AECOM Saves Time and Improves Efficiency of Purchasing Process
AECOM (NYSE:ACM) is a global provider of professional technical and management support services to a broad range of markets, including transportation, facilities, environmental and energy. AECOM serves clients in more than 100 countries.
The Business Challenge
In an organization as large as AECOM, with 50,000 employees across the globe and 10,000 requisitions per month, purchasing materials and equipment for environmental engineering projects is a formidable task. Inefficiencies of any kind can result in significant costs in time and money. AECOM frequently purchases high value equipment and materials to be used in comprehensive environmental remediation solutions. These high cost items are billed to clients as projects are completed. Any delay in the acquisition, payment or invoicing processes can have a negative impact on both cash flow and profits. Given the potential negative impact on AECOM’s bottom line, the organization sought to:
- improve and control the flow of acquisition and payment processes
- identify where the work is in the process at any point
- show, in “real time”, the potential dollar impact to their bottom line
AECOM uses a SQL-based Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system to generate purchase requisitions, A/P vouchers and invoices. They found that the ERP system supported automated data entry for the documents involved, but that “approvers” had to log on to the system to find things to approve. With up to five approval levels, the work could be delayed because people were on vacation, traveling, or for other reasons. Also, the supporting documents are external to the ERP system, so snail mail was used to send them among approvers.
AECOM’s solution was to define a business process to aggressively pursue electronic approvals, easily enable changes (since approval paths are dynamic), and move the entire process at optimum speed. AECOM was familiar with the power and flexibility of the INDICIUM Flow software product through their experience using INDICIUM DM for enterprise document management. Their authorized INDICIUM reseller demonstrated how a close integration could be achieved among INDICIUM Flow, INDICIUM DM, INDICIUM Capture, and AECOM’s existing Lawson ERP.
INDICIUM Flow communicates with the Lawson software to “image enable” various applications within the ERP system, using INDICIUM DM as the document store. To “workflow enable” the ERP system, Lawson flags and data are used to initiate the INDICIUM Flow processes that move requisitions and invoices throughout the world for approval actions. Ultimately, INDICIUM Flow updates Lawson databases, and then stores approved invoices in INDICIUM DM. Throughout the processes, INDICIUM captures and stores business intelligence data used for real-time inquiries by AECOM’s management, enabling them to track the status and location of every vendor invoice and purchase requisition generated by any employee, at anytime, anywhere in the world. The system generates e-mail alerts about overdue approvals, and allows the solicitation of approvals 24/7 via e-mail, using a single “official” electronic copy of invoices stored in INDICIUM.
“Our success with the INDICIUM document management software has not only helped us improve our processes, but has made other businesses take notice,” explained the IS Director of AECOM. “At industry meetings, people are interested in what we have been able to accomplish.”