A/P Becomes Strategic

The Accounts Payable function at Greif, Inc., is leveraging new technology to become a value-adding partner to the business


With Grief running live on the system since October, for those suppliers on the network, the 10- to 15-day lag between when suppliers generate an invoice until it enters Greif's financial system has been eliminated, while invoice accuracy has increased — a win for suppliers, since they frequently can get paid faster, making Greif an easier and better customer with which to do business.

In addition, the company already has seen a significant reduction in the amount of time staff spends dealing with invoices. In part, this is because of the sheer reduction in the number of paper invoices that A/P must process, but it also stems from the reduction in queries from suppliers about their invoices, since suppliers can use the OB10 system to verify receipt of invoices. As a result, Myers has been able to shift resources previously dedicated to invoice processing to other tasks, including working on preparing key performance indicators (KPIs) for the department as a prelude to finding new ways to improve Payables' efficiency and, especially, its utility to the business.

"That's the whole plan," Myers says. "It wasn't about reducing headcount. The whole idea was to free up resources so we can add other units seamlessly into our current structure without adding headcount, as well as to become more of a service-oriented function, where we can actually work with Supply Chain even closer to identify trends or make sure that we are paying the correct prices. We want to become a more strategic partner instead of just processing invoices."

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