Implementation of SEAS from Intec helps Bacardi keep Suppliers spirits up.

In 1839 Don Facundo Bacardi y Maso immigrated to Santiago de Cuba from Spain. After years of experimentation he perfected a lighter and milder rum than the rough and unrefined traditional rums of the time. Taking the image of the fruit bats that lived in the rafters of his tin-roofed distillery he created a brand that became known the world over as BACARDI Rum. Bacardi-Martini has since grown to become one of the most important global drinks manufacturers in the world. However, unlike many other multinationals, it is still a family controlled company, run with the same continuity of management that has propelled constant growth throughout.

Bacardi-Martini Ltd in the UK has its base of operations in Southampton. It is one of Southampton’s biggest employers, providing jobs for over 500 people. The Finance function at Bacardi-Martini Ltd provides the financial and management accounting services for all the Selling, Marketing, Production and Distribution activities of the company. Additionally, it is responsible for reporting the financial results of the U.K. business to the Head Office in Bermuda. Treasury and Tax Planning are also carried out for the whole of the U.K. group and accounting services provided to sister companies located in the U.K.

With such a large remit it is essential that all internal processes run as efficiently as possible. With close reliance on suppliers for vital products and services one such procedure that was earmarked by the company for further improvement was the processing
of Supplier Invoices. Rob Horlock, Business Solutions Manager for Bacardi-Martini Ltd explains, “20% of our accounts team time was spent tracking and tracing paper Supplier invoices.” Whilst in reality this figure compares very favourably with the national average that knowledge workers spend looking for paperwork that runs at 25% (source: IBM), Bacardi-Martini wanted to realise further efficiencies.

“We were keen to investigate the potential of using the Lotus Domino platform, which is Bacardi company standard,” says Rob. “We were aware that this platform might be able to offer the type of workflow capability we were seeking”. In a typical paper based system, documents are passed from accounts payable through an office desk environment until being returned once an approval route has been completed. This process may involve coding of the invoice to particular ledger codes or other internal system codification. Whilst this type of manual system works for a high proportion of documents, it is always the exception to the rule which exposes serious business risks. An invoice waiting for too long in an intray may result in a key supplier placing your account on hold with potentially damaging results. Additionally, delays may result in accounts payable requesting a copy of the invoice from the supplier with the risk that with 2 copies out for approval it may be paid twice.

Following a review of available solutions Bacardi-Martini settled on SEAS (Scanning and Electronic Approval System) from Intec.

  • Allows Accounts Payable to manage invoice approval with greater control and efficiency
  • Duplicate supplier invoices are captured at the beginning of the document life-cycle
  • Status of any invoice can be immediately identified at any time
  • Improved identification of invoice detail errors
  • Invoices are paid more often to both your company and your Supplier’s terms and conditions
  • Helps improve your rating with Suppliers
  • Reduces Account Payable queries on chasing
  • Solicits faster approval cycles from end user approvers
  • Notification and reminders appear in users in-box
  • Uniform process and interface for every invoice improves end user experience
  • Rapid Return on Investment (ROI)
  • Greatly reduce risk of overpayment or duplicate payments
  • Redeploy human resource from managing Accounts Payable queries
  • Early settlement discount.

Since the system was implemented it has proved to be a considerable benefit to the company. Rob Horlock says “The impact upon the business has been entirely positive, which for a project that reaches into the very core of established financial processes and has such high visibility, was a welcome outcome.” “With full workflow capability and history, enabling queries to be easily investigated, invoices can be routed to any number of users in any department including home based employees without fear of them being lost. By introducing SEAS we have been able to reduce administrative effort in the area of invoice handling by 40%”.

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