Automating Invoice Processing

IRIS Partner: Canon France

Business process optimization in the transport and logistics sector

Océans Transports Maritimes is a freight forwarding company specializing in maritime container transport. The company has 20 employees, is based in France and transports over 10,000 containers a year, amounting to over 200,000 tons of goods. Their customer base exists out of ca. 300 customers, generating a total turnover of 15 million euros.

The problem the company was facing is that container transport can involve a large number of middle-men. On average about 10 companies deal with a container before it reaches its destination. Océans Transports Maritimes needs to co-ordinate all these intermediaries on behalf of their clients. So for each container movement, they might receive up to 10 invoices. These invoices must be linked to the orders placed with each supplier and with the customer orders. Processing these 40,000 invoices a year mobilized up to 6 employees full-time.

In an increasingly competitive market, they felt the need to automate these low value-added tasks. That way their personnel would be freed up to deal with important management tasks for their customers.

How does the automation of invoice processing work?

Automating invoice processing starts with the scanning of all incoming invoices. These invoices are separated from each other by a white sheet and then the complete batches of invoices are scanned. The UniFLOW software then automatically generates 1 file per invoice. The invoice files are then analyzed by the IRISXtract™ invoice capture automation solution, which extracts the data and sends it to e-Fret, a business software they developed in-house. e-Fret then reconciles all the items, checks the supplier invoices, triggers payments, and generates the customer invoicing.

An outstanding Recognition Quality and a Personalized Solution

Océans Transports Maritimes chose for the Canon invoice capture automation solution for its outstanding recognition quality, which could be adapted to OTM’s specifications. Additionally, Canon and IRIS allowed them to personalize the solution to their needs. They are now able to update the solution completely independently.

Now that the automating of the invoice processing is fully optimized, Océans Transports Maritimes is looking to what comes next: automating the processing of annotated delivery slips and customer declarations. This still with the same aim in mind: improving their responsiveness and agility, for an even better and faster response to their customers’ expectations.

We have automated almost all the processing of our invoices, which freed six people from this task. They are now more responsive and more available to take care of our customers. We have also completely digitized and eliminated all the copies of these documents for intermediaries, keeping only the original hard copy, which we are still under an obligation to keep for legal reasons. We are starting to think about what comes next: automating the processing of annotated delivery slips and customs declarations, still with the same aim in mind: improving our responsiveness and agility, for an even better and faster response to our customers’ expectations.
Etienne Dejour, IT Manager, Océans Transports Maritimes

Solution with:

  • Logo IRISXtract
  • e-Fret
  • Logo uniFLOW

Key facts

  • 40,000 invoices a year
  • Up to 10 intermediaries per container transported
  • The automation allows 6 employees to concentrate on a better customer service