Earlier this month at Ariba Live, Kimberly-Clark’s Richard Roe (Project Lead for e-Invoicing and Ordering) gave some background on his company’s supplier enablement and connectivity program. Kimberley-Clark’s goals are pretty much in line with industry norms – improve cycle times, reduce errors, avoid unnecessary human involvement in the A/P and invoicing process, reduce supplier inquiries when self-service code suffices, etc. From a metrics perspective, Roe noted that their goals are to drive 90% e-invoicing and 98% electronic purchase order adoption by 2015. In terms of scaling their volume with Ariba during this time frame, the company is hoping to put “50-75%” of its spend through the Ariba Network.
The challenges Roe cited during his talk should be a familiar refrain to most organizations attempting to scale up e-invoicing and supplier connectivity programs. Challenges include bridging the gap between procurement and finance (and suppliers!), as well as being able to put enough resources against the problem from a roll-out and adoption standpoint. Furthermore, competing agendas that pit strategic initiatives against tactical ones can also be detrimental to adoption speed and, ultimately, program success over a shorter time frame.
Thus far, Kimberley-Clark has been able to enable approximately 1,000 suppliers on a PO-basis over the Ariba network. This group accounts for roughly 20,000 POs per month and 25,000 invoices flowing through the Ariba network. E-invoicing rates now exceed two-thirds for this group. From a lessons learned perspective, one point should especially resonate with both metrics-driven procurement and A/P organizations (Six Sigma focused organizations will love this). It is necessary to consider measuring and implementing continuous improvement approaches with various “checks and adjustments” to program elements. Roe also suggested the importance of analytics and dashboards to “help listen to the voice of the process” as a means of checking in on performance and progress.