pcRUSH.com offers a complete selection of business and consumer products: from printers, laptops and desktops to switches, routers, TVs, and more. However, its fast-expanding business was matched by a rapid increase in vendor invoices - all of which were keyed manually into pcRUSH‘s ERP system. This time consuming and expensive practice threatened to impact profitability - until pcRUSH used ABBYY FlexiCapture® to automate its AP processes.
As one of America’s top online retailers of business and consumer goods, pcRUSH serves a wide range of customers. The company’s product lines are equally diverse, ranging from consumer electronics to office supplies to networking gear for enterprises. Plus, its reputation for service, and dedication to providing the best value for the money, has earned pcRUSH expanding year-over-year sales - which ironically could have put the company at a disadvantage, as Michael Dy, IT Manager, explains:
“We were doing well in terms of sales volume and topline margin, with higher volume helping to offset a trend towards declining margins. But our vendor invoices were skyrocketing. Since all those paper invoices had to be entered into our ERP system manually, the cost of processing them was taxing our Accounting resources and would have eventually outstripped our profit margins.”
Dy believes that automating invoice processing is imperative for the company’s growth. “We need to squeeze every ounce of efficiency out of our processes - the margins in our industry are that close. But doing things manually meant we couldn’t even utilize digital invoices such as PDFs. We had to find a way to automatically capture invoice data, classify it and enter it into our ERP system.”
For Dy and his team, the equation for success required integration with the company’s in-house developed ERP solution and its customized invoice reconciliation application. Further integration with QuickBooks Enterprise Solutions and email extraction was needed, too. After analyzing forums and reports on form capture, they identified three engines for testing. “Only ABBYY FlexiCapture made the grade,” says Dy. “It was the right fit in terms of ease of use, accuracy and integration capabilities.”
“Our ultimate goal is the elimination of paper invoices and the need for users to perform multiple steps to process them,” says Dy. “This means achieving 100% electronic data exchange (EDI) with vendors, but during the interim some invoices will be paper - which requires scanning. FlexiCapture’s accuracy is excellent for this.”
To expedite their project pcRUSH tapped the expertise of ABBYY partner Todologix - who assisted with the setup and installation of a new server dedicated to FlexiCapture and QuickBooks. Hot Folders were then created and assigned to vendors: a scanning solution was set up and a single workstation was dedicated to verification. “Ellen Sutor from Todologix was always there for us,” recalls Dy. “I can’t emphasize enough how pleasurable it was to work with her and how much support we received from her team.”
Once in motion, the new AP process begins with receiving an invoice via email or as a download from a portal. From there it is routed to the appropriate Hot Folder; FlexiCapture then extracts and converts its data and the document is ready to be verified. Once verified, FlexiCapture exports the document’s image to the file server for storage, and its data to SQL Server where it is reconciled by the ERP solution and then pushed into QuickBooks.
“A bit of scanning is still necessary,” says Dy. “But every scan is immediately captured by FlexiCapture and integrated into our ERP from there. We aren’t quite paperless yet, but we will be soon.”
“Before ABBYY,” states Dy, “we had four people involved in processing invoices and were looking at having to add more.” Things have changed though, as he affirms: “Thanks to ABBYY we’re on the right side of the equation. Handling invoices has gone from four people, to one part-time position. In total, we’ve cut the time and effort needed to reconcile invoices by two thirds,” he says. “The results are really, really stellar so far.”
And Dy isn’t the only one to think so. According to Reed Lombard, Operations Controller, “The process is dramatically smoother and faster than it ever has been. It’s working even better than I anticipated. It works incredibly well.”
As for the future, Dy is confident in FlexiCapture’s ongoing benefits: “As we continue using FlexiCapture, we’ll take advantage of its wealth of resources and flexibility to create scripting that further improves its accuracy and reliability. ABBYY’s accuracy and ease is the wonder of it all.”