Schneider Electric Gets a Boost in Accounts Payable Processing through e-Invoicing

The inside story of how Schneider Electric USA reduced invoice processing errors, accelerated cycle times and achieved hundreds of thousands of dollars in savings


We understood there were two distinct components required for a successful e-invoicing initiative: the technical and the supplier enablement services. When evaluating options, it is critical to consider all of the capabilities and all the costs for each option being considered.

The answer for Schneider Electric was e-invoicing powered by OB10. In addition to meeting the core requirement of eliminating paper, we identified a number of benefits indicative of the OB10 solution, three that were primary. First, OB10 worked with any variety of existing accounting systems used by Schneider and our suppliers. Second, supplier enrollment would be managed by OB10 and could be implemented globally. Third, OB10 e-Invoicing is tax compliant in the E.U., enabling other Schneider Electric operations to utilize OB10.

Meaningful Results within First Six Months

Within the first six months, suppliers representing 38 percent of the targeted invoice volume had been converted from paper to OB10 e-Invoicing, with another 16 percent in process. By that time, we had already realized $200,000 in annual operational savings and could project $500,000 in annual operational savings when OB10 was fully deployed.

With OB10 e-Invoicing, Schneider Electric has experienced fewer errors, faster cycle time and a higher percentage of invoices processed straight through without requiring any manual intervention. OB10's pre-delivery validation also transfers the burden of resolving errors from Accounts Payable to the supplier responsible for the error.

OB10 routes each invoice to the correct Schneider Electric Accounts Payable processing center and transfers the e-invoice in a format that enables "no-touch," automated input to each accounting system. In addition to the core OB10 e-Invoicing service, Schneider Electric uploads purchase order data to the OB10 Network. This enables suppliers to utilize the OB10 PO Flip service (e.g., automatically creating an invoice using Schneider's purchase order data) and lets the OB10 Network validate that the supplier's invoices match the underlying Schneider Electric purchase order.

What's Next

In addition to focusing on enrolling more of our smaller suppliers, we will be rolling out the OB10 service globally in 2010, allowing us to use any of OB10's services for any of our divisions or entities anywhere OB10 operates. Additionally, we are embedding the OB10 e-Invoice service within our supplier sourcing process, operationalizing e-invoicing to prevent any regression to paper invoices. ¦

About the Author: Pam Carper is manager of disbursements within the Finance & Control Legal Affairs division at Schneider Electric USA Inc. She can be reached at pam.carper@us.schneider-electric.com.

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