Case Study

Building superior experiences rooted in digital

How intelligent automation in finance is unlocking value for a global food services company

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Who we worked with

A global food services leader

How we helped

We deployed a cohesive and scalable set of intelligent automation-powered systems of engagement across the company's accounts receivable, accounts payable, and record-to- report functions. The systems of engagement were layered over the company's existing financial management core technology, guided by our process design capabilities, with a sharp focus on end users' needs.

What the company needed

  • A modern and connected financial management platform that helps centralize and standardize finance workflows and processes
  • Operational excellence and agility and greater collaboration between finance, commercial, and sales teams
  • Enhanced customer, supplier, and user experiences

What the company got

  • Greater transaction visibility and stronger customer and supplier relationships in addition to better employee experience
  • More than 50% productivity improvement
  • Bottom-line impact of about $20 million in the first 18 months of the engagement

The food services company's unwavering focus on creating value for its customers, employees, partners, and community has long been key to its ongoing success. But to stay competitive in a complex supply chain, the leading food distributor knew that it had to make fundamental shifts to streamline finance operations and provide an exceptional experience.

Due to its rapid growth and acquisitions, the firm had an array of finance systems and processes that were fragmented and inconsistent across the organization. They were holding the company back, and it needed a solution.

Challenge

Breaking down silos and untangling technologies

Through its acquisitions and growth, the organization accumulated more than 100 operating units. Each one ran as an individual entity with its own finance and sales functions, technologies, processes, and ERPs. And with manual, time-intensive processes, it had led to complex reporting, inconsistent data flows, and challenging user experiences.

A technology-centric approach alone was not going to be good enough to help the company realize the benefits of its transformation program considering the complexity of its ERP landscape and the prevalence of exception-based processing. Although the firm had an established shared services organization with a strong baseline of best practices, it had struggled in recent years to fully centralize its many complex legacy systems and processes. So the organization partnered with Genpact to lead its F&A transformation.

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Solution

Intelligent automation and process design: a recipe for success

Having tried to move to a single instance of an ERP in the past, the company knew that it needed a different approach using a scalable system of engagement to centralize and connect its existing financial management systems. This would also pave way for the company to seamlessly transition to a new core finance application.

The first step was to bring together our industry experience and process-design capabilities with the food services company's knowledge of its business to map out a solution focused on end users' needs. We then co-created a finance-automation framework and governance structure to find the right combination of technology solutions that would improve process efficiency, enhance productivity, and make it easy for finance, sales, commercial, and customer teams to exchange information and insights.

We provided a common technology layer across accounts payable (AP), accounts receivable (AR), and record to report (R2R) for three key groups of stakeholders. These intelligent-automation solutions are built on Genpact Cora, our artificial-intelligence-based digital transformation platform.

Enabling the company's customers

We deployed Cora ARFlow within the firm's commercial operations and AR function. This order-to-cash automation solution improves how sales, collections, and receivables management teams work together and reduces past-due receivables and bad-debt reserves. The company's sales teams also gained an easy-to-use portal to onboard customers, assess credit risk, and get approvals, enabling customers to start working with them faster.

Through its central customer portal enabling e-invoicing, customers now have greater visibility of their invoices with self-service options for making payments and claiming deductions on time.

Thanks to Genpact Cora's flexibility, when COVID-19 struck, the finance team could quickly adapt its processes to be easier to work with for customers. For example, it accelerated customer onboarding and order processing and swiftly enabled new credit-card payments on its customer order management portal. It also quickly rolled out deferred-payment plans for customers with past-due invoices.

Powering its finance team

Sales and AR weren't the only teams to benefit from Genpact Cora. By adopting Cora ARFlow's analytics capabilities, the collections team could predict which customers were likely to default and revise its strategy and tactics to gain greater control and minimize revenue losses.

The R2R team implemented Cora FinancialControllership, a solution that automates general accounting, reconciliations, and the financial close process. The business gained more accurate financial reports and closed its books faster.

And thanks to Cora Process Lifecycle Manager and its automated case and workflow management capabilities, the finance function now has better operational control.

Turning to accounts payable, Cora APFlow enabled touchless invoice processing, refocusing the AP team away from manual activities and toward adding greater value by only managing invoices that needed attention.

Helping the company's suppliers

We improved the experience for the firm's vendors too. Cora APFlow, our AP automation solution, introduced touchless invoice processing and increased e-invoicing adoption. The self-service supplier portal gave suppliers easy access to the status of their invoices, increased transparency, and enhanced relations, improving collaboration opportunities across the supply chain.

With this approach, the food services company's finance team could improve productivity and the experience for the aforementioned stakeholder groups.

Impact

A future-ready, customer-centric finance function

The business' investment in transforming its finance function is paying off. With centralized finance processes and intelligent-automation technologies, its customers, employees, and suppliers have improved experiences. And the business is realizing the benefits of operational excellence and agility and can focus on and invest in delivering innovation faster.

Genpact Cora is making it easier for more than 450,000 customers and 50,000 suppliers to do business with the company as it onboards more entities to the portals. We currently manage more than 12 million customer and supplier transactions a year for the food services company through the platform.

The transformation program has also:

  • Standardized more than 80% of the organization's F&A processes
  • Enabled greater transaction visibility and stronger relationships that enrich the experience for its customers, suppliers, and finance professionals
  • Delivered more than 50% productivity improvement
  • Generated bottom-line impact of about $20 million in the first 18 months of the engagement
  • Reduced the time it takes to onboard a new customer from three days to a few hours, helping the business respond to COVID-19 challenges faced by its customers

Looking ahead

With the advantage of a streamlined finance function, the company is exploring ways to enhance enterprise performance analytics and adopt dashboard visualization to monitor, measure, and improve performance. Importantly, the technologies and processes the company now has in place allow it to adapt and build resilience against uncertainty by conserving cash, eliminating further waste, and improving its operating costs while serving up great experiences.

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