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Case Study: Retail / Wholesale

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The Walker Group, based in Valais, Switzerland, has made a name for itself as a traditional cheese producer and retail operation. In their central administration, a document management system now ensures reliability and transparency for invoice approvals.

At Walker Group, a cheese producer and retailer headquartered in Valais, Switzerland, invoice approvals used to be a time-consuming process. Today, all departments of this family-owned company benefit from a DMS that ensures efficient administrative workflows.

For the invoice approval process, we wanted more reliability and traceability. With a traditional paper-based approach, this was only possible with considerable effort," says Roland Steiner, CFO at the food retailer and traditional cheese producer. The family-owned company with headquarters in Bitsch and offices in Zermatt and Martinach supplies hotels and restaurants as well as canteen kitchens in hospitals and the retail trade with around 9,000 different products. Well-functioning logistics ensure reliable delivery - even to remote mountain restaurants. Checking incoming invoices from around 150 suppliers and over 200 service providers used to be a paper-heavy process with many manual approvals. Errors could therefore not always be avoided.

With the switch to a new Sage 200 accounting system, they made the decision to introduce a document management system. "We wanted to use the latest technology for both archiving documents and steering the approval process," says CFO Steiner. An initial argument in favor of DocuWare was the interface to Sage 200, but Roland Steiner explains that it was the presentation by their local DocuWare Partner that convinced him: "We saw that the system could be tailored to exactly meet the needs of our company."

Retail / Wholesale
Management |Marketing |Sales |Accounting |Purchasing |Maintenance |Production |Logistics

With the DMS, we were able to digitalize our accounts payable to the greatest possible extent without fundamentally changing our usual workflows. Since the system is intuitive to use, employees were able to work with it immediately.

Roland Steiner
Roland Steiner, CFO, Walker Group, Bitsch (Switzerland)

The introduction of the DMS in May 2020 went quickly and smoothly. In the very first week, all departments in Bitsch and office in Martinach were integrated into their workflow for invoice approval. Thanks to the intuitive use of the system, employees immediately got into the groove of the new flow of their multi-stage approval process. 

Today, all incoming invoices are archived in a central document pool. Suppliers already send about half of them by email, and these are archived in DocuWare using drag & drop. Paper invoices are scanned, keyworded in the accounting program, assigned to a clerk or department and then archived. This automatically launches the workflow. 

An invoice appears in the task list of the responsible clerk for review. In the purchasing department, for example, this person checks invoices from large suppliers to ensure that quantities, prices and agreed conditions are correct. The invoice is then automatically forwarded - depending on the defined release limit - to the department head and the managing director, who checks and releases it. Then it automatically appears in the accounting software as “released“ and can be included in the subsequent payment run.

Transparency is guaranteed 

Their workflow has made invoice approvals much faster and more transparent. "I can now immediately see who has or has not approved an invoice and when," says the CFO. He also appreciates that, thanks to the system‘s convenient full-text search, any authorized employee can access receipts very quickly. For example, to find a supplier for a particular product in response to a customer‘s inquiry or to get an overview of monthly electricity consumption for the quality assurance department. "We can find receipts in seconds, without anyone having to run to the archive and hunt for documents in folders," says Roland Steiner with satisfaction. Overall, employees save an estimated ten working hours per week on filing, invoice approvals and searches, which they can now use for other tasks. "The investment in DocuWare has already paid off," says the CFO.

Employees now save approximately ten hours per week 

A contract management system is about to be implemented. From dairy farmer's supply contracts to maintenance contracts for their trucks: hundreds of contracts will be scanned and archived. With DocuWare, they can be efficiently processed, versioned and managed in a future-proof way.

Thanks to the workflow, we are able to process and approve invoices digitally - in a customized and step-by-step manner. We can now precisely track individual approval steps. This reliability is a huge advantage.

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