovation and a new product was born.
The solution enables Abbe to send invoices to an extraction process where the data is captured from the document and used to route the invoice to the appropriate resource. All invoices are checked for spend limit and this ensures that only invoices that have been fully authorised are sent for coding into GP.
“I couldn’t believe how quickly Redmap put the product together and got it implemented. I was so impressed with how responsive the team was”, says Mariee Gallo, AP Manager at Abbe.
Making a difference
“Everybody loves it. Once COVID hit, the amount of work needed in order to do the processing was just not sustainable. The other big factor was that, once we couldn’t walk around the office to see where the piles of paper were, we were flying blind. This solution gives us full visibility of what is where.”
“We had some initial challenges from a staff point perspective, but I can tell you that everyone from Anthony the MD down loves the product. The ability to know exactly where everything is at any time is so beneficial to the business.”
“Redmap have recently extended this visibility to allow us to create a URL link to the document and include this in the posting of the invoice in GP. This means that from GP I can click the link and see the invoice image, and that is amazing.”
Abbe are grateful to Toshiba for introducing them to Redmap, and with the solution that has been built for them. It’s been a great three-way partnership and one that has made a real difference to the Abbe business.
As Mariee Gallo sums up: “We really can’t imagine life without it.”
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