Taking the Pain Out of Accounts Payable
Sarah: Hi, everybody. I’m Sarah Moore and I’ll be your host this afternoon. Welcome to our webinar about taking the pain out of Accounts Payable. We are so glad that you have joined us today. So, for our agenda this morning, I’m going to start with – many of you completed a survey when you registered. So I’m going to start by playing back some of the results we heard from all of you. Then I’ll introduce my panelists. I’m very excited for you to meet these three awesome women. Then my friend Dawn Fludder will provide an overview of Synergy. I’ll do a quick SourceDay overview and then we’ll review the case study from Napoleon products. These three things are all just to sort of set the table for a live conversation that we hope to get to very quickly. I’ve prepared a few questions for us to talk about with our panelists. And then we’ll also, of course, be welcoming your questions as well. So let’s jump in.
In terms of housekeeping, if you’re not familiar with Zoom, there are two ways that you can submit questions to us. We really encourage this because it’s much more fun for us if this is an engaging conversation and not just a one-way presentation. So at the bottom of your Zoom window, if you mouse over it, you’ll see either the chatbox or the Q&A box. Either way, if you submit your questions, I have someone behind the scenes helping me gather those and curate them. And I’ll be sure to save time for those at the end. And then along this theme of we want you to be engaged in the conversation, we will also be asking you all more questions throughout our presentation in the form of polls. And so what will happen there when we launch a poll question is a question like this will pop up, simple multiple-choice, you just check your box, we’ll give it about a minute, and then our moderator behind the scenes will show us the results. So, with that, let’s share some of the results of the survey.
The top question, everybody is wondering, when are things going to go back to normal? So we asked all of you, how is your business? When do you expect to stabilize? And the really good news is, over half of you are either already stable or plan to be in the next few months, almost 60%, which is awesome. And then a quarter of you plan to be stable by the end of the year. And then a little less than a quarter are going to have to wait until sometime next year. But I find this super encouraging. I know we are all so ready to get back into our offices, back with our co-workers out into the world. So I thought it would be valuable for us to share that information with all of you. Now let’s open it up for introductions. I’m going to ask my fellow presenters to turn their cameras and their microphones back on. Hi, Dawn, and Louann, and Lisa. Super. Let’s start with introductions on the Napoleon team. Louann, do you want to kick us off?
Louann: Yeah. Hi, I’m Louann Clarke. I’m the Finance Manager with Wolf Steel manufacturing, also known as Napoleon Products. And I’ve been with the company for over 33 years, overseeing all the day-to-day financial tasks.
Sarah: And Lisa?
Lisa: Good afternoon everyone. My name is Lisa and I am the AP Supervisor here at Napoleon, Wolf Steel Ltd. And I oversee all the AP modules here.
Sarah: And then I’m Sarah Moore, CMO at SourceDay. I’ve spent the last 25 years of my career helping companies embrace new technologies to move their businesses forward. I’ve been at SourceDay for a couple of years, and I’ve been so excited and thrilled about the kinds of results our software is able to deliver to businesses like Napoleon, and really excited for our conversation today. And then next I’m going to throw it to Dawn.
Dawn: Hi, everybody, Dawn Fludder from Synergy Resources. I’m one of the business solutions account managers. I’ve been at Synergy about six years and I work with 300 customers coast to coast, Napoleon being one of them. And I’m looking forward to today’s conversation.
Sarah: Super. Let’s start… I’m going to ask the audience our first poll question while Dawn gets ready to prepare her overview. Lisa, Louann, if you guys want to stay on camera, that’s fine or if you prefer to go off-camera, it’s up to you. But our question is, which ERP does your company use? Today, Napoleon is a Visual shop, so a lot of the stuff and the experiences that we talk about today are specific to Visual. However, SourceDay… Well, Synergy works with multiple ERP systems, not just Visual. And then SourceDay, our customers work with two dozen, so we’ve got lots of experience. So I thought it would be fun for everyone to see the mix of our audience today. So, that looks… That’s great. So, as expected, most of you are Visual, but we’ve got some Syteline, some Epicor, some NetSuite, even some Microsoft tuned in today. So, that’s fantastic.
Dawn: This is the choice of technologies, that always happens. Thanks again, everybody. We have such a fantastic crowd today, which is really exciting to me. So a little bit about Synergy. And let me go over that one, Sarah. That’s great. I think what makes Synergy different than a lot of ERP vendors is our team. We’re really dedicated to helping our manufacturers reach their full potential. And that happens in a variety of ways. And if you look, we do have over 90 professionals, and I’m going to say they all have specialties in an area, and a lot of them came from your side of the business. Many of them were CFOs, running a business using an Infor product. They were plant managers, general managers, CEOs. They all have industry expertise in the breadth of knowledge within our four walls or virtual four walls these days is just incredible.
One thing I want to point out is we have won Infor Partner of the Year, the last 10 out of 11 years. Now, we might need to update that, which is just incredible because that’s across Infor as all of their ERPs. So that’s always, you know, a little feather in our hat. And we do have over 900 customers. So, for those of you that joined today, thank you. And for those of you that were not familiar with is, thank you for joining us. We can go to the next thing there. Again, it’s something that’s a little bit different in what we do at Synergy. A lot of other vendors that you might find out there that do ERP, they really implement and then, you know, they kind of go away. And that’s not what we do. We’re always looking for continuous improvement opportunities for our customers to get more out of the system, may that be with better processes, may that be with things like SourceDay, Napoleon, in working with them. We found out that they had needed a vendor portal. We had one. It didn’t quite meet their needs. We went to market and we actually found SourceDay. You know, and they implemented the PO automation side of the business, then we found out that they needed help on AP, which they did not know SourceDay had.
You know, so lots of fantastic things. We have our own products that we do, as well as, you know, strategic business. You know, we can help you with Kaizen events, lean events. We’re actually working with an organization in Singapore right now doing that for them and helping them get more out of the ERP with over 30 methodologies. And that’s about us. Just a little quick thing here. As you can see, ERP is really sort of the core of your business, but there’s so many things around it. And Synergy can help you in all of those areas. You know, maybe CRM, asset management, some customers needs configure price quote, mobile applications. Everybody these days wants to be in the cloud and Industry 4.0 and 5.0 really these days. And, you know, we’re here to support and help in any way that we can. So, looking forward to this conversation with Louann, Lisa, and Sarah to talk about where they were and where they came to, you know, in implementing the SourceDay product. And Synergy certainly assumed sort of throughout that story as well. So very excited. Thanks, everybody.
Sarah: Fantastic. We love our partnership with Synergy. So, I’m really glad to have you with us today, Dawn. And I know that you’ve got a lot of fans in the audience, at least in the SourceDay family. I know we’ve got some of your customers on as well. So, that’s great. So SourceDay, for those of you who don’t know, we also have a mission to help manufacturers, distributors, retailers, direct-to-consumer products, improve supply chain performance. We work with over 10,000 of those companies and their suppliers globally, integrating, as I said, with multiple ERPs so that we can help them process what is now almost $200 billion in spend over the lifetime of our business, which is super exciting. Our customers use our cloud-based software to ensure they have the parts they need to meet customer demand on time and eliminate all kinds of cost, risk, and protect revenue at the end of the day.
Why do they come to us? Well, looking across all of those customers and all of that spend, we help them track the root cause, what we believe is the root cause of most of the problems in supply chain performance. And that is boiled down to a single word, change. Even prior to all the disruptions of the last year, the weather, the pandemic, you know, the massive cargo ship stuck in the Suez Canal, you know, all of those disruptions caused change. But even in steady-state in the year 2021, no matter what industry you’re in, which ERP you’re running, you can expect 40% of your purchase order lines to have a change. Most of those changes will be dates, quantities, prices, etc. The fact of the matter is your ERP system is going to issue a purchase order when it’s time to replenish parts and materials, and there’s no guarantee that your supplier can meet what the ERP is requesting.
And so starting with the acknowledgement, all the way through the changes until it finally received at part or material, there are emails, spreadsheets, sticky notes, phone calls that happened to kind of keep everybody on the same page. So, I imagine that situation sounds pretty familiar. I know that was the situation at Napoleon back in the day. I guess it was three years ago, ladies, that when we started working together. Is that right?
Louann: Yes, it’s coming up on three years.
Sarah: Isn’t that awesome? But that’s what you guys were doing, right? Paper-based stuff, even that whether it’s your buying team. Let’s not steal our thunder. We’ll talk a minute what that meant for AP. So, in fact, it looks like most of you… We’ve got 40 folks who are still voting, can resonate with that challenge of we get all this automation inside the business and yet, we’re still stuck in paper and spreadsheets when it comes to managing the change that is required to keep everyone on the same page. Why is that? Well, the ERP in this case with Louann and Lisa is Visual, but as we said earlier, it could be Syteline, it could be Epicor, it could be NetSuite, SAP, etc., all the time and money that you invest in your ERP to automate business processes so that everyone inside of business can be on the same page, whether that’s your purchasing team, your IT team, planning, scheduling. Folks like Lisa, and Louann, and finance does a great job of all the stuff that you can control within the four walls of the business. But it’s not designed to and cannot include your whole supplier network.
And so, all of the changes that we talked about, those 40% of PO lines are managed manually. And then every change that’s made to every line of a PO needs to get manually updated in the ERP, so that teams can continue to rely on that information to be accurate and to continue to meet customer commitments, not waste time and money on fire drills and expensive customer penalties, expedite fees, etc. So, SourceDay replaces this chaos, , this disconnect by bridging the gap between the ERP and your supplier network. So that now buyers and suppliers use our cloud-based software. It’s a really easy-to-use web-based portal. I’ll show you a couple of screenshots in a second. And that allows the whole process from when a purchase order is issued from Visual through the chain, the acknowledgement, the change lifecycle, all the back and forth that happens between a buyer and a supplier is captured within source data. It’s documented electronically and fed automatically back into your ERP. No more spreadsheets, no more manual updates, no more emails, phones and faxes, unless there’s some massive issue that needs to be addressed by both parties.
So what does that look like? Well, really quickly, I’ll give you just a kind of a view. So the rest of our conversation makes more sense. On the procurement team, instead of logging into their email inbox at the start of the day, and sifting through looking for messages from suppliers about purchase orders, and their spreadsheets are open, and all that stuff, instead, they log into SourceDay. And our software has pulled all the data at the relevant data PO line-level data from the ERP and organized it for them, so that they can see and easily review any updates that may have come from suppliers in this pink box. They may have flagged some parts as ‘hot’ because they’re really crucial and important to upcoming orders in this blue box. And then on the green box, pending would be all the purchase orders that have not yet been acknowledged by a supplier. We have found that in many cases, all of the late parts can be traced back to a purchase order that simply wasn’t acknowledged by the supplier.
So rather than, as I said, skimming through their inbox, looking for this stuff and trying to make judgment calls, we help them organize their day and prioritize it so that they can be as efficient and effective as possible. Suppliers have a very similar view. We’ve organized it for them. We now have suppliers that use SourceDay for multiple customers. They love that. And we’ll talk some more later about supplier adoption. But just for the skeptics in the crowd, know that suppliers actually love using SourceDay, unlike the older portals that we’ve all had struggles with because we cater to their needs and we take care of all the training and the onboarding, the support, and we’ll guarantee that they use it. We back up that commitment with the agreement that if it doesn’t work out, you don’t need to continue to use our software. And we’re so confident that we can provide that guarantee. We’ve never really had to honor it.
And so, what does that mean? So I just wanted to set the table PO collaboration and automation as a portion of what we do. But our focus for the conversation today is AP automation. Because we keep everybody in sync about the purchase order, and in Napoleon’s case, Visual represents the final agreed-upon all of PO terms, we can also get access to receipt data within Visual so that we replace all the paper that finance teams are typically buried in, because every invoice that comes in from a supplier needs to be matched to the final agreed-upon purchase order, and the receipt so that that invoice can be paid, and the finance team can know they’re paying it accurately.
Historically, this is another process that is paper-based. Lisa and Louann are going to tell us more about their experience. SourceDay gives their clerks a similar view. They log into SourceDay, it’s a cloud-based solution, they can access it from home during COVID, which has helped a ton of our AP finance customers not have to go into the office in order to do their jobs. And we do the automatic three-way match. So any invoice that comes in that matches the purchase order and the receipt, flows through without a human having to look at it. Some of our customers will even choose to have it automatically vouchered so that all that needs to happen is it gets paid out of the ERP or whatever the business processes that that company uses to pay invoices. So this touchless processing seems like a dream to most finance teams. And I’m just here to share today with my friends that it’s actually a reality.
How does it work? Well, we read invoices through… And digital means, so whether there’s a bunch of different ways that we do that, they send us emails, they send us flat files, we match a supplier’s invoice… Oh, sorry, we read the suppliers invoice, then we go looking for the appropriate purchase order and receipt as I said that we’ve got a lot of intelligence and technology that runs in the background there to make a very complicated problem simple, so that, as I said, invoices that don’t need any attention can be processed automatically and the clerks can focus on what is usually a lot less than 10%. And in Napoleon’s case, I think it’s like 5% of the invoices that actually require human attention because something doesn’t match. So, I ran through that pretty quickly because I’m eager to get to our conversation.
As I ask Lisa and Louann to get ready to do their overview, we want to ask the audience, how is your finance team processing invoices today? Lisa and Louann, you guys had a funny story or I found it a funny story. I suppose I shouldn’t. It’s not really funny if you had to do it, but you guys used to have, like, recycle bins of paper that you would have to kind of juggle to get your suppliers paid every month. Is that right?
Lisa: Absolutely. Buckets and buckets and buckets of paper. Yes. Yes.
Sarah: And it’s crazy in the year 2021 that we’re so dependent on paper, isn’t it?
Louann: Mm-hmm. Not us.
Lisa: Not anymore.
Louann: Not anymore.
Sarah: So that’s a great segue. I’m going to hand off to Lisa and Louann now. And let’s make sure everyone who’s listening knows about Napoleon’s cool story and what you guys do.
Louann: Okay. So, we are one of the fastest-growing, heating, cooling, and outdoor living companies worldwide. Our vision is to inspire and enhance the most memorable experiences people enjoy in their homes with all three: Hearth, Grills, and HVAC.
Louann: So, before I head to that, I’ll just give you a little bit of history on the company. Our company was founded in 1976. It was started by Wolfgang and Ingrid Schroeder. And I remember Ingrid telling a story of back in the day, they needed some additional heat for their house. So, Wolfgang being a millwright, he built a wood stove in his garage. That’s how it all started. And 45 years later, we are worldwide with a variety of heating and cooling and, like I say, outdoor living products. And we currently employ over 1,400 employees. So, as the company grew, so did our accounts payable.
Sarah: That’s an understatement.
Lisa: Yeah. So we have we, you know, like we’ve just discussed buckets and buckets of paper. And it’s not an exaggeration. Our process was, we had a triple check. So the AP girls would do, you know, their processes, write their checks, had to have all the paper backup for all the checks, you know, that were being paid. Upstairs, they go in a bucket for a one check and then back downstairs for Louann, for the triple check, and then to actually sign off all the checks, and it was just… Yeah, it was just crazy. So then you can just imagine with all that, takes extra time, of course, and then your discount vendors, they want their discounts in 10 days. Well, that just wasn’t even a possibility because there was just too much time that had to happen in between the processes. Our month-end closing, another thing, it’s just for AP alone. We went from a three to four-day closing to end of first-day closing. Even just that alone, like, that’s a three to four-day saving on a month-end closing. You know, we were doing…
Sarah: And what was the total month-end close?
Lisa: The total month-end close could have been up to two weeks, you know? And now we’re down to I think it’s a six to seven-day when the financials are ready for the family to review. And I say family because they very much are still a family business. And that’s how, you know, the family is very much involved, father, mother and two sons are all very much involved. So when I say family, that’s what I mean by that, of course, and all of us because they do consider us part of their family as well.
Sarah: So, what this chart is showing is along the left side here is the quantity of invoices. And what can be a little confusing is on the right side, you see we calculate the percentage of the first-time match rate. So, what that means in our situation here is SourceDay is doing the matching. So this gray line is tracking the match rate that SourceDay is able to achieve because we have real accurate information on the PO, we get access to the receipts and the invoices. So those buckets of paper are all now being processed behind the scenes. And SourceDay, you’re not putting that stuff out anymore, are you?
Lisa: Actually, we are 97% paperless right now in our office.
Louann: Including payments. We don’t even do checks anymore.
Sarah: All right. And the results happen pretty quickly. So, the blue bars here in this chart are total uploads. So that will be your total invoices. So we’re looking at about, you know, between 2,000 and 3,000 invoices a month that you are receiving. And then the orange is the total matches. So we talked about the month-end closed process. What are some other benefits that you guys have received as a result of this automatic processing of invoices?
Lisa: Well, you can see from this chart that at the beginning there were a lot more manual entries. And right now, we’re up to about, you know, just that handful of troubleshooting to do. And that, of course, goes to SourceDay dedicating a team to us, AP, to improve the processes. So we kind of grew together as well, which was very impressive in my mind, that SourceDay would do that, that they, you know, dedicated a team to us. And it showed obviously by these results.
Yeah. Well, that’s why I go to work every day. Go ahead, Dawn.
Dawn: Yeah, I was just going to say, I think that’s one of the things that’s impressive about SourceDay and you just hit the nail on the head there, Lisa, is you grew together. This was a newer application for them. Their focus previously was POs. This was newer for that. You were one of the early adopters and there was things that Napoleon needed and SourceDay was very willing to work with you and get those written into the solution, which I think speaks volumes as well as to all of us working together as a team.
Sarah: So, the month-end close process we’ve helped you get from what was two weeks, my heart goes out to the finance teams that spend half of every month closing the month. They never get a break. Now you’ve shrunk that down to a week or so.
Louann: What we’re done today. So…
Sarah: Today, the sixth of the month.
Lisa: There you go.
Louann: But in actual fact, the 1st was Thursday and then we were closed for Easter. So we just returned back yesterday, and so my team is completed through March, I’ve finished mine and we’re ready to run financials before 5. So, really, it’s two full working days now and we’re writing to statements. Yeah. Whereas before, we probably would be like day 14. So now, you know, you’re not behind anymore because you’re only really giving up your day-to-day tasks for two days and then you’re back on track again, whereas previously, you were just getting one month done, you’re always a month behind. Whereas now, by the second week of the month, we’re ahead of the game all the time. So…
Sarah: Right. So that’s hard on the team. It also is tough on leadership, right, the family of a growing business. They need to know where liabilities stand, right? If they go from a situation where they’re flying a little blind for every 30 days to now, you provide the cash position accurately on a daily basis.
Louann: We do so. So we have a better visibility of cash and capital assets or liabilities. And we also, like, take advantage of all cash discount. So even our cash discounts have tripled for what we can take because our invoicing is so up to date, that we’re able to make the 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. We were always behind. Whereas now, you know, I’d like to say it is not so. It is a very positive process for us. SourceDay helped us with any enhancements, any suggestions, our improvements that we said, you know, can we change this or can we do whatever else?
Lisa: And are continuing to do so.
Louann: Always. Yeah.
Lisa: Any suggestion that we have because we’re using it on a daily basis and it’s our process, they’re more than willing to try to help us out with an innovation for that.
Sarah: Well, for us, it’s the payoff to see our software actually being used. And you guys have been great about an important part that is sometimes overlooked when we buy software, and that is the change management.
Louann: Yes, for sure.
Sarah: Louann and Lisa, you all have been… And I don’t mean… I’m not overstating it when I say visionaries, where you imagined it could be differently and you were ready to hold people accountable to change, which can be really hard and scary in a big business. It’s complicated and growing. So can you talk a little bit more about the change management side of that?
Louann: It was very adaptable. Everyone was well adapted to it and they were ready for change. You know, we’re always making changes here even if it’s with ERP or continuous improvements. That is one of the things that Napoleon does stress and promote is continuous improvements – to the point that every quarter we have to submit our continuous improvements or our big wins into the family so they can see what new things we have done, how it enhances and improves. And also it helps morale because when somebody does the same thing repeatedly, year in, year out, they become stagnant. So this was very exciting. It’s like, okay, let’s see now how we can automate, get rid of all those papers. There’s no more finger cuts, no more paper cuts because we don’t handle paper, no more band-aids on your fingers.
Lisa: You want to talk about, you know, lowering your storage fees.
Louann: Exactly. And then we used to bring in students from the college that were mostly in the finance program and we would have to train them every four months. It was a big job because we would just get them trained and…
Lisa: On they go.
Louann: …on they go again. We start all over again. So that was a big task, which took a lot of time for our team as well because they were constantly training. So, even going SourceDay, we don’t have that anymore. So, it cut down on our associates. Like, the part-time associates, we don’t need anymore. And the team has more time to learn other things, and grow, and develop where they want to go to.
Sarah: That’s really neat. I’m going to ditch the slides as we transition here now. So, I’m going to stop sharing my screen so I can see your face. Okay. So we have about 10 or 15 minutes of questions that we had prepared. I see all the questions rolling in from the audience. So, I’ve got some of the behind-the-scenes folks, as I said, helping me curate. We’ll get to as many of those questions as we can, audience. So please keep sending them. If for some reason we run out of time, we will absolutely circle back with you one-on-one and make sure you get the answer that you need. So, keep the questions coming. So, along the growth side of the business, let’s talk about your operations and how it’s… Because, you know, invoices have jumped in terms of the quantity and all the, you know, paper, you know, started out bins and buckets of paper and grew to that. Can you share what Napoleon’s supply chain operation looks like? It’s very representative of most of the people who’ve tuned in today, like, where are your suppliers? Where are your locations globally? Who do you serve?
Louann: Well, our suppliers are worldwide. I mean, we’re based in Canada. So, we do have a lot of suppliers across the border into the U.S., as well as Canadian base, but also China because we do have a manufacturing facility in China, as well as Kentucky, and right here in Barry. So we have three facilities that manufacture. So our materials are worldwide. So we have, you know, containers and shipments from the U.S. dated daily. And even sometimes our U.S. facility does purchase on this side of the border from Canada. Not that often. But they’re getting a little bit more into that. And that, you know, not as much as we get from the U.S., but they do get some things from Canada also.
Sarah: So, when we think about the supplier network, you know, as your business has grown, I think you shared in one of our conversations that Napoleon has doubled in five years, you plan it to double in…
Louann: And we did. That was our goal of five years ago, ending in the end of the year in 2020, that the family, the brothers actually, set out to double the company within five years. And we doubled it by the end of third quarter last year.
Sarah: Even in a year…?
Louann: Even in the COVID times because then we do a lot of online ordering now, which, you know, you have no… It’s either that or, you know, like, a lot of other businesses because all the little stores, and distributors, and dealers, you know, it’s all online ordering, so that is taking off right now. And I’m sure that it will continue because that seems to be the way of the world to do online shopping. So, that’s where we’re doing a lot of enhancements and development now to get that going.
Sarah: And Dawn, this story is such an awesome Canadian story. I’d love an image of Wolfgang to now, you know, growing a business that’s hundreds of millions of dollars and global. It’s so cool. But that’s a similar story for Synergy, right? You have 900 customers, I imagine the complexity that comes with growth is something that you guys are uniquely able to help with.
Dawn: Yeah, you know, we’ve grown over the years as well, after acquisition, as well as organically. We’re continually adding new customers every year. That’s part of the reason that we do win that Infor Partner of the Year award is for customer satisfaction, as well as net new adds, adding more Infor customers under an umbrella. But the Napoleon story is very real. So many people live it, you know, running around chasing POs. And if someone’s a way of goodness, you might have to go find their spreadsheet and figure it out. And, you know, just getting rid of the paper, I love that story. Like, you said, Lisa, you know, I can remember being on-site and seeing all these filing cabinets and it was all AP. It was filing cabinets and rooms of paper, and that’s all gone, which I guess is impressive.
Sarah: And so, what are the circumstances, Dawn, when you work with your clients where you recommend, like, folks listening in, you know, what would your advice be to them? Because it is a big change. It’s an undertaking and teams have limited resources, you know, the continuous of projects always have lots of suggestions. How do you recommend companies prioritize this on the constant list of things they want to do?
Dawn: I think one of the reasons that this should end up on, like, priority one is just because of the no tasking of your IT team. And I’m sure Lisa and Louann, you can speak to that. You know, that’s always a big fear when you’re taking on a change or something new in the business is how much is it going to take my team away from their daily job? And in this case, with both PO and AP, it didn’t take away from the job. IT, you know, needed to get us access. But the integrations through SourceDay and Synergy, you know, you do all the onboarding, you do all the training, the training for the AP side, I think you could say, Louann and Lisa, it’s quite easy, it didn’t take long for you to keep up on how to use it, very intuitive, very visual. And so, to me, it’s one of those projects where because you don’t have to invest much of your time and you can continue to run the business and grow it, and then what this is going to do once it’s in place, is help you grow the business, they don’t need to have those part-time employees anymore. And they’re growing at an exponential rate. They don’t need to add more buyers because they can handle more, you know, lines and more vendors because, again, everything’s automated in the system, you know, takes care of everything and now you’re just dealing with exceptions.
Sarah: So, Lisa and Louann, how did you guys just come to that decision? Like, there came a breaking point I bet for you, as Dawn said generally, if you’re drowning in paper and you prioritize the fears, the common fears, you know, IT is going to take too much time, suppliers won’t use it. Like, we addressed that, we guarantee we will. But from your point of view, you’re in the trenches, you’re accountable to making sure the books get closed accurately and as quickly as possible, how did you decide to use SourceDay?
Louann: Well, we had started out I guess, in five years, I’m going to say when we had the double the company, and our resort, and we pretty much had our resources filled. So we started with accounts receivable. And then we went 100% paperless with AR, meaning our invoices are all automated. It gets shipped out, the invoice gets processed through the system, and it’s emailed to the customers. Like AP, I mean, we did have a little bit of a pullback at times. But again, we’re like, “Okay, there is no option. This is the way we’re going. This is going to be our new system. You have to get on board. There’s no option to go to the mailbox and pop invoices in the mail, just like there’s no option for us to get your invoice to come in the mail. Because if you want to get paid, you have to email your invoice.” So we started with the receivables.
And once that got going, then three years ago, at the end of every year, we view, like, our reviews with our team. And my goal for that year was to try the next step with AP and see how can we assist the team with all the papers and get it automated because it was just repetitive. And that’s kind of how it went, I was determined by the end of the year, I was like, you know, “I’m going to meet that goal.” And Lisa and I are going to make our KPIs. We’re going to do it. So that’s kind of how that started. Then we started, you know, going on Google to see, like, how can we do the AP, and just doing some research and investigation, and we found a company. And then we spoke with them on how the automation works, not knowing at the time that SourceDay also offered it, and we were currently in partnership with SourceDay. So then when we found out that SourceDay was doing the automation that POS, and then we contacted them, and there we are three years later.
Louann: I just want to put out there too, like, we didn’t have some vendors that were a little bit unsure or they just didn’t know the format to send their invoices in that SourceDay, without permission contacted and work with those vendors. And some of our vendors had to make a little bit of slight change, which was no big deal, like, you know, change tax line or state line or PO, where their PO went. It was not a major issue. But they would contact the vendors and work with them so that their invoices would flow through. And it’s all a happy case because everybody’s getting paid with, like I said, within terms. They were getting paid faster because it’s no more checks going out in the mail and they have to wait two weeks is on EFT or ECH payments. So, overall, our team has a better work-life balance for sure.
Lisa: And that goes back to what Dawn was saying too, right, about SourceDay, you know, taking you by the hand kind of thing and not utilizing your time, so that you have to take away from other tasks.
Louann: That’s right.
Lisa: They actually reached out to the vendors and assisted the vendors to get on board with what we needed. So, it was good that way.
Dawn: One little point I wanted to make as well was, you know, Napoleon was not aware that we could help with AP automation. Napoleon also was… The finance team wasn’t aware that the operations team was already engaged with SourceDay. So sometimes the left needs to talk to the right. Because it was by chance that we even ended up on SourceDay, right? And Louann, if you were…
Louann: It was.
Dawn: It was close to…
Lisa: It was just a conversation with somebody and it just kind of came up. And…
Louann: I was in the hallway, and we’d just finished a meeting with this other company that we found on the internet when I bumped into my friend who was on the ERP side, and I was all excited. And she was like, “What’s going on?” So I was like, “Oh, this company, blah, blah, and they are going to help us with automation.” And she goes, “What about SourceDay?” I went, “What about source day?” And we’re like, “Oh, okay.” So that’s what got the ball rolling, then we reached out to SourceDay, and went from there.
Sarah: And here we are with the…
Louann: Then we had to contact the other company and give them the bad news.
Sarah: It was a happy ending, though. Everyone, you know, mission accomplished. And one mission that we accomplished is Napoleon’s now getting even more value out of their investments in Visual, right?
Sarah: And, you know, these things are constantly changing, the needs of the business evolve and change. But if the data inside of Infor or Visual is out of date or incorrect, you’re not able to use it in the way it was intended, right?
Dawn: That’s right.
Sarah: So can you guys to speak to that a little bit more too? Is that one way you think about this?
Louann: And that just like that storage, like, you know, I know in Canada, I’m not sure in U.S., but in Canada, you have to keep your financial records, like invoices, copies of payments blocked, like, for seven years for CRA. I’m not sure if it’s seven years in the U.S. as well for IRS. But SourceDay, they store all that for us. And we have our year-end audit from a third-party auditing company. And it was done faster as well, this year.
Lisa: Yeah, this year was a piece of cake compared to others.
Louann: And they just give you the list of what they’re going to audit see on the accounts payable in the bit. And we just give it to the team and say, “Okay, this is the invoices or the pack slips or copies of the payments, that we had to supply the auditor.” And we had it all at least within, like, every request 15 minutes later. We just uploaded it in their portal, because due to COVID, of course, everything was all our portal, our site, and we uploaded it.
Lisa: And just to give you a little bit of history on that, in prior years, you’d be getting on your old clothes to go up to an archive room in the mezzanine to dig through file boxes to try to pull these invoices that these auditors were requesting. Like, that’s what we went from and to 15 minutes, like, boom. Yeah.
Dawn: And not having to bring a change of clothes to work.
Sarah: Not having to bring a change of clothes to work.
Louann: Yes, and a towel and soap because you were filthy when you came out of it.
Sarah: Ladies, we have questions rolling in from the audience. So, I know we had planned to talk a little bit more, but there’s some basic things I want to make sure everyone is clear about. So the first one is related to ERP. We rolled through the presentation really quickly. So I want to make sure it’s clear. The question was, does it integrate with Infor and Visual or we had another customer or audience member ask, does it integrate with SAP? So, Dawn, you’re so knowledgeable about this, and I want to give you your time. So maybe you could start with the answer to those questions.
Dawn: Well, the one great thing about SourceDay and part of the reason we did or partner with them wasn’t just because of the Synergy’s with our business, but it was also because they are ERP agnostic. So, we have multiple options, not just Visual. We also do Infor CSI and then we have another product called Protected by Manufacturer. And so because they’re agnostic, it’s fantastic. So we do integrate, they do integrate that way, excuse me, but they do integrate with the many ERPs. And if an integration doesn’t exist, it doesn’t mean it cannot be written as well.
Sarah: And so the other question, Lisa, and Louann is, how do suppliers…how do they send invoices? So what…?
Sarah: Oh, how was it before and how is it now?
Lisa: Before it was paper copied mailing or fax, and now it’s email, 100% paperless.
Sarah: And I know there’s skeptics out there. You didn’t have any trouble convincing the suppliers to email the invoice instead of printing it?
Lisa: Well, I wouldn’t say we didn’t have any trouble. You know, you have to convince people to make the change and it’s for the better. But what I would say is that we did get the support from SourceDay to do that. So, we did do some of it ourselves but SourceDay was very, very helpful with that process.
Louann: I think once we gave up no more checks, so our payments… I mean, COVID did force us. On the positive side, it was good that way because I mean, COVID is not good but through a pandemic, it helped us get more automated than what we wanted because we were, you know, still doing the upload in SourceDay, but we were issuing checks and signing them. And again, we’d have recycling bins full of checks. Whereas now, due to that, we’re like, “Okay, your only option is EFT. There’s no other option to get paid. So, now we are I’m going to say 99.9% because now we have… Maybe I think last month, I signed four checks. That’s it.
Sarah: So, let’s pause there because I’m getting some skepticism from the audience, rightly so. I’m happy to draw it out. So we can address it. And that is, it was a transition period. It wasn’t like…
Lisa: Oh, for sure.
Louann: Oh, for sure.
Lisa: It did not happen overnight.
Sarah: Didn’t happen overnight and you didn’t go it alone.
Lisa: So we did not. That’s right. It did take some time and it did take some effort on our part. Yes, absolutely 100%. And was it frustrating? At times. Yes, it was. But we had the support that we needed. Any time we needed the support, we had the support from SourceDay. It’s like any new project, though, right? Like, anything, any change, it takes a transition period.
Sarah: So there was a period where you were still writing paper checks? So if there are organizations there who have suppliers who may be simply can’t receive electronic payment, of course, we’re going to map to your business process and make this work for you. Napoleon’s experience with our IP solution is slightly different than other customers who use Epicor AP or other customers who have smaller businesses, maybe. So, the really important message for the audience is that, when you engage with us, and with Synergy to automate your IP process, we work together to make it work.
Lisa: That’s right.
Louann: Absolutely, 100%.
Lisa: It doesn’t happen overnight, but it happens.
Louann: Yeah, it is a lot of patience. It’s a lot of like hand holding your team and you have to, just you know, keep them on track. We have weekly, bi-weekly check-ins. How’s it going? What are the issues? So, we’ve done our due diligence as well. And a few times, you know, like, Lisa and I would set up a meeting with the meters at SourceDay and say, “Okay. Here’s some issues that we’re having. Like, how can you help us out with this?” And then rather than, like, call a 1-800 number or go through customer support, we had our own dedicated person, which is fabulous, and we’re very grateful for that. And it still works.
Lisa: Yes, and even currently, we have weekly check-ins with SourceDay. You know, they did… We have Ken on our team and he dedicates you know, a half an hour to an hour every week, just for us so that we can check-in and say, “Well, what about this? What do you think about this as an improvement? How can we make this flow better?” And, you know, and the next week, guess what? We got an answer.
Sarah: And it’s important for the audience to know we appreciate that partnership with our customers too because, I mean, your products are valuable to all customers who use AP. So when Lisa and Louann make a suggestion, and we figure out how to solve or deliver on what they’re asking us, everyone, we’re s SaaS solution, so all of the customers of AP get access to that new capability.
Louann: Like here’s a prime example, like in the beginning, you could have one PO per invoice. So, you know, you’d have like steel companies, we would probably get 20 invoices a day because you can only have the one. But since we could merge them all together and they can have multiple POs on an invoice that also cut down the amount of invoices that get processed, right? Because you could have like, say five POs per invoice. So that was an enhancement that we asked, “Is there any way that this can happen, so we can cut down the amount of invoices and just save this company could just invoice us everything on one invoice at the end of the day, rather than per shipment?” And that was a big-time saver as well, not just for us, but for our vendor also.
Lisa: And also too for those leaders that are listening in here, understand too that SourceDay will work with everybody on your team, not just you as a leader because we have our AP analysts that are in contact with Ken all the time for different things, and have worked together side by side to make improvements so that it worked for us the way we needed it to. So, you know, if you’re a busy leader and you think that, “Oh, gosh, I’m never going to be able to do this, I’m not going to have the time to take it on, they will work directly with any member of your team.
Sarah: So there’s some questions from the audience around volume. So, the chart showed that we are currently processing together through SourceDay between 2,000 and 3,000 invoices per month. Is that right?
Sarah: And then, you know, so today, whatever the daily count of invoices being sent via email is automatically being processed. I don’t know if you guys know how that breaks down on average. But one of the questions was, how many invoices are you processing today versus what you could do before?
Lisa: Well, we’re less one person. We’re less one person, 100% data input person. We’re down an eight-hour a day person, one full person.
Sarah: Don’t need that work done anymore? It went away.
Lisa: Yeah. So I don’t know if that kind of answers the question, but…
Louann: And, like, we don’t have stats, like, how many there were but if you can picture that our company has doubled over the past few years, then, of course, the AP, the volume is going to go through the roof because you can’t double without materials.
Lisa: That’s right.
Dawn: I think what’s impressive is back in the day, you did have to take all of them and physically match then. Today, 95-ish percent of that 2,000 or 3,000 is auto-matching, auto vectoring, and now you’re worrying about the 5% and why it didn’t… And it’ll actually flag you. Was it a date? Was it a PO, right? Was it a price? It actually alert you.
Louann: And sometimes you know, what it is, is, you know, like, the invoice would come in today. So, it would automatically flow through SourceDay. However, the inventory might not be here for two or three days because the vendor is also automated. So, they do their invoicing as soon as the shipment leaves their warehouse, like we would do, and we’d have the invoice prior to us receiving the goods. So, therefore, the invoice is saying they’re mismatched. But as soon as the receiving is done because I think SourceDay updates their system with ours every 15 minutes all day long, so as soon as that inventory is received, and they run theirautomation, it always gets matched in the scanner that the mismatch. So that’s one of the reasons why they go there.
Dawn: Whereas before, you’d have to take that invoice, put it in one of your piles, and then remember to keep checking for a receipt. Check, check, check, right, and…
Louann: Manually every day.
Lisa: Yep. Take that mismatched file folder and go through each PO, is it matched now? Is it matched now, you know? Yeah, no more.
Sarah: Yeah. Wow. Let’s see. So, some people are asking a question to clarify, is SourceDay a separate product that you buy? And it’s really important that I make that clear. Yes is the short answer. Source day has its own SaaS solution that integrates with multiple ERPs. But in this case, we’ve integrated with Visual in order to do that 15-minute match that or check that you described. We’re checking all the receipts on the invoices that you’ve received. Nobody has to go back and do the manual check. But we’re also making sure the dates and quantities and everything are correct.
Louann: Yes, and pricing.
Sarah: And pricing so that you’re not overpaying or paying too quickly or paying later than necessary.
Louann: No. So it is continuously updating all of that, the three-way match and the invoices that are going through. So it is constantly… So it’s pretty much live data all the time. It’s live information.
Right. So another set of questions, we’re running out of time, but a bunch of questions related to the number of suppliers and the types of suppliers that you work with. So, ballpark about how many suppliers have we, you know, integrated with, as well as integrating with your Visual?
Lisa: Oh, good question.
Louann: We had stats on that, too. How many suppliers do we have? Over 800?
Sarah: And they’re not… They run the gamut, right? They run the gamut of, like, big steel companies that are providing, you know, massive, technologically sophisticated organizations that are sending you those invoices before you’ve even received the goods.
Louann: To nuts and bolts.
Dawn: [inaudible 00:55:59.414].
Louann: Yeah, a roll of scotch tape from office supplies. Yeah. So, it’s everything that a business would need to run a business. Like, the only thing that we don’t put through SourceDay are non-inventoried items, so that, you know, that’s like your cell phone and your gas bill or property tax, like those types of bills that are not on appeal.
Sarah: Right. Right. Yeah. Okay. Let’s see. So many to choose from here.
Dawn: I think for some of us, Sarah, we may have to get back to them after the fact.
Sarah: Yeah, some of them are sort of complicated, not short answers. Let’s see. Well, let’s close. I think I’ve answered the bulk of the questions that were common, audience. Thank you so much for your engagement. We will for sure get back to each of you, make sure you get your answers that you need. But my last question for you all is, we’ll close with the road ahead. So as you look forward, now that you’ve achieved all these efficiencies, what do you see? We’ll start with Lisa and Louann, and then Dawn, I’ll ask you to close this out. But Lisa and Louann, what do you guys see on the road ahead?
Louann: Well, for me, I’d say the future of, you know, 2021 and onward, is to continue working with SourceDay on improvements and enhancements to continually progress with automation for excellence.
Lisa: Continuously adopting, or, you know, onboarding vendors, onboarding vendors. Yeah.
Sarah: And helping grow the business. Absolutely. Yes.
Louann: Yes. Absolutely. Yeah.
Dawn: And that’s our mission as well is just to help customers just like Napoleon, find those solutions that are helping take them to the next level and helping support that massive growth. I don’t think, you know, in the five years, you could have hit it without some of these automated tools, you know?
Lisa: That’s right.
Dawn: It would have been more of a struggle.
Louann: But it would have been more of an expense too because in order to meet that, your resources would have to increase. So you just can’t continue the growth with the same amount of resources without automation. Like, it’s just impossible to do.
Louann: So, for us, we’re pretty much fully automated now. We’re not going back. There’s no taking no steps backwards.
Lisa: Onwards and upwards.
Sarah: And I think it’s important to note too, your team is still a combo at working from home and office. Is that going to be the same for the foreseeable future? This has given you the flexibility people can work from wherever they need to?
Lisa: Well, that doesn’t seem to be an end in sight at the moment, you know.
Louann: No. I mean, for us, we do… There’s, like, a handful of us that’s been here is from day one. But normally, we have about 80 to 90 people here in-office staff. And we’re down to 10 of us. But we’re here because we do have production going. But right now, no, there’s no talk about bringing people back in as long as the pandemic is on the go. So, it’ll probably be, who knows, it could be for the remaining of 2021. And after that, we could be doing like a hybrid. But to have everybody back in the office full time now, I don’t think you’re going to see that in the near future.
Lisa: No. Which is why the importance is for the automations.
Louann: You have to.
Lisa: You have to have it automated. You don’t have the flexibility without it.
Louann: Because you can’t get mail dropped off, like, you know what I mean? If the seven of us were home, where’s the mail going to go? If the mail lady dropped the mail app, who’s going to pick it up?
Sarah: Give me more of those buckets.
Louann: Exactly. And who’s going to…? You know, you’d be rushing around trying to find or meeting out with people to sign checks, that is just not feasible. So, therefore, we had to enforce the suppliers to say, “Okay, the only way we can pay you is through automation, through EFT, through uploads.” It was hesitant at first, but now it’s just the flow. They’re happy. We’re happy. We do our accounts payable now in half an hour versus before we would be, like, three days doing the check run, half an hour…
Dawn: You’re getting paid faster as well because you can…
Lisa: That’s right. That’s right.
Louann: That’s right.
Dawn: And you’re not waiting for the next check run because, you know, it’s quicker for them as well. So there’s benefits for the vendors as well as…
Lisa: Yes. And also, when you have a system like that, then you can also schedule yourself much better. So, you know, you can have specific days. Okay, these are the days we do uploads and these other days, we do, you know, one of direct deposits or what have you, however, you want to schedule it out. But you can do that because you have that option.
Sarah: So, we are out of time. I know from experience this crew can go as long as you let it. But we have to respect our audience’s time and I want to make sure they know everyone will receive a recording of today’s webinar. So if there are bits that we went through too quickly and they weren’t clear, you’ll be able to replay that. So, expect that. Also, expect SourceDay’s team and in some cases, maybe Synergy’s team to reach out to individuals like Elizabeth Craig Young, people who asked questions that we just weren’t able to get to the level of detail you were yearning for, we’re happy to do that offline, one-on-one. And if for some, reason you don’t hear from us, please don’t be shy, reach out because as Dawn says, we are here to help. That’s our mission to help you all. So, Lisa, Louann, Dawn, thank you so much for sharing your story with us today.
Lisa: And you’re very welcome.
Louann: Thanks for having us.
Sarah: And we’ll talk soon I hope. Okay? Stay safe.
Louann: Okay. Take care.
Lisa: Bye now.