On a recent SourceDay webinar, LouAnn Clarke, Finance Manager at Napoleon Products, and Lisa Payne, Napoleon’s AP Supervisor, shared their company’s AP transformation story. Their journey started with them needing “buckets and buckets and buckets” of paper every month just to pay their suppliers. Now they are 97% paperless and able to digitally process and match POs and payments – including checks. LouAnn and Lisa were joined in the webinar by Dawn Fludder, a member of the executive leadership team at Synergy Resources who helped them see the benefit of integrating SourceDay with their Visual ERP, and Sarah Moore, SourceDay’s CMO.
Moving Away from Manual AP
The pain associated with Napoleon’s legacy accounts payable processes were easy to recognize. Everything was manual, from ensuring a match between POs and invoices to actually writing out paper checks. The month-end close out process took them about two weeks to complete and usually included between 2,000 and 3,000 invoices. The workload was so significant that Napoleon would bring in rotations of finance college students on a part-time basis, all of whom required training and oversight.
LouAnn and Lisa knew there had to be a better way to manage their payments through improved processes and automation.
Fortunately, the Napoleon corporate culture is based on a mindset that expects continuous improvement – part of what has allowed the company to double in size over the last five years. They were able to revisit their technology portfolio and AP processes in parallel by working with SourceDay. They no longer require cases of bandages to cover the paper cuts from handling so much paperwork and no longer have to train a new class of college students every four months.
Napoleon Achieves Touchless Invoicing
Today, the Napoleon team can complete their whole monthly close out process in just 6-7 days, with just 2 days per month being dedicated to the process. They are no longer constantly running a month behind, and they are in a position to be opportunistic as well. Not only are their suppliers glad to receive payment more promptly, but this new digital payment process is also saving Napoleon money. As LouAnn explained, “We have better visibility into our cash position, capital assets, and liabilities. Even our cash discounts have tripled. Our invoicing is so up to date that we’re able to make 10-day payments to take the cash discount, whereas previously, we missed a lot of discounts because we just didn’t have the resources to manually input all of those invoices.”
In addition to a smoother monthly close process and improved supplier payment timeframes, Napoleon is able to get through their annual audit process with far less friction. Lisa describes it as “a piece of cake” compared to other years, when the AP team found themselves at their wits’ end.
Watch the full webinar.
Looking Towards the Future
Despite the overwhelming success of their AP transformation, the Napoleon team is honest about the investments that had to be made in change management. The transition didn’t happen overnight, but it did happen, and they are now enjoying the benefits. Napoleon and SourceDay worked together to manage the supplier onboarding process, and there was far less resistance to the digital process than might have been expected. They have brought in over 800 suppliers representing a range of sizes, industries, and maturity levels – all of whom now submit their invoices electronically.
Napoleon has transformed their AP processes, reducing complexity, frustration, and the need for external resources, but their culture of continuous improvement doesn’t allow them to rest on their laurels. They have plans to continue collaborating with the team from SourceDay to further reduce friction and streamline their payment processes moving forward.
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