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Case Study: Production

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Brother International Europe is responsible for the central support for Brother’s presence in 16 European countries. Japanese company Brother is a leading manufacturer of printers, scanners and multifunctional machines as well as labelling, sewing and embroidery machines. The European group has been using DocuWare Cloud since 2021 to standardise digital processes across many countries.

Since the 1950s, Brother has gradually expanded its presence in Europe. Until recently, this meant that each country defined some of its own accounting processes. The Printing & Solutions division had therefore been planning a Europe-wide standardisation for some time. The aim was to automate processes and to become more flexible when individual country organisations take on certain tasks. At the top of the wish list for Brother, was the approval process for incoming invoices, which was paper-based in almost all countries. The pandemic and home office regulations highlighted the disadvantages of this way of working and provided arguments for digitisation and the use of a pan-European document management system. Initially, Brother looked for best practice within the group: The German subsidiary was already successfully using DocuWare as a local system. Brother also analysed other solutions, but only a few could match DocuWare's functionality - and if they could, then only at a significantly higher price. That's why the decision was made in favour of the DocuWare solution in 2021. The processes already in use in Germany were to be improved, standardised and implemented in the cloud.

United Kingdom
Accounting |Purchasing |Bookkeeping

In addition to European-wide standardisation, we have achieved an even more important goal by using DocuWare: improving the quality of our work. Our employees can now devote themselves to more value-added tasks than filing and searching for documents. The understanding that change brought was also a positive thing, and the resulting greater acceptance of new projects, opens up great potential for optimisation for us as a group.

Stuart Maclean, Head of European Finance Shared Services
Brother International Europe, Manchester, UK

One click posting

Starting in the UK, DocuWare Cloud was gradually rolled out to 16 country organisations with over 500 users. SAP is also integrated via a certified interface. Digital processing begins when invoices are received in a dedicated electronic mailbox. DocuWare automatically imports and indexes the documents, and the accounting department can validate and add to the data if necessary. The multi-stage approval process is based on standardised rules and depends on various factors such as the invoice amount. Depending on the arrangement, DocuWare forwards the invoices to one or more approvers in the relevant departments, who are informed of the pending task by e-mail and then access the digital receipts via a browser or the DocuWare app. Once approved, a mouse-click in the accounting department transfers the previously read index information, including all approval and posting data, to SAP, where the invoices are posted. The documents are then not only available in DocuWare, but can also be retrieved from the corresponding SAP booking record. The solution has been so successful that other business units have already adopted it. At the same time, there are plans to extend the process to purchase order and contract management.

Completing tasks quickly

The response from employees to the new system has been excellent, and not just because of the ability to access documents and tasks from anywhere. Automated document entry and SAP integration have eliminated the need for manual entry of accounting data and filing of documents. The solution even reliably detects duplicates. For Brother, this means that many resources are freed up and can be used for tasks for which there was previously no time. At the same time, control and security for internal and external audits have improved: on the one hand, the automated processes have eliminated many sources of error. On the other hand, invoice approvals, even for smaller amounts, can be traced within seconds in the event of queries. 

In contrast to other solutions, DocuWare is quick to implement. With an average implementation time of only eight weeks per country organisation, we were able to quickly implement standardisation throughout Europe.

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