Working with DataBank, an authorized OnBase solution provider, Canal Barge implemented OnBase to streamline financial operations.
Gain efficiency, improve operations and increase visibility for AP
Before OnBase, manual, paper-based processing was the standard for accounts payable. As the company received invoices, AP staff put a code on each invoice for tracking purposes and made a copy for their records. They then routed the invoices for approval via interoffice mail. The approvals could take days and offered no visibility — invoices often sat in the mail or on someone’s desk without anyone’s insight into their status. When the approvals were complete, the invoices were routed back to AP for payment.
By implementing OnBase, Canal Barge transformed its invoice approval process — it no longer depends on manual processing and has eliminated paper copies. Now, OnBase automatically captures needed invoice data as soon as it arrives.
The integration of OnBase with Infor Lawson, Canal Barge’s ERP, allows vendor lookups and validations to quickly take place and for invoices to keep moving along for approvals. OnBase automatically notifies reviewers when they have an invoice to approve, and they can do so now from their desktop or mobile device. Once approved, it’s extracted for payment and posted to Infor Lawson.
Getting rid of paper was the largest benefit brought about by OnBase. Canal Barge no longer had to make the costly decision to renovate or relocate to a larger building. In fact, the company continued to grow its business without needing additional resources. After signing its largest contract — which caused its billing to grow 20% — no additional AP staff was needed to maintain operations.
Increased visibility was another benefit of OnBase. Staff can now see the status of work no matter where it is in the approval process.
“There’s a lot better ability for management to observe what’s going on in AP,” Fravel said. “They can just go into OnBase and look. They can see if an invoice has been paid or not, and they can get some statistics about the turnaround time and the average pay time for invoices.”
Eliminate manual processing and improve billing accuracy
As a transportation service provider, Canal Barge generates many invoices for payment and bills for receivables, with the potential to attach a number of evidentiary documents to each bill. Before OnBase, ensuring customers received the right information attached to each bill was laborious and paper-based, Fravel said. Billing staff would manually gather up all of the evidentiary materials that needed to be attached to the bill. The manual process for gathering and filtering the material was laborious and error prone. Now, almost the entire billing process is managed in OnBase. Staff collect and assemble all of the materials and the bill itself directly in the enterprise information platform, eliminating what was once a manual process.
Overall, the transition from paper to OnBase has been successful.
“Our OnBase system has assisted with getting better billing accuracy,” Fravel said. “Before OnBase, our billing process was manual and complicated. Our workflows are now simpler and more accurate. They’re less error-prone, too.”