Albemarle Implements Esker on Demand

Chemicals manufacturer & developer gains global automated AP capability

Madison, Wis.July 16, 2012—Global specialty chemicals developer and manufacturer Albemarle Corp. now utilizes Esker to automate its invoicing process with a unified platform via the Esker on Demand automation solution for Accounts Payable (AP) processes.

Albemarle’s global invoice processing efforts largely take place at two shared service centers in Dalian and Budapest. Supported by an aging, four-line fax server and manually processing about 12,000 invoices per month in multiple languages (i.e., Chinese, Dutch, English, French, Hungarian, German, Japanese and Korean), Albemarle continuously faced visibility, productivity and other performance issues with its previous method of workflow.

“We were expending a lot of time and resources manually processing our invoices,” said Eric Stratmann, Director of Global MRO Purchasing, Albemarle Corp. “It was very limiting. Staff had to manually type in the invoice number, due date and amount—and getting visibility on invoices without a PO was nearly impossible. Our goal has always been to pay our suppliers in a timely fashion. But it was very challenging.”

Due to an antiquated fax system, state-of-the-art functional capability was also a challenge for Albemarle and was a key requirement for any new solution in the future. Albemarle’s current fax server wasn’t equipped to be used on a worldwide scale, provide OCR, or create invoices in SAP.

Albemarle initially considered a “quick fix” approach, consisting of replacing the existing fax system but retaining the current process, as well as an outsourced solution where faxes would be delivered to an independent location. Albemarle considered four-to-five different suppliers but selected the Esker on Demand solution because it delivered the functionality they required at competitive pricing. “We considered in-house development but our expertise to provide a quick solution was limited,” said Stratmann.  

Following the implementation of the Esker on Demand solution later this year, Albemarle expects to achieve the following objectives:

  • Achieve a touchless processing rate of 50 percent for incoming invoices
  • Greatly increase the productivity of AP processors
  • Process two-to-three times more invoices per day
  • Pay all suppliers with valid invoices on a timely basis
  • Gain visibility on “problematic suppliers” who are not following invoicing rules


Having full OCR and the ability to post invoices in SAP has created a step-change improvement in Albemarle’s global procure-to-pay process.