Automation Solutions and Cloud Faxing Help Network Services Simplify IT Landscape

Esker, the leader in document process automation solutions, announced today it has been selected by Network Services Company, an international, member-owned distribution network, to automate outbound mailing and faxing of purchase orders, invoices and accounts receivable statements. Integrated with Network Services’ newly adopted SAP® system, the Esker solution has streamlined processing of its 3,000+ documents per month to over 100 suppliers, customers and member-distributors.

Past processes
Prior to integrating with SAP and utilizing the Esker solution, Network Services relied on a variety of legacy systems to manage their fax and mail volume. In total, three different fax systems and a mail house were in place across three ERP systems, each with their own unique set of burdensome characteristics.

“Each of our operating companies had its own faxing system that went with its ERP system, and when we acquired a new company in 2009, we inherited another ERP system, along with all the quirks that came with it,” said Paul Roche, CIO of Network Services. “It made for a terribly inefficient process — month end mailing processes typically took 7-10 days to reach the end customer, and the processes placed strain on our IT personnel to check and manage multiple servers each day. Plus, we were supporting a large hardware, software and maintenance costs for faxing.”

Solution Search
The decision was made to consolidate everything into one ERP system through implementation of SAP. Subsequently, Paul Roche and others at Network Services sought a certified SAP partner to maximize the efficiency of an on-demand solution. “We went to numerous conferences to discover who the leaders were in hosted solutions and SAP partnership — Esker quickly catapulted to the top of the list,” said Roche. “Not only did Esker allow us to avoid installing and managing new software, we could do fax and mail all from the same cloud-based platform. It was a no-brainer.”

Promising results
With the Esker solution, Network Services was able to eliminate their old fax systems and fully integrate outbound faxing and mailing of purchase orders, invoices and AR statements from SAP. Now, incoming copies of all documents automatically go back from Esker into the SAP system, making images immediately available from the interface, visible from within SAP to all appropriate parties.

Paul Roche has already seen the significant benefits of supporting one platform. “From an IT standpoint, and even company-wide, we’ve made major strides in simplification, visibility and efficiency,” says Roche. “It’s quite remarkable — where several IT people used to have to manage and monitor multiple systems, now everything is in one place, managed by a single person. The mailing process used to take one week or more, and now files sent to Esker to be mailed go out the next day.”

On reducing errors and increasing visibility, Roche added, “If a supplier has a question about a purchase order, with single click accessibility, our users can open the PDF directly from within the transaction in SAP. We’re guaranteed to be looking at the same image, so there’s no need for us to search the fax system and do a reprint. It’s incredibly easy to set up new users and delegate additional users to gain access. Based on our success with PO’s and AR documents outbound, we’re definitely looking to do inbound accounts payable in the future.”