Dura Vermeer digitizes invoice processing for better control of its P2P process

Executive overview

Profile

Sector
Construction

No. of employees
2.750 +

Number of invoices processed
120 000 (Construction and Property division)

Customer since
2011

Operates in
The Netherlands

Objectives

  • One uniform process for digital invoicing.
  • Connection with independent message standard [email protected] in de Bouw for digital data traffic with suppliers.
  • A more efficient process for invoice processing and better cooperation with chain partners.

What the solution provided

  • Digital workflow for the processing of purchase invoices.
  • Automatic matching of the digital invoices with timesheets.
  • Pilot for automating the hiring of temporary staff, using reversed billing.

Benefits

  • A uniform and high-quality process.
  • A 50% reduction in the number of FTEs involved in invoice processing.
  • 30% of incoming invoices fully digital.
  • Insight into the procurement flows in the construction projects that the Construction and Property division is involved in.
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Profile

Dura Vermeer is active in construction, infrastructure, engineering and services. Projects are realized, developed and completed on behalf of third parties and at the company's own risk. The construction group offers leading, integrated and sustainable solutions for a wide range of building assignments.

Examples include for comfortable and pleasant living and housing, nice places to work, and solutions to get from A to B quickly and safely. For 165 years, these are the most important issues that occupy Dura Vermeer every day and challenge the company to innovate, accelerate and improve.

Objectives

Within Dura Vermeer, the Construction and Property Development division is active in residential, non-residential and industrial construction.

In 2011, the division still had a paper-based invoice processing system with the associated issues. "If you wanted an invoice to be approved, you had to go through the office building with the invoice in your hand to have it physically signed," says Mark ter Hark, Divisional Director Dura Vermeer Construction and Real Estate. "With ten decentralized operating companies that all had their own Accounts Payable departments, that was a lot of work."

This was at a time when digital invoice processing took off. "There were two important requirements for us. One was to raise invoice processing from a decentralized to a centralized model. The second was to make the process more efficient by automating it.” The Construction and Real Estate division of Dura Vermeer wanted to do this by moving from ten decentralized units to one Shared Service Center and one uniform process. "In short, we wanted to make a step change in efficiency," says Ter Hark.

What the solution provided

Ter Hark came into contact with Proactis for digital invoice processing and was impressed.

"Where other providers focus on digital invoice processing only, Proactis was already much further ahead. In digital ordering, in matching the order to the invoice and in analysis of the procurement flows. In other words, the entire process preceding receipt of the invoice. After the automation of invoice processing, we could then take more steps in procurement professionalization. That broader proposition was a clear advantage." In addition, Proactis had a vision of connecting to the then completely new [email protected] in de bouw, the independent message standard for electronic information exchange with contractors, wholesalers, manufacturers and service providers in the sector. "The standard makes digital communication possible. Parties in the construction industry can therefore exchange orders electronically, declare goods as delivered and share price files.

"So we first mapped out how the process had to run. Proactis consultants helped us with that. Then we drew up a roadmap, which contained the steps for the roll-out of the process and the automation." Where previously eighteen employees were working on invoice processing decentrally, there were now only nine, centrally. "That was also our business case. The transition from paper to digital took some getting used to at the time, Ter Hark notes. "Project leaders were still sitting at home approving paper invoices, so to speak. At the time there was still a strong feeling for paper invoicing. Now employees are much more used to working digitally."    

Benefits

Invoices arrive in the Proactis system as digital files or are read via scanning software. Ter Hark adds: "[email protected] in de Bouw was completely new and not yet fully developed. It was technically complex to connect to and that took a lot of time. But it has borne fruit. 30 per cent of the invoices, especially from larger subcontractors, now come in via this process. That is pure profit. We now read the purchase orders in Proactis via timesheets and match the invoices accordingly." Digital invoice processing has clear advantages. "We are a project organization. We bring construction specialists together. For example, for a new house, 40 subcontractors work together, from tiling to back fitters. If we could automate part of this process, it would make a direct difference to costs. The Purchase-to-Pay process we have now is more efficient, we have better insight into the costs we incur for a project and we have control over the incoming invoice flows."

In cooperation with Proactis, the Construction and Real Estate division of Dura Vermeer wants to take the next step: Automating the hiring of flexible workers. "We have hundreds of temporary workers every day, who we invoice and pay on a weekly basis. This is a manual, time-consuming and error-prone process. Among other things, this is due to a lack of clarity regarding hourly declarations. To make this process more efficient, we also want to automate it in the system. So that we can sign off timesheets digitally. With proactis, the manager can send an invoice proposal to the supplier based on approved timesheets. That is called reversed billing. In this way, can ensure that invoices are sent error-free and are paid on time. We are currently conducting a promising pilot project for this. If it works well, we will roll out this solution on a broad scale."

Employees also reap the benefits of the reporting possibilities on a daily basis. "We can now also see where an invoice is in the process. If it is held up, you can intervene in the process." Ter Hark is happy with Proactis' solution. "To sum it up, we have the basics in order, and this is a huge help. In fact, we regularly receive other parties who want to see how we work with the Proactis platform. I am also a member of the independent advisory board that works with Proactis on the further development of their software, and this says enough."
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