August 09 , 2015

SATO is building a seamless purchase-to-pay chain

by Procurement, Source-to-Pay, Accounts Payable Automation

SATO is building a seamless purchase-to-pay chainThe housing investment company SATO Corporation has a clear goal: a predictable, transparent process from purchase to payment. Its process development partner is OpusCapita, which is responsible for SATO’s accounts payable services.

“We set up a new procurement team and were looking for efficient ways of processing and circulating purchase invoices. Our ultimate goal is automated invoice processing. We can achieve this only if we develop the process specifically from the purchasing and financial management perspective,” says Yaron Nadbornik, Head of Purchasing at SATO Corporation.

SATO transferred its accounts payable processes to OpusCapita in summer 2014. The package includes accounts payable services and systems, arranged as a cloud service, as well as process development. In early 2015, SATO adopted a new procurement system provided by one of OpusCapita’s partners.

“We chose OpusCapita as our partner because they had a comprehensive view and were able to rapidly offer systems and services that met our needs. I’m pleased with their flexible attitude and their approach to working with us and wanting to get things done. OpusCapita customized its service package to our specific needs, giving consideration to what would be beneficial for us.”

Timely decisions

SATO Corporation receives invoices from a total of 1,800 suppliers. Invoices are approved not only by SATO’s own employees, but also by 40 property managers who are responsible for SATO’s properties at Realia Management.

The transfer of accounts payable services to OpusCapita has already accelerated purchase invoice circulation, and the functionalities of the revised process will be complemented by automatic purchase order and purchase invoice reconciliation, among other features. The next step is the implementation of a “no PO, no pay” policy. In other words, only invoices that include a procurement system reference number will be approved for payment.

“This will streamline the approval procedure and reduce uncertainty. Previously, busy people had to spend time checking whether invoices were legitimate. Now they will be able to focus on the content – that is, checking whether the product or service was delivered as agreed and filing complaints if necessary.”

According to Nadbornik, process automation also serves to support timely decisions: purchases are justified and approved for payment during the ordering stage, obviating the need to start looking into the appropriateness of a purchase when the invoice for it has already been received. This systematic operating method also improves supplier relationships: payments will no longer be delayed, as long as invoices include the information required by the process.

Read the whole case here.

SATO Corporation is a leading Finnish housing investment company. It owns a total of more than 24,200 rental homes in the Helsinki Metropolitan Area, Tampere, Turku, Oulu and Jyväskylä in Finland and in St Petersburg in Russia. The value of SATO’s investment assets is around EUR 2.5 billion. The SATO Group’s net sales were EUR 312 million in 2014. The Group employs an average of 165 people.