Understandably, Evolution Mining takes pride in its name. Since 2011 it has evolved from a small company into a globally relevant, growth-focused Australian gold mining business operating five wholly owned mines across NSW, Queensland, WA, and Canada. It additionally has an economic interest in a copper-gold mine in Queensland.
In FY20, Evolution reported an underlying net profit after tax of A$405 million.
A solid gold investment in AP automation
As well as being known as a business that embraces technology and innovation, Evolution invests heavily in its people through a number of development programs.
In 2017, Mary Halpin, the executive in charge of the Shared Services, was selected to enter Evolution’s Guiding Our Leaders Development (GOLD) Program. One of the program requirements is to present a business improvement project to Evolution's senior management, and Mary saw this as a golden opportunity to automate the business’s AP process.
At the time, Evolution used Pronto Xi 750.2, deployed by Scope Systems. To manage purchasing, Evolution also adopted Scope's Purchase Requisition and Authorisation System (PRAS). Most of Evolution's Purchase Orders are goods-based for stores, maintenance, and capital works - with some service orders for contract labour. The volume of POs generated through PRAS means that the AP team processes between 9,000 and 10,000 invoices monthly.
Evolution saw significant merit in Mary's AP automation proposal and greenlighted the project. While they considered several different technologies, Redmap was seen as a natural fit due to their extensive experience with Pronto Software.
Chris Prescott, Evolution's Senior Financial Accountant, was part of the selection committee when Mary presented her project to the business.
"Redmap had a number of benefits. And one of the things I liked the most was the data extraction validation, whereas many of the other vendors were requiring us to manage the data extraction."
Best practice for Pronto perfection
As an early adopter of Pronto Xi 750.2 and as Scope’s first customer, Evolution's original implementation had been heavily customised from the ground up. However, the business's acquisition of the Red Lake Gold Mine in Canada turned out to be the perfect opportunity to upgrade to a more standardised implementation as recommended in Redmap's Best Practice for Pronto Xi.
"In many ways, the Best Practice product from Redmap validated our choice to go with them in the first place. It was clear that Redmap has been collaborating closely with Pronto Software in the years since our first install," says Chris. "The evidence of this partnership is obvious in the product and the team's knowledge."
Pronto Best Practice (PBP) allows Evolution to process both PO and non-PO invoices straight out of the box. Invoices are sent to an email address provided by Redmap for automated data extraction. The validated data determines if the invoice is posted directly to Pronto or sent to someone for their approval. Once posted, PBP generates a link to the source document so it can be easily downloaded if required.
Leveraging existing investments
Evolution decided to keep some of the game-changing modifications from the original implementation, including the integration Redmap did with Scope's PRAS. This modification allowed Redmap to manage the invoice approval for the many individuals who work on an extended fly in fly out (FIFO) roster.
In this scenario, Redmap inherited the extended authority masks provided by PRAS, which enables the identification of resources who shared a role/position. And it's something that Redmap has gone on to deliver at all Pronto Xi sites that use Scope's PRAS system.
"The chasing of invoice authorisation with a team that is not at the office for a week at a time was a significant burden to the Shared Service," says Chris.
"The work that Redmap did with PRAS was another investment that they had made that in turn paid dividends for us."
The efficiency gains made through the automation of their AP process have allowed Evolution to reassign team members to more value-added work and realise a rapid ROI. And it's fair to say that Chris is a happy man.
"Our goal was not to replace employees as part of this project," says Chris. "Evolution's growth trajectory has meant the business has continued to expand, and the team needed to become more productive than simply keying invoices or chasing authorisation. We wanted to redeploy our people to more valuable work. Redmap has allowed us to do that.
"Pre-Redmap, we had six full-time employees working in the shared service exclusively on AP invoices. Post-Redmap, we have 2.4. Those efficiencies enabled the investment to be paid back in under 12 months, so, financially, it was a fantastic investment.
"Redmap has also provided many other benefits. The visibility that it has delivered is tremendous. I know exactly where every one of our 10,000 invoices is at any time - across two continents. It has also helped us identify other areas of possible improvement in the business, most specifically our Purchase Order processes."
The visibility that it has delivered is tremendous. I know exactly where every one of our 10,000 invoices is at any time - across two continents.