WA need to drive new core efficiencies in its business inspired Mercury Engineering to make an important change in 2004: it moved to SAP, recognising the need for a world-class ERP system for its growing company. But while Mercury realised the benefits of implementing SAP, further opportunities existed to eliminate manual and time-consuming practices, especially given its high volume of up to 40,000 supplier invoices a year.
"Accounts Payable staff processed invoices in SAP, then handwrote the SAP document number onto a sticker which they put onto the supplier invoice," explains Accounts Payable Accountant Colin Campbell. A third party scanning company put these onto CD, making it time-consuming to retrieve invoices later: "it could take 30 minutes to find 10 documents on CD", Colin says. Mercury knew that SoftCo helps companies manage their documentation processes more effectively and invited them to suggest a solution.
Taking an innovative approach, SoftCo suggested modifying Mercury's workflow: scanning invoices first and then processing them in SAP. Thanks to extremely tight integration between SoftCo R8 and SAP, the solution has been a winner for Mercury:
Philip Adams, Business Applications Manager for Mercury Engineering, says SoftCo R8 and SoftCo Managed Services are exactly what Mercury needed to improve its efficiency and responsiveness.
"Yes, there is an upfront cost to invest in the system, but the payback for us has been quite rapid," Philip says. "We instantly saw the benefits in terms of speed of processing invoices, but also in our improved ability to provide information back to our business." He also sees potential opportunity for the SoftCo solution across Mercury's international offices, including its Middle East, Russia, Eastern Europe and North Africa locations where it's currently rolling out SAP.
For other companies who, like Mercury, may have invested in SAP but haven't optimised the business processes around it, Colin says it's worthwhile to stop and look for a better solution.
"We were very happy with SAP but we needed to get information into it more accurately and get information out of it more quickly, and SoftCo R8 does exactly that," Colin says. "When companies have a system that functions, as we had with the handwritten stickers and the CDs, it's easy to say, 'well, it works, let's stay with it,' because they can't see the tangible benefits of changing. But we’re glad we did. The benefits we've seen since we started working with SoftCo means we've got a strong return on our investment."
Accounts Payable Accountan