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Key Takeaways

50 stores nationwide

100,000 invoices monthly

Mix of digital and paper invoices

The Challenge: PlaceMakers were manually handling thousands of invoices a month from multiple locations across New Zealand.

PlaceMakers (trading under Fletcher Distribution Limited) is New Zealand’s leading and largest supplier of building materials and hardware, employing over 2,500 staff at more than 50 stores across the country.

The finance division at Fletcher Distribution receives over 100,000 invoices a month. Around half of these were being delivered via Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) from major suppliers, with the rest arriving by post.

The team of 15 staff had to manually review and key in invoices for processing, which took a lot of time and resulted in a high number of delays and errors. 

PlaceMakers worked with Canon Business Services ANZ (formerly Converga) to provide an accounts payable workflow solution for their business with Robotic Process Automation.

“A big mailbag would arrive each day, and envelopes were dumped on a desk. We had 15 staff that spent their day opening mail, checking the invoices and manually keying in data. It was very expensive”.

Steve Scott, Finance Manager, PlaceMakers (Fletcher Distribution)

Solution: Canon Business Services tailors and deploys an automated AP solution


Canon Business Services (CBS) arranged for invoices to be delivered to a private box and dispatched daily to our scanning facility. Invoices are scanned and a 2-way match is performed, using the header and purchase order number from each invoice. Line items are then checked on screen. The Automated AP solutions provides a number of functions that increase performance and reduce errors, including:

  • Automatically matches purchase orders to invoices

  • Flags duplicate invoices as exceptions

  • Routes invoices to relevant internal stakeholders for approval

  • Processes invoices in appropriate queues

  • Enables the AP team to focus on exceptions and pay invoices on time

The solution has increased PlaceMakers visibility of invoices and enabled efficient processing of more than 100,000 invoices per month.

“It has created visibility into an area that was previously difficult to review”,

Steve Scott, Finance Manager, PlaceMakers (Fletcher Distribution)

The results: Reduced complexity of processing and enhanced efficiency

The CBS outsourced invoice processing solution lowered the demand on internal IT resources and reduced PlaceMakers’ full-time staff.

There has been significant improvement to accuracy and validation between CBS and the customer’s ERP system in Oracle, and the outsourced solution provided immediate operational cost savings with minimal CAPEX required.

Canon Business Services reporting allows monitoring of productivity and efficiency, including reporting on the time it takes to process an invoice. It also provides improved audit tracking and accountability through the use of history screen and management.

The CBS solution has lowered the demand on internal IT resources and reduced our PlaceMakers need for staff working on invoice processing full time. They also find that the ability to destroy the original invoices after three months has reduced their storage requirements enormously.

60% increase in efficiency

98.5% data accuracy

100,000 invoices processed annually

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