Based in Duisburg, Germany, HAVI Logistics is a leading logistics provider in the food service industry. Since its foundation in November 1981, the company has made it its mission to serve as a one-stop shop in the distribution of food and non-food items. With more than 53 European distribution centers and around 5,400 employees, HAVI Logistics now supplies quick-service restaurants, service station shops, and catering companies.
HAVI Logistics had its initial experience with automatic invoice processing back in 2008 at its Dutch subsidiary, where it first installed a local workflow solution. Shortly afterwards, the company decided to replace its previous, individual ERP system with an enterprise-wide SAP solution. This decision dovetailed with HAVI Logistics’ implementation of WMD xFlow Invoice, an SAP-certified solution for processing incoming invoices.
By handling invoice verification in SAP software at its offices all over Europe, HAVI wants to achieve more transparency in its invoice approval processes while accelerating invoice processing and meeting more of its payment targets. “Although the workflow runs in SAP, non-SAP users can still access it through the Web client,” explains Holger Voss, senior process engineer at HAVI Logistics IS GmbH. “This enables them to view the exact same information as SAP users.” HAVI Logistics IS GmbH, also located in Duisburg, is the IT service provider for all 50 companies in the HAVI group. In its role as pilot organization in HAVI’s SAP project, it is already using the SAP components MM, SD, and CO-PA, as well as the workflow solutions WMD xFlow Invoice and WMD xFlow Procurement.
Europe-wide invoice workflow in more than 25 countries
HAVI Logistics is currently rolling out SAP’s FI component at all 25 of its European subsidiaries; this phase should be complete by the end of 2014. In parallel to its SAP implementation, the company has also begun processing incoming invoices automatically with WMD xFlow Invoice and the support of WMD personnel. Meanwhile, HAVI Logistics relies on a combination of IRISXtract™ for Documents for document entry and scanning, WMD xFlow Interface for SAP integration, and WMD xFlow Invoice as its SAP-integrated workflow.
The company’s Europe-wide invoice processing currently consists of several procedures: Its national subsidiaries scan invoices themselves locally and then transfer the images to HAVI Logistics IS GmbH’s central server in Duisburg; there, all of the information is processed by capture software and archived in EASY ENTERPRISE. Instead of supporting the SAP system itself, HAVI’s IT company has outsourced its hosting to an IBM data center. Electronically transmitted documents are then read out using I.R.I.S.’s XMailFetcher tool. This way, HAVI Logistics is even able to monitor and automatically scan invoices sent as e-mail attachments. “This solution is particularly useful for invoices issued in the Scandinavian countries, where there aren’t any legal requirements concerning PDF invoice formats or signatures,” says Holger Voss. HAVI first implemented the XMailFetcher tool in Denmark and also began using it for Swedish and Norwegian invoices in late 2011.
Centralized entry, local posting
After extracting invoice data, WMD xFlow Interface transfers it to the SAP system and simultaneously triggers the system-internal WMD workflow. Nearly 300 controllers have been incorporated into the workflow in the first eight countries connected. After all the information they contain is entered and stored on the central archive server in Duisburg, the workflow sends invoices back to their countries of origin for verification, approval, and final posting.
Instead of only entering accounting after a delay as was often the case in the past, HAVI’s invoices are now “parked” in the system on the same day they come in. This ensures the desired level of transparency while helping the accounting departments at the company’s national subsidiaries to better understand all of its invoice-related operations. In one year, the first step of this process has already seen around 60,000 invoices from all over Europe pass electronically – and thus much more quickly – from SAP’s FI component through all of the approval levels required. Meanwhile, WMD’s software solutions have already paved a way toward holistic business processes at HAVI Logistics: The ordering system workflow the company’s IT branch has already established – WMD xFlow Procurement – is set to be rolled out at HAVI’s national subsidiaries, thus facilitating even better interaction between their order and payment processes.