A Friction Free Financial Supply Chain

By Clinton Jones on February 24, 2015

Supply chain management is the management of the flow of goods. Chart with keywords and iconsEven if you don’t work directly in a finance role, you will understand the complexities and challenges associated with finance operations when you consider your own personal challenges with bills, invoices, payments etc.

Have you ever paid a bill twice? Ever forgotten to pay a bill? Most of us have, and in the corporate world if these mistakes occur, they can cause a magnitude affect that can seriously impact operations and cash flow.

Transactional friction is bad

In physics, the concept of friction is understood as something that occurs during the movement of two or more items where there is resistance – something that impedes maximum velocity.

The same holds true in business, and in this case, the flow of business events and their finalization. Any friction created between a business and its partners will constrain that business from functioning at its full potential. Oftentimes this means that transactions are processed slowly and inefficiently, perhaps even with inaccuracies.
An inability to easily cope with the paper flow in a methodical and structured way is likely one of the main reasons that friction arises. Even with the most sophisticated ERP systems in place, many processes still rely on paper, email and the explicit and some times unpredictable decisions of individuals.

Relying on manual processes and not having standardized ways of processing business events creates friction in the end-to-end process. Paper documents and requests get buried under other documents, lost, misplaced or accidentally destroyed, all accumulating friction.

Organizations that are aware of the real costs associated with these inefficient processes probably somewhat fear the mistakes that can accrue, and this can result in an excessive amount of checking and rechecking as well as accidental reprocessing to avoid those unwanted costs. This unnecessary work adds little value and only increases transactional costs.

Improved controls

Companies that are interested in improving the efficiency of their financial supply chain usually do this to reduce costs and give the finance department improved controls by automating existing document-based processes.

Some areas of focus include:

  • Procurement
  • Accounts Payable
  • Invoicing
  • Sales Order Processing
  • Remittance Processing
  • Receivables Reconciliation

Another area where improved controls and automation are helpful is in the master data and master records associated with the financial supply chain, such as:

  • Customer Creation and Maintenance
  • Vendor Creation and Maintenance
  • Pricing Conditions

Thousands of Winshuttle users utilize Winshuttle products every day together with Microsoft Excel, SharePoint and SAP to automate data creation and maintenance activities associated with the areas of the financial supply chain.

By automating the process, they are eliminating time consuming and expensive manual data processing and transcription activities with an inherently low value.

By implementing Winshuttle technology and leveraging the tight integration offered for SAP in particular, finance departments are able to easily streamline end to end processes, which can lead to optimized cash management.

Faster processing

Automation, even without workflow, enables finance departments to process receivables faster, improve payable visibility and key into the opportunities provided by being able to make early payments, take discounts and avoid late payment penalties.

By incorporating electronic workflows throughout the organization, finance departments can improve control over processes and shorten event cycles by eliminating most paper and email exchanges with internal and external business partners.

Leveraging Winshuttle for Finance Process Automation adds value to business processes by improving data quality and reducing expensive rework. In addition, the ability to add multiple participants to an end to end process assists in meeting compliance and segregation of duty requirements, which can accelerate the audit process and reduce overall costs.

Benefits to your finance supply chain can cover a broad number of areas, but some that existing Winshuttle customers have clearly described include:

  • Improve cash management
  • Lower transactional costs
  • Improved control over end-to-end processes
  • Elimination of inefficient email and paper exchanges

Learn more about how you can benefit from implementing Winshuttle together with your SAP system today!

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About the author

Clinton Jones is a Director for Finance Solutions Management at Winshuttle where he has worked since 2009. He is internationally experienced having worked on finance technologies and business process with a particular focus on integrated business solutions in Europe, the Middle East, Africa and North America. Clinton serves as a technical consultant on technology and quality management as it relates to data and process management and governance for finance organizations globally. Prior to Winshuttle he served as a Technical Quality Manager at SAP and with Microsoft in their Global Foundation Services group.

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