Reward Hospitality is Australia’s leading hospitality supplier, offering an expansive range of equipment – from food packing, to serving ware (with full custom printing if desired), kitchen equipment through to cleaning chemicals, as well as end-to-end venue design and fit-out services.
With over 30 locations and a team of 150 territory managers, Reward Hospitality supports the hospitality, catering, healthcare, accommodation, education, and leisure and entertainment industries throughout Australia, New Zealand, and the Pacific Islands.
Reward Hospitality ownership by the E.CF Group - the European leader in hospitality, catering, and general food service supply – enables its customers to access the latest products and trends from around the globe.
There’s more to Redmap than meets the eye!
Reward Hospitality started using Redmap software as a generic document archive in 2013. Then, in 2017, a competitor emailed Reward about the benefits of AP Automation, and it struck a chord with the team, prompting them to see what else was in the market.
“We looked at six different vendors in total, and it was a mixed group,” says Rae Burton, Senior Treasury Officer for Reward Hospitality. “Some were really expensive, some were really clunky, some couldn’t extract the line items, and then there was Redmap. A tool we had used for years, which was not only well priced and user friendly, but it was also fully integrated with Pronto. It is ironic that the right tool was right in front of us all the time!”
According to Rae, the business’s inventory was extremely well-controlled, and their warehouse team did an ‘exceptional job’ of managing it. However, Reward’s huge focus on inventory, catalogue lists, and receipting practices came at a cost.
“We were paying team members to process invoices that were a perfect match, and that is very wasteful. Our goal was to see 72% of our invoices straight-through process,” says Rae.
To achieve their goal, Reward wanted a solution that automatically recognised and routed invoices that had a quantity or price variance away from the warehouse staff, and directly into the hands of the inventory team. And after taking a closer look at Redmap’s Best Practice for Pronto Xi, Reward was pleasantly surprised. The solution ticked all the boxes, so they decided to adopt it.
The outcome of the implementation has met all of Reward’s goals. Redmap extracts the line-item data from the invoices, checks it against the PO data in Pronto Xi to determine the source of the mismatch, and sends the invoice to the right person and place.
Rae says she is delighted with the outcome. “I am pleased to say that we have recently reached 74% straight-through processing.”
Dealing with exceptions to the rule
But it wasn’t all plain sailing. “It took a little while to achieve our initial goals, and for reasons we could not have anticipated at the onset of the project,” says Rae. “Automating removes the human element, that is the goal. But this removes human interpretation as well, and that means when a supplier has a delivery docket number on the invoice with a ‘#’ in front of it and that ‘#’ is not on the receipt in Pronto Xi, then you have exceptions to deal with.”
To overcome the vendor-based exception issues, Rae’s team focussed on getting the data to align correctly. Sometimes that meant working with the vendor to improve the level of data they were sending; other times, it meant working with the inventory team to change the process. And change it, they did.
“The good news is the team had the time required to do this due to the automation, and I see this as a far better investment of their time.”
The rewards of being productive
Rae says that Reward achieved their productivity goals in both the AP and wider team as part of the project.
“The approval process pre-Redmap was that the invoice would be emailed to the approver, they would print it out, stamp and sign it and then scan it to email it back. Now they are presented with an invoice in a really simple-to-use product with two buttons – approve or reject. The approval process is so much more efficient for these resources and, given that there are 112 approvers across the business, that is a considerable ROI.”
The three success factors
“The success of this project has been a combination of three factors,” says Rae. “Firstly, the Redmap team did what they said they would, which is not always the case in these technology projects.”
“Secondly, my team worked extremely hard and had a positive attitude toward change.”
“In my opinion, however, the final and most impactful contribution to this project has been the work that Cathy Packnas and her inventory team have done. Our inventory and purchasing data is so well managed and the receipts performed at the warehouse are so accurate. That is a huge factor in the positive straight-through processed invoices.”