Dixie Cummings has been importing and wholesaling contemporary, quality furniture to Australian and New Zealand retailers and their customers for over 20 years.
The business occupies 70,000 square feet of warehouse space situated both nationally and internationally, and sources products from Vietnam, Malaysia, and China.
Manual processes and controls
Julie Burgin, Financial Controller for Dixie Cummings, was keen to transform the business’s heavily manual accounts payable (AP) function. The business had minimal invoice approval processes in place. All incoming supplier invoices for the company’s Australian and New Zealand branches were forwarded to the one-person AP team to be scanned and emailed for review and approval. The out-for-approval invoices were tracked on a spreadsheet and, once returned, were manually entered into the financial application, filed, and paid.
“Our AP team comprises one person in Australia to look after the local payments for Australia and New Zealand through our Pronto ERP. But we also have an office in Malaysia, so a big part of our processing is for overseas shipments,” says Julie.
“We import about 5000 containers annually in Australia and probably about 500 for New Zealand. Locally, we manage around 500 supplier invoices monthly, but overseas (Malaysia), it’s more like 1000 a month.”
Julie had seen document processing automation in action before and was highly impressed with the potential savings in time and improvement in efficiency and accuracy. So, she turned to Pronto for likely partner recommendations. After assessing several AP automation solutions, Dixie Cummings decided on Redmap.
“Redmap were definitely the best fit for us because of their close relationship with Pronto,” says Julie.
“Following their initial presentation, we interviewed some of Redmap’s customers, which only confirmed that they were the right partner for us.”
Despite losing their AP person just weeks before go-live and needing to recruit a new employee, Julie says the implementation went smoothly, and the positive outcomes quickly surfaced.
“We’re already experiencing far fewer errors using Redmap AP Automation,” says Julie. “But what really surprised me was how much time it saves all our approvers in all our different branches, and New Zealand in particular, as their invoices represent quite a good portion of our processing. The time saving has been one of the biggest benefits.”
Dixie Cummings is rolling out Redmap’s AP solution progressively, says Julie. The first part of the implementation went live in August 2022.
“For the first stage, we've only tackled the local payments where we don’t have purchase orders associated with invoices. The second stage, starting in early 2023, will see Redmap matching up invoices with purchase orders for our office in Malaysia. This will eliminate their need to process and scan them manually, and given the number of invoices they process, it will make a big difference for them and us.”
Dixie Cummings’ Malaysian branch processes over 1000 invoices monthly, which includes all the freight forward invoices generated as part of the shipment process. “The freight forward invoices require a completely different and quite complex approach. However, one of the reasons we chose Redmap was that they are currently developing an automation solution to manage them. So down the track, we expect to make even more savings.”
Inspired by automation
Julie says they found Redmap excellent to work with. “We originally anticipated an overload of emails, meetings, and stress. But instead, the weekly scrum meeting was very efficient and on point, and the communications from Redmap were very consistent. So, I was really pleased with that.”
“Our people are really enjoying using Redmap AP Automation because it's so simple. It's just part of their daily routine now. If we ever need help, we’ve found Redmap’s support team very responsive.”
Even after a few short months of using Redmap AP Automation, Julie finds it difficult to imagine going back to manual AP processing. “It’s inspired me, and now I'm looking for what else I can automate!”
We originally anticipated an overload of emails, meetings, and stress. But instead, the weekly scrum meeting was very efficient and on point, and the communications from Redmap were very consistent. So, I was really pleased with that.