Deutsche Post DHL cuts invoice costs by 88pc

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Deutsche Post DHL has slashed its invoicing costs by 88 per cent after deploying an e-invoicing system from OB10.

Previously, the company’s invoice processing procedure was expensive and complicated, mainly due to incorrect invoices arriving late or being lost – each one was costing Deutsche Post DHL around five euros.

Furthermore, invoices were taking longer to process due to errors or because they were being sent to the wrong person within the organisation.

Deutsche Post DHL was keen to improve this process, while at the same time still being able to account for regional variations and different tax systems.

The OB10 e-invoicing system was chosen, particularly because of the additional services that were included such as supplier enrolment and its programme management capability.

OB10 was also able to offer a multi-national team with the ability to support each region taking into account that country’s language and culture.

The initial contract was for 17 entities across six countries of the Deutsche Post DHL network.

In order to do this OB10 and Deutsche Post DHL worked together to identify key priorities and define which entities and regions would be transitioned to e-invoicing with a target of 70 per cent of suppliers to be enrolled within the first two years.

Gabrielle Philippens, senior process consultant at Deutsche Post DHL, says: “We needed to work with a partner that not could not only understand European VAT and regional complexities, but could (in the future) manage a global roll-out…the fact that OB10 offered additional services such as supplier enrolment as part of its solution was key. 

“It is essential for us to have dedicated supplier enrolment that is managed by OB10 in our suppliers’ local language.”

Since implementation the cost of processing an invoice from start to finish has dropped from an average of five euros to 60 euro cents – an 88 per cent reduction.

Processing invoices is also much faster and more accurate now, which has enabled the company to devote more time to strategic, value-added activities.

Suppliers have also seen benefits as OB10’s e-invoicing includes a validation process that will reject an invoice at submission if it has incorrect or missing information, saving time.

Suppliers also receive conformation when the invoice has been delivered and are given support and guidance on what to do if an invoice is not fit for processing.

Additionally, suppliers are still able to submit invoices in any data format without the need to implement extra hardware or software.

From an environmental point of view, OB10’s operations has reduced the amount of paper used globally by removing the need for paper invoices.

Deutsche Post DHL has now signed a second contract with OB10 to increase the number of electronic invoices it receives and to roll out across a further ten countries and 18 entities by 2010.

It is also looking to include inter-company invoices in the future.

Philippens adds: “Initially we were concerned that staff would feel that the automation would reduce the importance of their role and they would feel their role in the department was now being done by a computer.

“However, in practice the new process resulted in allowing each staff member to spend more time on mission critical tasks that delivered real benefit to the company. Paper pushing just doesn’t exist anymore. If you talk to members of the AP team, they can see and feel the improvements that e-invoicing has made.”

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