Invoice management, ariba, stahl, delaware
17-8-2017

Stahl’s invoicing process: from manual to smart with SAP Invoice Management

Stahl, a global player in the chemical industry from Waalwijk, supplies high-quality products to companies worldwide through its three brands: Stahl, PielColor and Picassian. From the upholstery in your car to the shoes on your feet and the bank notes in your wallet, chances are these products have been treated with a Stahl coating. This hidden champion is part and parcel of our everyday lives.

 After the takeover of the BASF and Clariant leather chemical divisions, this Brabant company expects to achieve further growth in the market and contribute to making the industry more sustainable. International growth on this scale requires an equally impressive solution for the invoicing process at Stahl. 

“The old method was no longer practical after the takeover and increase in the number of invoices to be processed. We needed a more efficient and sustainable solution.”

Complexity vs. simplicity

After the takeover, the growing company had to process an increasing number of invoices - as many as 28,000 a year. All supplier invoices were received by mail and those invoices that were received digitally were printed out and processed manually. The number of staff needed for the manual invoicing process continued to increase, while the efficiency level decreased gradually.

Stahl’s focus on growth was accompanied by a need for a more efficient approach. This market leader feels very strongly about sustainable business practices and cost effectiveness. 

To strengthen the company’s foundation, eliminate errors, obtain a clearer picture of the cash flow and increase transparency, Stahl began looking for a smart system and international implementation partner. This chemical giant operates in a variety of countries, which means different regulations and VAT numbers, making it difficult to fully automate the invoicing process in Stahl’s financial departments. SAP Invoice Management was the perfect solution! 

“My advice to anyone looking for an implementation partner? Determine your own requirements and desires, as well as what kind of system you would prefer, in order to make the decision-making process easier.”

Let's make life easier!

Van den Reek explains that Stahl was looking for an experienced implementation partner for Invoice Management. He adds, “We had to choose between a more modern approach and doubling our team. It was an easy decision to make.” The company chose delaware due to their extensive international experience, fast implementation method and user-friendly Fast Invoice Template. 

Within three months and within budget, SAP Invoice Management went live in accordance with all agreements made. The delaware template is based on best practices. The best results of over 100 customers worldwide have been combined in a single template to ensure that the implementation process and solution effectively meet the needs and desires of customers. He adds, “The collaboration was very professional and smooth. The communication with delaware was excellent and we were easily able to coordinate the implementation process.”

A major advantage of this type of implementation process is that it also gives you the immediate opportunity to take a closer look at the current and desired working methods. If there are any unique exceptions in terms of, for example, authorisation levels or accountability within the system, delaware finds the right solution. Stahl plans to use this template to standardise a number of internal processes.

The new Stahl approach

Faster, more efficient and 100% digital. More than 2,000 employees will soon be experiencing the advantages of Stahl’s new approach. Following a successful launch at the Waalwijk location, Stahl now plans to roll out SAP Invoice Management at all of its locations. Apart from automatic and fast invoicing, other benefits achieved are time savings, transparency and a more modern working method. 

Benefits

  • Transparency and ownership: the system lets you request real-time status and indicates who is responsible for what.
  • It is almost impossible to make a mistake. The process stops automatically if there is a quantity discrepancy. The relevant individual is then alerted.    
  • Sustainability: digital invoicing instead of the usual pile of paperwork.
  • Return to Vendor: a functionality for returning the invoice directly to the supplier if crucial information is lacking or inaccurate.
  • Faster follow-up.
  • Better internal control & problem recognition.
  • Open and transparent communication process: everyone is involved.
  • Clear reports.
  • Internationalisation and scalability within easy reach.

“SAP Invoice Management perfectly meets our needs and will be rolled out worldwide within the company before long. Thanks to the training sessions organised by delaware, the involvement of our people and a reliable system, we are well prepared for the future.”

Result-oriented & straightforward

The solution offers advantages for both the Dutch market and international market in which Stahl operates. Stahl now receives 95% of invoices digitally and has achieved a savings of 1 FTE. In addition to more efficient staffing, the process has also become more efficient and transparent. The growing number of invoices is easier to manage and can be processed more quickly.