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Case Etola: Invoice automation


“The automation of purchase invoices frees up time, allowing us to respond to the needs of our customers better than before.”

Mikael Etola, Managing Director, Etola

Challenge

Processing of purchase invoices took time and required a lot of manual work. The aim was to make the checking and approval process smooth and automated.

Solution

Suppliers were required to supply electronic invoices at the same time as OpusCapita’s purchase invoice recycling system was implemented. The invoices received are matched with the purchase order in the ERP system and automatically approved for payment. Using OpusCapita digitalization service, the remaining paper and PDF invoices can be included in the fast, electronic checking and approval process.

Invoice automation accelerates digitalization at Etola

Etola Group companies specialize in industrial products and supplies and have, during the last few years, taken purposeful steps toward the digitalization of financial processes. Managing Director Mikael Etola of the family-run company which has been in business for 85 years can now be satisfied. The purchase invoice process used at Etra the largest company in the Group and responsible for the overall service provided to industrial customers is electronic, effective, and largely automatic.

“From the very start, we were aiming for a high level of automation in the processing of purchase invoices. Therefore, we decided to start requiring electronic invoices from our customers at the same time as we implemented OpusCapita’s purchase invoice recycling system. We kept digitizing the paper invoices as the last stage.”

Annually, the Etola companies receive approximately 300,000 purchase invoices, half of which come to Etra. Since 2008, OpusCapita has been a partner to the Etola Group companies in the transmission of purchase and sales invoices. All channels are in use within the Group: electronic invoices, PDF invoices provided by email, and traditional paper invoices. The company also uses the OpusCapita Payments solution.

Nowadays, the majority of Etra’s suppliers send their invoices electronically. In the purchase invoice management pro- cess, the invoices received are directed to and matched with ERP system purchase orders and automatically approved for payment if the information matches.

More time to respond to the needs of customers

“Staff time previously spent on processing purchase invoices has been freed up for other tasks, such as processing orders, which, in turn, has given salespeople and product experts more time for the most important tasks customer service and technical advice,” Mikael Etola states. “We are better able than before to respond to the needs of our customers, which also shows in our increased turnover last year.”

In 2017, the Etola Group implemented OpusCapita’s digitizing service, whereby invoices still received on paper or as PDF files are scanned and converted into electronic format, allowing them to be included in the fast, electronic checking and approval cycle.

The Etola Group is also home to a number of other specialist companies in addition to Etra, including manufacturers and importers of industrial products and supplies, as well as Meltex, which operates in the construction supplies sector, and Maritim, a specialist in the boating sector. The well-known retail chain Talous Etola accounts for just a few percent of the total turnover of the whole Group. Mikael Etola says that the purchase invoice handling process will be further streamlined one company at a time.

The EDI connections within the core of business operations

OpusCapita also takes care of the EDI connections for the Etola Group. EDI messages play an important role, particularly in communicating orders. The Etola Group has a total of approximately 400,000 sales articles in industrial products and attracts 2.5 million orders a year.

“The role of well-functioning integration between partners is more significant than before for the whole value chain. In addition to prices, the sellers and the buyers should negotiate about integration more frequently, as well as discuss how it can be used to create efficiency gains for both parties. Building EDI connections with customers is a strategic choice and proof of a long-term partnership”, Mikael Etola says.

“A further challenge is getting smaller customers involved. OpusCapita keeps us up-to-date regarding any changes in the market. We are now looking into issues such as the kinds of opportunities the European PEPPOL development might bring for connecting us with customers and suppliers.”

“OpusCapita has been a good partner for us in digitalization.”

Mikael Etola, Managing Director, Etola

Reliable digitalization partner

Mikael Etola states that OpusCapita has, over the years, been a good partner in digitalization.

“We believe that reliability and coming from the same country are important values when we select software and service providers. I, myself, value the fact that we have been able to create good, even personal, relationships with OpusCapita contact persons.”

“They know our needs and how we operate. In addition, OpusCapita has served us very briskly, when needed. They have been able to work with urgent timetables, for example, when integrating a new customer.”

Etola is a Finnish family enterprise that imports, manufactures, and markets industrial products and supplies. The Group is formed of various companies working closely together. The main sectors in which the Group operates include industrial rubbers and plastics, cable supplies, gaskets, fasteners and hydraulics. In 2016 the total turnover of the Etola Group was approximately 400 million euros and the number of staff 1,500, with about 250 working in the manufacturing of industrial products.

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