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ECM Case Studies

WinWholesale Distribution

WinWholesale Invoice Processing & 3-Way Matching Case Study | Requordit ECM

Executive Summary

Over the past 10 years, WinWholesale has achieved the following cost savings, productivity enhancements and a competitive advantage in customer service by using Hyland OnBase for enterprise content management (ECM) – as implemented, customized and supported by Requordit:

  • $3.6 million annual savings from the automated processing of 1.2 million invoices
  • $11.7 million per year of recouped productivity from automated 3-way matching
  • $143,500 per year of recouped productivity and travel expenses from streamlining month-end processing
  • $26,000 per year saved from warehouse document storage no longer needed
  • Ability to answer customer questions on the 1st call
  • Ensuring 100% of orders are invoiced
  • Cutting the time to process new company application process by 300%
  • Elimination of document loss from an average of two natural disasters per year

Invoice Processing Automation

Since 1956, WinWholesale Inc. has been a leading wholesale supplier of construction supplies with over 600 locations in 45 states. Of those, almost 500 are individual corporations in which WinWholesale is the majority equity partner.

According to WinWholesale's IT manager, "We implemented OnBase in our accounts payable department. We had an army of people keying in invoice information and we wanted to implement OCR, workflow, and process improvement to have greater visibility into the process.

"Our volume is about 1.2 million invoices per year. With the process improvement, the workflow, the ability for approvals, for non-PO invoices and everything, OnBase has helped us maintain a lean accounts payable team, while still making strides in process improvement."

Processing invoices at WinWholesale has gone from being paper centric to almost entirely electronic with no more filing and searching through cabinets. According to AIIM, the cost of processing an invoice manually is $6 per on average. OnBase has cut this cost for WinWholesale by at least half, equating to $3.6 million in the last year alone plus another $250,000 per year for not having to hire 5 new AP clerks since the system was implemented to handle increasing invoice volumes.

3-Way Matching

WinWholesale used to match invoices with purchase orders using the "3 drawer method," which took 4 hours per day at each of their 600 companies. This process consisted of:

  1. Creating a PO, printing it and putting it in the first drawer
  2. Stapling the receipt to the PO and putting it in the second drawer
  3. Stapling the invoice to PO and receipt and putting it in the third drawer

Using OnBase, WinWholesale now can do a 3-way match completely electronically by matching invoice line items with the receipt and PO. There is no more need to manually sort/alphabetize, enter and file.

"This is the biggest win with OnBase," said WinWholesale's business analyst. "We turned what was a 4-hour job every day, processing 15-300 invoices into an hour or less. This was one person's full-time job at every WinWholesale company." The 468,000 hours saved across 600 companies equates to $11.7 million in recouped productivity, annually.

Reducing Month-End Processing Headaches

Prior to Requordit's implementation of OnBase, 13 WinWholesale regional financial officers (RFOs) covering nine regions would fly into headquarters to manually create a profit and loss statement for 600 local companies – every month. Information was collected from each company's accounts payable, accounts receivable, payroll, HR (benefits), and receiving departments.

To collect this information, the RFOs would go into the mainframe, pull reports, manually key in everything from a green screen, run a report, and save to a hard drive or desktop – there was no filtering so it was a giant data dump.

Using OnBase for month-end processing has saved an "exorbitant" amount of time for these RFOs. Simple queries can now be run instead of keying through mainframe menus. As a result, the 13 RFOs no longer need to travel to headquarters every month. The process has also been cut from 4 days to 3 so each RFO can focus more time on how to improve local company profits instead of pulling numbers. This equates to over $143,500 per year of recouped productivity and travel expenses from streamlining the month-end process.

Additionally, customer service reps can now answer questions on the first call, rather than having to call a customer back an hour, a day or a week later.

Today, WinWholesale's financial analysts can look up information instantly in OnBase and do a quick calculation to calculate a P&L. They can also see how profitability changes each day, like what caused a $13,000 inventory loss because something wasn't priced correctly.

Mitigating the Risk of Litigation & 2 Natural Disasters per Year

Up until this year, WinWholesale was storing millions of documents in warehouses across the country at an annual expense of $26,000 per year – documents dating back to the 1960s to protect against litigation, the vast majority of which would never be accessed again.

WinWholesale companies are spread throughout the country, and have lost documents due to an average of two disasters per year due to hurricanes, flooding, tornadoes, heavy snows and roof cave-ins, and even a train derailment and explosion. Lost documents include journal entries made in mainframe to bank statements, annual reports, purchasing card receipts, etc.

All of these documents have been scanned and uploaded into OnBase along with keywords – there are no more physical storage costs and they never lose another document because of a disaster. "Now we can sort documents and relate them together – it's not just snippets of information but the entire story. Document management is a huge win even if you don't use for anything else," said WinWholesale's business analyst. In the case of WinWholesale, one OnBase license quickly turned into three, and then they started creating workflows.

Ensuring Checks & Balances

OnBase has also cut down on the loss WinWholesale would take on having sent product to customers and never getting paid because no customer invoice was ever sent. WinWholesale now gets 100% matching between every order and never misses sending an invoice because OnBase automatically confirms if there's an invoice and customer signature for every order.

Another check and balance is sharing best practices between WinWholesale companies. Information quickly obtained in OnBase for one company can be compared with other WinWholesale companies, so they can see when their performance is lagging. In fact, WinWholesale has created a centralized office management service that includes a regional office management specialist who works with each WinWholesale company to identify performance gaps and how to address them.

Streamlining New Company Approvals

To become a "Win" company, applications have to go through an approval process every quarter. The old process had many steps, all of which were done on paper and managed by one person. After all the information was gathered, this person would walk the documents around the C-suite for signatures. Nothing progressed when this person was out of the office. The whole process took about three weeks.

With OnBase workflow automation, this process takes less than a week. All forms and documents are uploaded, which automatically sends notifications to approve or reject the application with notes for why. On the downside, the person who manages this now electronic process had to join a gym because they don't walk paper around anymore.

HR: Telling the Entire Employee Story & Ending Security Worries

According to WinWholesale's IT manager, "With OnBase, we are now able to store our electronic W-2s with employee files so we keep their whole story together in place. We are confident of the security within OnBase that our Accounts Payable will never mix with our HR or Payroll. We understand the way that we can set keywords, set security, user profiles, take all that out of the equation and not worry about the security behind it. Our HR Department has a lot to worry about. Now they can let IT worry about the security pieces and OnBase takes care of that for us."

The Intangibles of OnBase

"We're now able to turn things around far more quickly than before" said WinWholesale's business analyst. "Someone asked for a report yesterday that would've taken hours before OnBase, and it took us eight minutes. OnBase gives us a dynamic capacity to search and retrieve documents, gather data, turn around answers very quickly, and present information in ways that can be easily understood and digested. OnBase is so easy to use that I learned it in three days and non-developers can easily use it. We have 18 ongoing projects in OnBase and our future is really bright."