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Georg Jensen’s e-invoicing paid off in less than six months
“We are in the process of eliminating all paper invoices to our customers around the world and instead send invoices as PDF files via email. In this way, we do not need to spend time and money on printing, paper, postage, envelopes and the packing of nearly 100,000 letters a year. We save money – while the environment benefits from the solution as well. If everything goes according to the plan, the investment in the new digital solution has paid for itself within six months. Maybe less.”
These are the words of Hanne Stenager, IT Project Manager at Georg Jensen, the world-famous Danish manufacturer of silverware, jewellery, cutlery, watches and other luxury goods and gifts.
Georg Jensen has achieved a significant saving in the internal handling of invoices by using Lasernet.
Lasernet not only allows for electronic billing, but it can also be used for many other tasks when it comes to electronic documents, something that appealed to Georg Jensen.
By going from paper invoices to electronic ones, not only does Georg Jensen save money, they also save a lot of paper, envelopes and stamps.
Saving on expenses
Georg Jensen has for nearly three years been working on optimizing processes and workflows. This work became even more important in light of the financial crisis. It was decided that the IT department also should contribute to savings on the expenditure side. This led to a thorough analysis of all expenditure items, and digital invoicing entered the top 10 list of potential savings. Hanne Stenager explains:
“We have for many years sent electronic invoices to larger chain stores. For our smaller customers, who account for about 20% of our sales, but about 80% of all invoices – we have every year sent nearly 100,000 paper invoices.”
When analysing the work with paper invoices it showed that each one cost a total of 3 EUR in printing, postage and envelope. Georg Jensen thought there must be a better and more cost-effective way of doing this. They asked Columbus, the supplier of their ERP system MS Dynamics AX, if they had any suggestions for an electronic solution. Columbus pointed to two alternatives, one of which was Lasernet from Formpipe, and it was the best solution for Georg Jensen.
“Lasernet was clearly the most interesting solution because it not only allows for electronic billing but also because it can be used for many other tasks when it comes to electronic documents,” notes Hanne.
In November 2009, Lasernet was installed and six months later invoices were sent in PDF format via email to all customers who wanted it. Lasernet simply receives a ‘print file’ with the day’s invoices from MS Dynamics AX and converts them to PDF format, puts a logo in, find the customers’ email addresses based on customer number, and then sends the PDF files to the customers via email. Invoices can be generated in either several different languages – depending on the wishes of the customer.
It is optional for customers whether they want to receive invoices by email or on paper. However, to help customers in the digital direction, Georg Jensen has introduced a fee, covering the real cost of sending the invoice to print. In this way, the cost only applies to the customers who receive printed invoices, while those who get their bills by email will not have to pay, tells Hanne, who welcomes an overwhelming success from the start.
“At first it was about half of the customers who said yes. After we have let the cost follow the paper invoice, we are now at 70% and has set 80% as the next target,” says Hanne.
The whole project was scheduled to take three months. That includes getting Lasernet in the air and the customers aboard. They managed to stay both within the budget and the schedule. Hanne adds:
“We had agreed on a fixed price with Formpipe to get everything working – and it has done so without problems.”
What enabled it?
“Our own calculations showed a cost of 3 EUR for a paper invoice. Formpipes’ assessment, however, showed that the cost of an invoice is almost 5 EUR, so it was not hard to see the equation. With half of the customers on the digital solution, the cost for Lasernet would be earned back within six months. Since 70% of our customers already is on, it’s an excellent investment we have made - even better than we first thought,” Hanne concludes.
The successful implementation and investment in Lasernet have also given Georg Jensen the reason to use Lasernet in many other tasks to streamline their document work.