Case Study on Driving Procure to Pay (Purchase to Pay) Quick Wins


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The Procure-to-Pat (Purchase to Pay or P2P) process offers great opportunities for improvement, especially in companies that are decentralized, still paper-based, and lacking standardization. This case study illustrates how a global financial services company significantly improved vendor satisfaction as a result of a focused re-evaluation of the end-to-end process.

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Case Study on Driving Procure to Pay (Purchase to Pay) Quick Wins

  1. 1. Chazey Partners Case Study Series | 1 DRIVING PROCURE-TO-PAY QUICK WINS © Chazey Partners 2014 Case Study Series The end-to-end Procure-to-Pay process is one that offers great opportunities for improvement in companies that are decentralized, still mainly paper- based, and lacking in standardization. This case study explains how a company that was determined to drive efficiencies through the process ended up with significantly improved vendor payments.
  2. 2. Chazey Partners Case Study Series | 2 Background This company had already committed to Shared Services as a means of cutting costs and getting more transparency into its operations. Following significant operational changes resulting from a corporate reorganization, what became immediately apparent to the then head of Shared Services was that the company’s disbursements process (AP, T&E, Purchase card) still suffered from inefficiencies and that these were negatively impacting vendor payments. The challenge for the SSO leader was, in a relatively short time period, to drive some quick wins alongside longer term solutions through the P2P process, while at the same time evaluating existing AP and T&E outsourcing partnerships to identify process inefficiencies. The company invited Chazey Partners to take on an evaluation of the P2P process, and offer short- and long-term solutions for improvements. Chazey provided the necessary P2P process expertise, analysis, and change management support. Project The project had three core stages, each of which culminated in a presentation to the Steering Committee, and were based on: 1. an “as is” evaluation of current processes 2. a proposed model 3. short-term to long-term improvement opportunities. The company provided one dedicated resource for this project, which provided an important contact point with a strong knowledge base of how the business worked, and easy access to the core stakeholders within the company. Chazey brought one consultant and two analysts to the Project Team, whereby the consultant was very experienced in P2P and had the full trust of the client. The Project Team presented a weekly, 30-minute briefing to the Steering Committee, which included the company CFO, to update on progress, and highlight issues encountered and risks. Inefficiencies in Disbursement Themainissuesimpactingthedisbursementsprocess were lack of training, inefficient use of existing resources and technology, too much reliance on paper, decentralization, and lack of visibility in handing over work to the outsourcing partners. The impact on the business was felt in terms of late invoice payments and lack of data transparency. One of the first decisions made was to roll out Oracle across the combined businesses. This replaced the existing Lawson platform, and immediately resulted in improved standardization. The existing P2P system was still predominantly manual, however, with all the costs and delays you would expect from such a process: Invoices were not being scanned properly; there were backlogs; vendors were still sending invoices to the business units as opposed to the Shared Services Center; and there was little reliable overview or data on vendor payments. And although a document management system had been implemented as a bolt on to Lawson, staff had not necessarily been adequately trained, and the system was used ineffectively.
  3. 3. Chazey Partners Case Study Series | 3 Specific Challenges Accounts Payable The main concern in Accounts Payable was that there was little control of the data and it was difficult to ascertain, with any degree of reliability, how quickly vendors were being paid. Without a central control of the Accounts Payable database – many of the businessunitswerestillsettinguptheirownaccounts with vendors, a legacy of growth by acquisition – it was not easy to access data. Travel & Expense Although corporate cards were in use, these were frequently used to procure items outside their proper scope. Inconsistently managed, bad habits had evolved that meant the cards were often used for items that should really fall within Procurement, a common enough scenario. And although the Oracle implementation did tighten controls, the data conversion left some items unclear, meaning that data carried forward did not necessarily map to the outstanding invoices, creating problems when drilling down into outstanding vendor payments. Purchase Card The purchase card had in the past been controlled by administration within the divisions, so its management was decentralized, and, again, offered opportunity for improvement. It was clear that the high volume, low cost items that fell within purchase cards could be better managed through standardized procedures. Assessing Performance Chazey’s initial research came up with an “as is” measure of processes that mapped the company’s performance against both “median” and “top performers” based on the industry benchmarking data that Chazey has acquired. These benchmark comparisons allowed the Steering Committee to understand where improvements would have the greatest impact. The areas thus analyzed included: 1. AP Staff Productivity (number of invoices processed per FTE) 2. AP Cost Effectiveness (total cost to perform the process per invoice) 3. AP Process Efficiency (% invoices paid on time) 4. AP Cycle Time (from receipt to approval) 5. T&E staff productivity (number of disbursements per FTE) 6. T&E cost-effectiveness (total cost per disbursement)
  4. 4. Chazey Partners Case Study Series | 4 Proposals: Process and Technology Many of the AP inefficiencies originated in the procurement process, which was out of scope for this evaluation. With the vendor database not clearly owned or managed by any one party, the process was prone to challenges from the start. Complexities in the approval process were exacerbated by delays in invoice scanning. The result was that approximately 40% of the invoices received by the outsourcing partner were already overdue at handover. Without the proper metrics in place, it was difficult to get a baseline measure of process health, and there was insufficient accountability from the business. These findings led to Chazey making several proposals to improve disbursements. The proposed improvements fell within three categories: short term, medium term, and long term. Target Operating Model To drive improvements through the disbursement process, the project team proposed a new Target Operating Model (TOM) based on an agreed P2P vision and with clearly defined roles and accountabilities supported by a robust governance structure. There was also a need to clearly define standardized, global, end-to-end processes and leverage appropriate technologies. Underpinning all wouldbeaclearperformanceframeworkthatdefined key metrics to monitor and improve the organization. In the short term, a Global Process Owner, clearly defined accountability for vendor master data, and agreed standards would support the transition to future state. In the medium to long term, a focus on transferring knowledge and leveraging the BPO relationships would serve to drive improvements. A summary of these key initiatives is outlined in the chart below: Summarizing  the  Key  Ini1a1ves   SHORT  (Q4  2013)   MEDIUM  (Q1  2014)   1.  P2P  PROCESS  OWNER   Implement  P2P  Global  Process   Owner  to  drive  policy  se?ng,   efficiency  and  standardiza1on   LONG  (Q2  2014)   2.  P2P  BOARD   Mobiliza1on  of  Working  Groups    /   Regional  P2P  forum  to  improve  the   governance  and  focus  on  key   metrics  at  various  level:  strategic,   tac1cal,  opera1onal   3.  KPIs  and  METRICS   Iden1fy  and  agree  with  key   stakeholders  relevant  P2P  process   and  people  performance  metrics   and  KPIs   1.   TECHNOLOGY  STRATEGY   Review  and  assess  the  current   technological  landscape  in  rela1on   to  global  standard  process,   business  needs  and  IT  strategy.   Develop  roadmap  for  future   solu1on  (leverage  Oracle)   2.  MASTER  DATA  STRATEGY   Develop  and  implement  a  clear   Master  Data  Strategy   3.  BPO  MODEL   Leverage  BPO  Vendor  for  all   transac1onal  ac1vi1es  suppor1ng   P2P   ONE  GLOBAL  PROCESS   Leverage  a  single,  standard,  end-­‐to-­‐ end  P2P  process  –  across  all   business  segments  and  geographies   1.  No  EIN  No  Pay   Implement  No  EIN  No  Pay  policy  to   reduce  process  complexity  and   foster  compliance     2.  Workflow   Implement    automated  workflow   for  approvals  and  excep1on   handling  with  escala1on   3.  Align  Spend  Approval  Matrix   (DELEGATED  AUTHORITY)   Implement  a  less  complex  approval   matrix  that  is  consistent  across   Regions  based  on  roles.   4.  Online  RequisiQon   Implement  online  requisi1on   system  with  defaults  by  vendor,   items  and  requester  with  upfront   PO  approval  
  5. 5. Chazey Partners Case Study Series | 5 Performance Management System Chazey suggested the company adopt a set of recognized best practice indicators, which would form the basis of a P2P Performance Management System. As a result, a metrics dashboard was created to share information with key stakeholders, which would serve as a basis for corrective action. These indicators included: • volume by invoice type • first pass yield • percentage on-time payments • number of new vendors created • cost per invoice processed; etc. To drive transparency and accountability, and to establish clear rules and common understandings, improved governance procedures and a service delivery framework would provide the necessary guidance and support. The suggested process and technology design is depicted below: P2P  TOM  –  Process  and  Technology   Outcomes As a result of the assignment a comprehensive plan was initiated to address a broad range of objectives including Process Ownership, Governance, Process Design & Technology Enablers.
  6. 6. Chazey Partners Case Study Series | 6 Conclusion The Purchase-to-Pay process offers great opportunities for efficiencies by taking a holistic approach to Procurement. Some of the key challenges to enterprises wanting to drive improvements through this area include clarifying ownership, definitions, and targets. Targeting short-term wins through streamlined ownership and standards, and longer-term improvements by leveraging knowledge and sourcing options, allows a company to shift to a new operating model that will drive sustainable improvements into the future. Yes No Have you got visibility not just to the P2P processes in your control, but to the entire end-to-end P2P process? Do you have a Process Control Database where all of your processes are documented and up to date? What Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) do you have? Are they “green”? If so, do your customers agree? Do you have visibility into the detailed performance of your outsourced provider, if applicable? Next Step: Take a moment to assess how robust is your P2P process? If you would like to evaluate your readiness for P2P transformation, please feel free to contact one of Chazey’s practitioners at
  7. 7. Chazey Partners Case Study Series | 7 For more case studies Please visit our website at, or subscribe to our newsletter at Phil Searle CEO & Founder Chazey Partners +1 408 402 3008 David O’Sullivan Co-Founder & Partner Chazey Partners +353 (0)86 384 8573 Esteban Carril Managing Director, Latin America Chazey Partners +54(911) 3085 5140 Chas Moore Managing Director, North America (West) Chazey Partners +1 855 692 6229 Ext 201 Anirvan Sen Managing Director, Asia, Middle East and Africa Chazey Partners +31 649133170 / +65 85143766 Janey Jux Head of Public Sector Practice EMEA Chazey Partners + 44 (0)800 6440649 Christina Exarchou Head of HR Practice EMEA Chazey Partners +30 6944 525622 Emer O’Kelly Regional Director Europe Chazey Partners +44 (0) 7703 647 360 Robert Towle Managing Director, North America (East) Chazey Partners +1 862 812 7851 Learn more about us at Follow us on: About Chazey Partners Chazey Partners is a professional management advisory business that is committed to adding significant value to our clients through a partnership approach. We bring together a unique wealth of expertise and real life experience in Business Transformation, Shared Services & Outsourcing, and Technology Enablement. We pride ourselves in having built, operated and turned around some of the world’s most highly commended and ground-breaking Shared Services Organizations, and for implementing many highly successful multi-sourced (shared services and outsourced) delivery solutions. Over the last 20 years, we have delivered numerous programmes globally, in the US, Canada, UK, Continental Europe, Ireland, India, Eastern Europe, South America, Singapore, Australia, China, Middle-East and Africa. Our experience covers both Private and Public Sectors, providing expertise in a wide spectrum of business functions, including Finance, HR, IT, and Procurement. Meet Our Practitioners