Friday, 23 May 2014

Working with Print and Design Solutions to improve the invoicing process

Print and Design Solutions produces a range of printed products for internal and external trade, sells the varsity gifts as well as a range of promotional items. Income has been steadily increasing over the past few years. We were approached by Print and Design Solutions to help them improve their invoicing process. Their main problems were:
  • Reconciliation between two computer systems was time consuming and different data was contained in each system
  • Problems with error on work tickets
  • The finance staff were spending a lot of time chasing unpaid invoices

There are about five or six different processes for different customers make a purchase from the service. Each of these processes were treated as stand alone processes, and resulted in different information being held in the two computer systems, some of which were updated instantly, others daily and others weekly. Equally problematic was the invoicing process that was delayed because work tickets had missing information, jobs were created without purchase orders and good receipting of jobs was often delayed.

Outputs from the project included the decision to do all financial reporting from one system which removed the need for the reconciliation process (which took 7-10 days a month); ensuring that work tickets were raised with all of the necessary information (and raising understanding throughout the service about the importance of collecting all of the information at the beginning of the order process) and reducing the amount of management information produced on a weekly and monthly basis (we focused on what was necessary rather than what was nice to have).  Some additional work will be undertaken in the short to medium term to improve the reports that can be run from the finance system to provide all financial information at top level (removing the need to interrogate records), set up default codes that can be used for charging orders to - if a purchase order is not raised in a timely manner and goods receipting on behalf of departments who do not goods receipt within two months.

The team were also able to make some additional improvements to the experience for customers - this included improvements to the online service for overseas customers (who previously had to phone up to make a payment for postage), guidance about what information to supply when making an order and freeing up some time to continue the roll out of the MyPrint Service which offers an online service to customers. Some of the reduction in process time for the print estimators will free up their time; this will mean that they can deal with customer enquiries more efficiently.

It was a small team (just four people); they worked incredibly hard focusing on delivering a good customer experience as well as creating efficiencies. We were impressed with the quantity and quality of the data that they were able produce/ gathers to help us understand and quantify problems. We were also impressed with the hard work and conscientious approach of the team during the event and immediately afterwards.

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