EH Smith’s Suppliers Reap The Benefits of eInvoicing
EH Smith is one of the largest independent builders’ merchants, specialising in timber products, insulation, civil engineering solutions and much more. Exceptional service is at the heart of EH Smith’s philosophy, and it prides itself on its excellent relationship with both new and longstanding trade and DIY customers.
The EH Smith challenge
EH Smith’s previous receipt of supplier invoicing system was strictly manual, with staff members scanning and keying-in up to 45 invoices per hour. A heavily time consuming and labour-intensive task, EH Smith’s senior management decided that an alternative solution would quicken the process and improve relationships with valuable suppliers.
The company’s approach was to look for a turnkey solution that meant efficient implementation, helping to minimise internal time and cost. EH Smith approached a number of software vendors, deciding to select Open ECX’s eInvoicing solution. The decision was based on the competitive commercials, the ease of on-boarding suppliers, plus the already proven ability to easily integrate eInvoicing with their existing ERP solution, K8 from Kerridge Commercial Systems (KCS).
The Open ECX solution
Accessible anytime, anywhere, Open ECX’s eInvoicing system is a tried-and-tested solution which allowed EH Smith to streamline invoice processing, reduce costs and manual work, and go paper-free.
EH Smith’s suppliers are asked to simply email a PDF invoice, from which information such as date, invoice number, order number, quantity and value is extracted, no matter the layout of the invoice. Validation rules required by EH Smith and any agreed data conversions are applied, before the invoice data is transmitted real-time into their K8 back-office system. No scanning and no keying of information means both accuracy and speed has been greatly improved.
What further reduces EH Smith’s time spent processing invoices is the automatic matching of received invoices with their purchase orders. Exceptions are flagged and problem invoices returned directly to suppliers, reducing time spent querying invoices.
EH Smith was improving its existing processes and back office systems in conjunction with Open ECX’s implementation. Processes such as data mapping were easy to perform and Open ECX’s teams were always on hand from the project’s inception to final handover to EH Smith’s staff. The tricky supplier on-boarding process was made all the easier with Open ECX’s trusted experts.
EH Smith has been using eInvoicing since August 2018, and has been on-boarding suppliers at an average of 25 per month. The company is at the 40% mark of document counts, processing around 3,500 monthly at more efficient rates. As EH Smith and Open ECX continue to work together, the builders’ merchant hit this rate increase to 80% in 2020.
Both EH Smith and its suppliers are reaping the benefits of eInvoicing. Suppliers are finding the solution offers faster query resolution and quicker payment methods for EH Smith to process payments on time.
The move from manual to digital has made a significant difference to business operation, labour and success rates, and EH Smith’s relationships with its suppliers.
The recognisable benefits include reduction in manual workload, clearer view of auto-matching functions, and less manual intervention to processing and documentation. Ultimately, this is what EH Smith wanted to achieve: to utilise automated processes for speed and query resolution.