The vision for the SSO was clear. Historically, Logitech's 30 or so sales offices across EMEA handled much of the Accounts Payable function locally, and sent paper invoices by courier to the Swiss office for final completion and payment runs. This setup meant a heavy reliance on paper handling with the associated delays, risk of error and courier expenses. The new centre would achieve efficiency not only by standardising and centralising most of this activity to a single office in Ireland, but also by removing the reliance on paper.
An upgraded version of Oracle would be central to the new SSO, and Logitech knew it wanted a business automation platform on board, also - a means to capture, manage, route, view and compliantly archive all supplier invoices at any time, without recourse to paper. The company considered its options and chose SoftCo to provide this critical element.
Working to tight deadlines as the summer 2006 launch date for the Shared Services Organisation drew near, SoftCo collaborated closely with Logitech to deploy scanning stations across Europe, train users and ensure seamless integration with Oracle 11i. The resulting solution, which went live in August 2006, has been a definite success for Logitech, and allows its team of just 5 to deliver an effective, efficient and streamlined AP function to the entire EMEA region.
Aisling Connolly, EMEA Accounts Manager for Logitech, notes that SoftCo helps the AP team handle the three most important responsibilities in the AP function:
"The SoftCo system has certainly helped facilitate more effective error resolution," she says. "With SoftCo, it's so easy to route problem invoices around for query to the relevant buyer. There is a full audit trail and we can see all the details. Previously, there was no such audit trail - information on issues was all retained in people's inboxes or remembered from telephone conversations. If one of the team was on holiday and a colleague had to look into an issue they'd been resolving, they'd really have to start from scratch. SoftCo has helped us enormously with that process."
In fact, the ability SoftCo provides to Logitech - to seamlessly route and action problem invoices, complete with attached image, around the organisation - has proven more valuable than even Logitech had anticipated. There was a brief time after the launch of the Shared Services Centre when Logitech wasn't ready to upgrade to Oracle 11i with the integrated platform from SoftCo. For a number of weeks it used its old ERP system and asked its EMEA offices to courier the original invoices or email images of invoices outstanding for payment.
This proved to be a difficult time, since the organisation had no single view of what images were sitting in colleagues' inboxes or if original documents had been misplaced or lost in the post. The launch of the full solution in August 2006 was a relief to all parties, she says, and highlighted to Logitech how valuable the integrated SoftCo solution is.
"I really couldn't imagine a more effective way of handling our AP than we have now with SoftCo and the SSO," Aisling says. "I've been involved in other shared service centres where there is no integrated scanning and routing solution and it simply doesn't work as well. We really couldn't envisage what life would be like for us without the SoftCo solution."
In the bigger picture, she says, SoftCo is one of the tools contributing toward the profitable growth of Logitech and its goal of becoming a USD3 billion company, because it allows their team to be productive and easily handle the AP for more than 30 offices. "We have to have cost-effective use of our resources and keep our headcount to a level that's not excessive, and we've been able to do that," she says. "In the long term, we can also see that SoftCo can help us easily integrate new sales offices we may want to open, in virtually any country in the world."
EMEA Accounts Manager