New England Biolabs®
More Time for Demanding Tasks with SAP BTP Services
New England Biolabs® receives up to 2,000 incoming invoices each month. The majority of these are received as email attachments that employees must review, capture and store. This is causing a huge amount of manual effort and often results in delays during the processing of invoices. Luckily, this workflow can be automated: Solutions from the SAP Business Technology Platform can help to complete the tasks quickly and reliably.
New England Biolabs® (NEB®) receives up to 2,000 incoming invoices per month at its site in Ipswich, Massachusetts. To process this high number of invoices faster and more efficient, NEB was looking for a solution that would automate the invoice receiving process. All invoices received in digital form as PDFs, PNGs or JPEGs were to be automatically stored, the content extracted and posted in the SAP system. In addition, NEB, which has been using SAP S/4HANA since 2018, wanted to build the solution in its own environment and not buy a third-party solution.
"Our new automated invoicing process has led to significant improvements and savings. We have eliminated manual work, switched off a 3rd party solution and standardized the user interface. This project illustrates the innovation potential of SAP BTP as well as consolut's creativity and expertise."
consolut recommended to use the solutions SAP Business Technology Platform (BTP) is providing. The services included in SAP BTP can be configured to automate the invoice receiving process. In times of digitalization, the SAP Cloud promises a wide range of possibilities for automating workflows Access to SAP BTP was already available, but NEB was not yet fully exploiting the potential of the cloud solutions. This project allowed NEB to take a bigger leap into the SAP Cloud world.
The following services, among others, were configured as part of the invoice automation process:
- SAP Integration Suite
- Document Management Service
- Document Information Extraction
- SAP Build Process Automation
- SAP Build Work Zone
With these applications, the process is as follows: After an invoice is received in the NEB’s email inbox, the SAP Integration Suite imports the document into the cloud environment. There, it is stored in Document Management Service, a service that allows documents to be managed in a folder structure in the cloud. The invoice is then sent to the Document Information Extraction. This service extracts the data contained in the document and sends it back to the SAP Integration Suite. Among other things, the following data is extracted:
- Supplier address
- Invoice date
- Purchase order number
- Invoice amounts (net, gross, tax, shipping, etc.)
- Invoice line items.
This data is forwarded to the SAP Build Process Automation, where several automatic checks are performed. It checks whether the data is complete, whether the master data is available in SAP, and whether the quality of the extracted data is sufficient to post the invoice. Lastly, SAP Build Process Automation validates the presence of specific user-defined Business Rules, for instance, the rule for automatic vendor account determination. If all checks are positive, the invoice is posted and a link to SAP DMS saved in the document
If the automatic invoice verification finds an error, a task is generated and assigned to the employees in the accounts payables department. All tasks are listed in the My Inbox app in the SAP Build Work Zone. The employees can verify the OCR extraction results, add the missing data and trigger the booking process again.
About the company
Established in the mid 1970s, New England Biolabs, Inc. is the industry leader in the discovery and production of enzymes for molecular biology applications and now offers the largest selection of recombinant and native enzymes for genomic research. NEB continues to expand its product offerings into areas related to PCR, gene expression, sample preparation for next generation sequencing, synthetic biology, glycobiology, epigenetics, and RNA analysis. Additionally, NEB is focused on strengthening alliances that enable new technologies to reach key market sectors, including molecular diagnostics, clinical sequencing, and nucleic acid-based therapeutics and vaccines, and also offers a series of product customization services, including lyophilization. New England Biolabs is a privately held company, headquartered in Ipswich, MA, USA, and has extensive worldwide distribution through a network of exclusive distributors, agents and subsidiaries located in Australia, Canada, China, France, Germany, Japan, Singapore and the UK.
NEB now processes up to 90 percent of incoming invoices using the automated services of SAP BTP. This has significantly reduced the workload in accounts payables and improved the quality of data entry. The advantage for employees: They can use the time gained for more demanding tasks, such as communication with suppliers, decision making and ensuring that payment targets are met.
A functioning accounting system is the basis for the business success of a company. With the digitalization and automation of its accounting system, NEB is creating the central prerequisite for the success of the digital transformation of the entire company.
Convinced by this result, NEB has commissioned us with follow-up projects in which SAP BTP services are used to automate processes worldwide.
"The heart of automated invoice receipt and also the most challenging task is the extraction of the data. Our solution allows working with multiple OCR providers and using the service that promises the best results."