Business Process Services Case Study
Based in New York City, Canon are a leading provider of managed services and technology that enable organizations to improve operational efficiency while reducing risk and cost. They consistently deliver value to clients in the areas of business process outsourcing, accounts payable services, document imaging, records and information management, print, mail, office services, eDiscovery and litigation support.
In 2014, Canon were named an IAOP Global Outsourcing Leader, for the eighth consecutive year, one of FORTUNE magazine’s World’s Most Admired Companies in 2014 and provides managed services to 48 of the 2013 Fortune 500® companies as well as serving industries such as financial services, insurance, legal, manufacturing, technology, healthcare and pharmaceuticals, education and government.
As one of the world’s leading global outsourcing providers, Canon need to continually optimise processes, improve compliance and deliver innovation and value to their clients. One significant pain point experienced by most organisations was in the specifying, sourcing, bidding, ordering and billing of marketing print.
For Canon and their enterprise clients, this process was largely manual with a small number of print buyers, overwhelmed with demand from across the respective organisation. Requests were made by email, phone or in person. Accurately specifying requirements was time consuming and frequently revised making control impossible and errors commonplace.
Static spreadsheets were used as a database of suppliers and their capabilities. This was time-consuming to keep up to date and could not be used for ongoing performance tracking, so the buyers had to rely on their experience and ‘gut-feel’ when selecting suppliers. Emails were sent to shortlisted vendors inviting them to bid. Effective evaluation of supplier responses was challenging as each supplier responded with customised quotations, offering different options and recommendations. Some suppliers would phone in their bid, adding further administration burden, risk for dispute and mis-interpretation.
Placing an order with a supplier meant keying information into the organisation’s ERP to raise a purchase order, which was sent directly to the supplier. Often work instructions were sent separately from the PO, with potential for error and increased administration burden on suppliers. Change orders were hard to track and frequently relied on the knowledge of the buyers and goodwill of suppliers.
The monthly process of matching, reconciling and approving supplier invoices often took up 25% of the available time and relied on buyer knowledge of every transaction and analysis of hundreds of spreadsheets and emails. Frequently, accounts payable, buyers and suppliers struggled to match orders, deliveries and invoices resulting in costly administration and delays.
Checking historical data to assess previous prices paid, supplier performance or identify trends was virtually impossible and required manually checking through multiple spreadsheets, wading through email trails and relying on hastily hand-written notes and peoples memories. There was little confidence in the data and preparing reliable information to report to management took days or additional work.
Canon knew there was a better way. They deployed Claritum’s cloud spend management platform to key enterprise accounts and trained up their expert buying team. The team found the platform quicker, easier and more accurate than the old processes. The expert buyers were released from manual administration to deliver more value to client organisations and their own management.
The Claritum platform uses ‘specification templates’ to ensure projects can be quickly and accurately defined. Multiple versions are managed and tracked. Suppliers are managed centrally, segmented and profiled based on their capabilities, performance and geography. Claritum makes it easy for buyers to run sourcing events and invite suitably qualified suppliers to bid. The platform helps buyers evaluate price, quality, delivery and other criteria to ensure the right supplier is selected for the order. Searching for previous orders, copying and re-using projects is fast and simple. Raising, approving and issuing purchase orders is streamlined and the platform accurately tracks deliveries against orders – to improve order to delivery performance.
Reporting now takes minutes, rather than days. So the buyers can confidently supply management with accurate and timely information, share performance KPIs with clients and suppliers to improve performance across the entire supply chain. As every action of Claritum can be tracked for audit purposes, management have fully visibility of expenditure, CSR performance and savings.
Likewise, where invoicing was a hugely time consuming manual process, Claritum automates supplier invoice matching, reconciliation and approvals as well as ensuring accurate cost allocation for re-charges to internal and external customers.
Granular Visibility and Control
Canon now provide a best in class sourcing service to many of the world’s leading enterprises. Their experts are released from administration to focus on delivering value and innovation to clients and to manage more spend with fewer resources. Claritum has enabled them to deliver a more profitable and valuable service line to clients in the US, Europe and Asia Pacific.
With Claritum, I can get my job done quicker and more accurately. I spend more time with clients and suppliers, so I can deliver more value to our clients.