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Case Study: Transportation / Logistics

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Exceeding top quality standards in both production and administration are key for achieving high customer satisfaction at DAF Trucks, a commercial vehicle manufacturer. At the heart of this is a central document pool.

Certification to various global ISO and ISO/TS quality standards and the use of methods such as Six Sigma and Kaizen have long been part of the business model at DAF Trucks and its American parent company, PACCAR. To keep reaching towards ever-higher quality standards, the company needed to make the most of state-of-the-art technologies. This was certainly one of the reasons for creating a digital archive of invoices for spare parts and accessories – and one easy to access, central document pool.

The starting point was their accounting department in Eindhoven, which was overwhelmed by paperwork. On average, 50,000 outgoing invoices were printed twice a month and forwarded to internal processing points and to around 1,000 worldwide trading partners and service offices. The situation was even more explosive when processing the 450,000 incoming A/P invoices the received per year in both paper and EDI format. Their audit chain involved three checkpoints: receipt of goods in the warehouse, checking that everything in the order was as expected, and that the invoice had the correct price. However, many years of experience showed that at least one of these checkpoints was not fulfilled in about 20 percent of cases – that means in about 90,000 cases per year! Employees then had to consult with the relevant specialist department and send copies of invoices by post to branches worldwide tracking down the information.

Transportation / Logistics
Controlling |Administration |Accounting
In-house ERP (IBM mainframe)

Today, around 600,000 outgoing invoices and 450,000 incoming invoices are processed annually via automated document workflows. The time savings is enormous and our support and service of our dealers and suppliers has been significantly improved.

Treun Kremers
IT Project Manager, DAF Trucks, Eindhoven (Netherlands)

The main goals for turning to digitization was to reduce these enormous mountains of paper and drastically shorten processing times, while at the same time enhancing their services for dealers and suppliers. The solution concept included a special Internet portal for the distribution of all outgoing invoices. Equipped with dedicated access rights, dealers were able to retrieve invoices from an electronic mailbox around the clock. The existing IBM mainframe system with an ERP solution developed in-house posed a particular challenge, which was addressed with adaptations that worked well with the flexible DocuWare system.

Many Millions of Documents

Today, a digital workflow is used for processing incoming invoices. All paper-based invoices are digitized via scanners, indexed by the DMS, filed and then checked in an approval process – often in several countries. Software tools allow the creation of a wide variety of reports, for example, on open tasks. A portal solution for distributing outgoing invoices has also been developed in-house. An integration interface developed by the DocuWare Partner controls the transfer of invoices from the ERP system to the portal and the digital archive. Today, about 1,000 DAF employees access DocuWare, both at the company headquarters and in international subsidiaries. By 2011, it was estimated that more than five million documents had already been securely stored in the central document pool.

Digital invoice portal reduces the workload for staff and dealers

Sending A/R invoices via the digital dealer portal is a significant relief for DAF Trucks and a welcome service improvement for dealers. Thanks to lightning-fast document access, employees can process queries and complaints quickly and without loads of bureaucracy. Added to this: savings in storage space, lower paper consumption and the elimination of time-consuming mail routes.

The benefits of end-to-end process digitization is even clearer in their extremely transparent and secure processing of incoming A/P invoices. If, for example, an order could not previously be clearly assigned, invoice verification proved to be extremely time-consuming, since copies were then first sent to different branches to clarify departmental responsibility. Today, DAF Trucks can electronically distribute unclear invoices to a large group of people in the shortest possible time and quickly determine who needs to check and approve the information in the invoice. An advantage that not only increases efficiency, but also ensures they can meet early payment discounts. The flexibility of the system is also greatly appreciated: if the company would like to switch to a different ERP such as SAP, for example, the DMS can be quickly adapted, thanks to its modularity and variety of existing interfaces. This also increases the investment security of the solution.

Reductions in our own operating and administrative costs have been accompanied by a noticeable improvement in service quality provided to our dealers and suppliers.”

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