Food Processing Company Implements Esker Automation Solutions

Farmland Foods utilizes Esker’s platform to automate purchase order, non-purchase order and invoice processes


Madison, Wis.—March 14, 2012—Document process automation solutions provider Esker, has been selected by international pork processing company Farmland Foods Inc. to automate processing of purchase order, non-purchase order and freight invoices into the company’s existing SAP system.

With approximately 7,500 to 8,000 invoices processed per week—and expanding operations—Farmland recognized the importance of minimizing costs, staff requirements and labor-intensive duties associated with the company’s growth. In addition to keeping pace with growing volume without adding headcount, a top priority was to increase the speed, accuracy and visibility of their accounts payable (AP) operations by eliminating outdated manual methods—which included invoice processing generated via paper.

“Paper was everywhere,” said Loretta Kirker, Director of Corporate Accounting at Farmland Foods Inc. “If a plant needed an invoice, they would call the corporate office. Someone would then have to walk to a file cabinet, track down the paper file, scan it and send it.”

In addition, emailed invoices were not linked to Famland’s SAP infrastructure, burdening staff members with non-value tasks such as printing the invoice and re-keying it into SAP.

“There really wasn’t any visibility for the resolution of problems—we needed a more efficient, streamlined way of doing things,” Kirker added.

Following a live demo of the Esker platform at an SAP user conference, John Steffensmeier, Business Analyst at Farmland, also came to realize that Smithfield Packing Company, Famland’s sister company, was already utilizing the Esker solution with successful results.

“We looked into other vendors,” said Steffensmeier. “Esker simply had the total package in terms of invoice processing, workflow and archiving. Other vendors couldn’t offer the same value or integration with SAP.”

Following implementation, all of Farmland’s invoices will be imaged into a workflow for electronic approval, as well as automatically storing invoice data into the Esker archiving system, where images can be instantly accessed from the SAP interface.

“With Esker, we’re able to accelerate transaction time and—if we need further approval—invoices can be routed and approved on the spot. The ability of everyone to see a bill at the touch of a button is invaluable,” said Steffensmeier.

Farmland also has subsequent plans for creating a similar paperless environment for accounts receivable (AR) processes.

“Right now, getting customer deductions approved requires printing documents and routing them for signature,” said Kirker. “The next logical step is addressing AR. We are excited to have a platform in place where we can easily leverage OCR capabilities and other workflow tools for a multitude of business process improvements,” she concluded.

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