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GKN Driveline Deutschland GmbH

New drive for automated invoice processing

Partners: BIT Information Systems

In order to give new impetus to the operational processing of incoming invoices, together with two sister companies in Kaiserslautern and Trier, GKN Driveline Deutschland GmbH has relied on automated invoice processing with MR.KNOW – BPM (formerly BPM inspire) since 2010.

If there is no drive, many things simply don't get going. This applies to getting up in the morning, and also to cars and business processes. As a global supplier to leading vehicle manufacturers, GKN Driveline develops, manufactures and supplies a wide range of drive systems, mainly for advanced premium vehicles with the most demanding vehicle dynamics requirements.

The German GKN Driveline sites have been using a digital archive as a basic platform for archiving incoming invoices and other documents in the procurement process for years. This looks after the main document management and archiving functions. The accounting software is also identical at all German GKN Driveline locations. However, if there were concerns about the further processing, distribution or central control of the invoicing processes, the company was unable to call on technical support. "Invoices were distributed by fax or circulation envelopes, for example," recalls Christoph Hieb, project manager at GKN Driveline Deutschland in Offenbach.

Project brief: Process automation and transparency

Approximately 100,000 incoming invoices per year are processed across all German GKN Driveline locations. At the beginning of the project, the people in charge stipulated that the accounting of the individual locations must be clearly and centrally consolidated by new software, organized in a shared service centre. Christoph Hieb elaborates: "We wanted an automated incoming invoice recognition system that would allow us to rationalise and automate the entire invoice processing process". Other project requirements included automatic document capture and the paperless distribution, processing and entry of the relevant invoice data until it was transferred to the ERP system. And that's not all: Payment approval was also to be automatic in the future. Christoph Hieb explains: "All processes should be centrally initiated, controlled, monitored and documented. We wanted to be informed about every single transaction in real time".

Seamless accounting processes

Discussions followed with software houses which were already present within the company, reference visits were made to customers which used the solution and internal demonstrations took place. After a few weeks, MR.KNOW – BPM (formerly BPM inspire) came out on top in the selection process. Today, the German GKN Driveline locations in Offenbach, Kiel, Zwickau, Kaiserslautern, Trier and Lohmar use this process software for their central accounting. Incoming invoices can be recorded and processed automatically and also electronically archived at the same time by linking them to the existing archive. All invoices which GKN Driveline still receives in paper form are first scanned. A rapidly increasing number of documents are processed directly as electronic invoices. A learning text recognition solution (OCR) then looks after the importing of the documents and automatic analysis by means of comparison with the ERP system, including the classification and extraction of the data. For this purpose, the invoice documents are analysed using free-form methods and form-based techniques, automatically classified and extracted for each document class using different procedures.

Optimised processes, reduced processing times and minimised costs

Telephone enquiries, jumbled figures and tedious searching for invoices that initially cannot be found are a thing of the past at GKN. "From recording to processing, approval and posting: The entire incoming invoice process has been automated", summarises Hieb. If questions about price or quantity differences arise, they can be clarified using MR.KNOW – BPM, as can missing incoming goods postings. Every employee who can generate a requisition within the company works with the invoicing software, and is then notified about new activities by e-mail. "The clear advantages of this software-supported process control are a significant increase in transparency, optimized processes and better data quality", says Hieb. "The internal control process have also been optimised in this way – the new solution was confirmed as best practice by our internal audit department," summarises Andrea Simon, who is responsible for accounts payable in the Shared Service Centre at GKN Driveline. MR.KNOW – BPM enables cross-location working, reduced processing and throughput times, standardized and transparent processes and better adherence to cash discount deadlines. At the same time, it was possible to reduce costs by simplifying and accelerating the incoming invoice process. Christoph Hieb and Andea Simon both agree: "Of course, our goal is to continue optimising the operational process, but on the whole we are very satisfied with the automatic invoice processing".

About GKN Driveline

GKN Driveline is the world's leading provider of drive systems and solutions for the automotive industry. As a global supplier to leading vehicle manufacturers, GKN Driveline develops, manufactures and delivers a wide range of driveline systems, mainly for advanced premium vehicles with the most demanding vehicle dynamics requirements. GKN Driveline CVJ Systems, AWD Systems, Trans Axle Solutions and eDrive Systems are the global benchmark for the automotive industry.

About MR.KNOW – BPM (formerly BPM inspire)

MR.KNOW – BPM is a complete BPM suite from process management specialist Inspire Technologies GmbH with the areas of modelling, automation, graphical user interfaces and monitoring and controlling functionality for the automation of business processes. MR.KNOW – BPM provides numerous functions which allow users to work even more effectively, automate tedious routine tasks and therefore help to reduce costs and increase productivity. The invoice processing solution has been implemented at GKN Driveline together with BIT Informationssysteme GmbH.


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