Starting with the key process of receiving invoices, FORWARDIS has increasingly begun to embrace digitalisation in its handling of documents and procedures. The company, which specialises in multi-modal transport and railway logistics in Europe and Asia, and transports more than 10 million tons of goods every year, has implemented an ECM solution with Konica Minolta as a result of this approach.
FORWARDIS’ invoice processing system previously saw invoices passing from desk to desk and sometimes even being sent by post between the company’s sites in Berlin and Frankfurt. Accordingly, the process took a long time and was not very easy to track. As a logistics specialist, FORWARDIS consequently wanted to make this process more e_ ective. The focus was on accelerating the process and making it more transparent. “We were aiming for a solution that would show us the location and status of each invoice. Additionally, we wanted to speed up the process as a whole and no longer depend on a back-and-forth exchange via post or e-mail,” remarks Dominik Kruszynski, IT Manager of FORWARDIS, when describing the initial situation. An electronic invoicing process using workfl ow software that could be easily adminis- tered by anyone would remedy this issue. At the same time, those responsible for developing solutions had also been working on an Enterprise Content Management (ECM) solution right from the start, which could be developed in a modular fashion and digitalise additional processes.
A significant criterion to factor into the selection process was adherence to quality management standards, which can be very specifi c in the hazardous materials transportation sector, for example. This meant that their processing system required the handling of CAPA monitoring forms. To prevent errors, a_large number of details are recorded and discrepancies are systematically investigated.
This means that corrective measures can be introduced and preventive measures implemented in good time. In addition to the CAPA standards, it was also important for FORWARDIS to adhere to additional legal provisions, which result from regulations such as GoBD, HGB and AO. Additionally, the IT Man- ager felt it was important that the solution could be operated intuitively, so that it would be quickly accepted by employees.
“A decisive factor for us when choosing a solution partner was to have someone that could offer everything from a single source and provide an on-site presence at our locations,” emphasises Kruszynski. Not only did Konica Minolta satisfy these criteria, but they had also already proved to be an extremely reliable hardware partner for multi-function systems (MFPs). Additionally, the selected ECM and workflow solution can be integrated into the MFPs provided by Konica Minolta so that users can control the workflow processes directly from the MFP display.
After the team of experts from Konica Minolta had planned the two-phase project together with the FORWARDIS IT Manager and employees from various departments, the solution was quickly implemented. The planning and installation of the complete ECM system, which included workflow components and various options such as full-text search and barcode recognition, took around two months in total.
Thanks to this solution, invoices today are no longer sent from one site to the other, but are scanned in as soon as they are received. Via the workflow, they are then electronically sent over to the employees who are responsible for their approval and processing. Everything is faster and more transparent than before: The accounting department always maintains an over- view of the invoice status and sees whether an invoice has been logged, approved or posted. This means that FORWARDIS also has more oversight with regard to discount periods.
“As employees are able to search the complete text for details such as invoice number and date, as well as any other key terms, it has also become significantly easier to find invoices,” adds Kruszynski.
The next phase of the project will allow invoices to be processed completely electronically – information will be selected by machine and the process will be fully automated up to the point where the data is passed on to the accounting department. A planned additional stage will see the implementation of a workflow solution in the area of contract management to optimise the monitoring and administration of contracts, particularly with regard to contracts of carriage and contract controlling.