S.W. Anderson Chills Hot Print Invoicing Costs

The distributor gained manpower and printing/mailing savings, plus happier customers, through online billing and payment

Hamilton, N.J.Feb. 18, 2014—For nearly 60 years, S.W. Anderson has been a fixture on Long Island. From its headquarters in Farmingdale, N.Y., the wholesale heating/ventilation/air conditioning (HVAC) distributor supplies commercial and residential building contractors not only with equipment and supplies, but also valuable expertise and technical information.

Like the industry it serves, S.W. Anderson has changed dramatically since it was founded in 1955, with nine field offices now located throughout the New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania area. Until recently, however, one aspect of the company’s operations has been as static as the day it opened its doors: the process of sending out invoices.

“For years we’ve been using mailing machines to invoice our accounts,” noted Mike Anderson, president of S.W. Anderson. “Every time our equipment broke down, the problems just got bigger. We pride ourselves on customer service—and the daily process of printing, folding and mailing paper bills was slowing us down, adding cost and diminishing our reputation.”

With the lease on its mailing equipment up for renewal, S.W. Anderson decided it was time to look for a better solution. After evaluating a range of options, the Anderson team turned to Billtrust, a billing solution outsourcer.  Anderson recognized how a partner like Billtrust could improve its internal and external billing performance.

Billtrust demonstrated that it has the experience, the resources and the range of solutions to modernize our entire accounts receivable function,” Anderson said.

Within a month, S.W. Anderson’s billing system was integrated with the Billtrust platform. Initially, the wholesaler retained Billtrust for printing and mailing its paper invoices. As Joe Timlin, information technology (IT) manager, explained, the company saw benefits almost immediately.

“Not only was the manual printing, folding, stuffing and mailing tasks taken off our hands, but the process became more efficient,” Timlin explained. “Billtrust is able to monitor and consolidate invoices so that customers don’t receive as many mailings. Its systems automatically manage the process—for example, holding off until a specific date or dollar amount is reached.”

Anderson noted that CustomerCare, Billtrust’s online portal, allows company personnel to instantly view the up-to-date status of paid and unpaid invoices for any account. With CustomerCare, S.W. Anderson’s accounts receivable and credit representatives can pull up PDF copies of invoices on their screen in order to make decisions and resolve problems faster.

“Since we engaged Billtrust, our customer satisfaction has definitely gone up,” Anderson stated. “Errors have gone down, customers are getting their invoices quicker and we get paid sooner. Even if we approve a batch of invoices as late as 9 p.m., Billtrust makes sure the invoices go out the very next day.”

Based on its string of successes, S.W. Anderson took the next step by adopting Invoice Central, Billtrust’s one-stop software as a service (SaaS) electronic billing/payment portal for buyers and sellers. With Invoice Central, the HVAC distributor can post invoices securely—and its customers can find, view, approve and even make payments electronically.

Billtrust is helping our customers migrate to automated e-billing through a whole range of activities,” Anderson said. “Right now we’re including messages on our invoices encouraging customers to sign up. With Billtrust, we feel we’ve taken some major steps forward in keeping our company competitive and profitable.”

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