FlexiCapture Review: Fast Food & Faster Accounts Payable Processing
YUM! China, the local subsidiary of American fast food giant YUM! Brands, operates over 7,000 restaurants in more than 1,100 Chinese cities. Just like any company of that size, YUM! China deals with an enormous daily flow of documents, particularly for VAT and shipping invoices.
Since China got its first KFC in 1987, YUM!'s invoice processing workflow had hardly evolved. Despite major improvements to its ERP software in the intervening years, the enterprise still had to process many thousands of invoices by hand every single day.
Each of these was manually matched to contract and payment info. Mistakes were frequent, and even when accurate, the matching process was painfully slow. Making coordination even more difficult was the fact that invoice processing occurred in many different offices around the country.
Nearing a breaking point, YUM! China management implemented a two-pronged strategy for overhauling Accounts Payable processing:
- Transition to a financial shared service center model (an increasingly common move in China, as we've previously shared) in order to simplify back-office operations
- Pursue a next-generation invoice processing solution to automate its AP workflows
YUM! tested the usual range of OCR software, ultimately picking FlexiCapture on the basis of superior performance, cost-effectiveness, and integration with its proprietary ERP. Time to deployment was just one year, including ERP integration and even a POC!
As before, invoices still originate in several branch offices, but that's where the similarities end. Today, the Accounts Payable OCR workflow begins as documents are scanned into a single repository, from which FlexiCapture:
- Identifies the type of invoice
- Classifies the document to apply the correct OCR template
- Extracts data from the invoices and exports it to the ERP
- Matches the PO number to existing contracts automatically
The overall flow of information has been streamlined roughly as pictured below. Since shortly after deployment, the FlexiCapture AP automation platform has handled upwards of 20,000 invoices every single day.
With OCR technology, YUM! China now processes four times the previous throughput yet requires just one ninth of the labor. Critically, data quality has never been better, with nearly 70% of invoices requiring no human verification, let alone correction, at all.