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Respo: running around with paper invoices is not working

Founded in 1990, Respo Haagised AS is based on Estonian capital and known for their high quality trailers. During their 32 years of operations, they have become a market leader in Scandinavia. One of the key factors to success has been keeping their processes and structure up-to-date. “Invoice handling must also keep up with the times. If one department is not maximizing its potential, this can impact other departments as well,” says Toomas Antons, director of Respo Haagised AS.

Why did you decide to implement e-invoicing?

In our company, all departments must cooperate to produce a quality trailer. It is important that the information shared between departments is correct and people can do their jobs as efficiently as possible. In a growing company, it is not reasonable to run around the office with paper invoices. It just does not work that way.

What were your expectations for the e-invoicing process?

The easier the transition process and the faster users accept it, the better. With this type of e-solutions or other cloud based services the only fear is connected to data security. Might the data and information leak? We kept that in mind when finding an operator and chose Telema because of their experience in the e-invoicing area.

Describe the AP process and approving in Respo before Telema eFlow

Before Telema eFlow, we even received some invoices on paper by regular mail. Most invoices were sent electronically via email. Invoices were printed out and the papers moved from one person to another. To process and approve invoices we needed a physical signature on the paper. There are about 130 people working in our company, which means sometimes you have to run to the other side of the building with the invoice. Those runners were mainly people who were late with their approval, but also accountants and assistants. People had to take the invoice to the accounting in person.

What were the biggest challenges using the old system?

The biggest challenge of the old system was the waste of time and huge internal administrative confusion. In those days approving one invoice could take weeks. There was no overview of which invoice was waiting for approval on whose table. Invoice landed on approver’s desk with a yellow post-it. On average there are 2-3 approvers and if one of them is on a vacation, others might not know about it. That is why some invoices could lay on the desk for weeks before reaching the next approver.

There were situations when the invoice was faulty or we were dealing with a refund. As we had no overview, one person might have been informed of the problem and other employees did not have any information on the subject. Sometimes invoices got lost. Then they were reprinted or we had to ask the supplier to resend them. When the invoice got reprinted, we faced duplicate problems. Although a lot of invoices were sent by email and could be located fast, some companies still faxed us invoices that we kept in cardboard boxes in the archive. You needed to ask for accountants’ help to find a specific invoice there.

What were your expectations for the new solution and partner?

Most important criteria were user convenience, possibility to integrate with our ERP and reasonable price. Main expectation for the partner was to get prompt action in case of any problems. We have used Telema eFlow solution since 2016. It has helped us make the invoice handling faster and more efficient. We believe an efficient accounts payable process is the foundation for producing good quality trailers.

Were you satisfied with the implementation process?

Everything went according to the plan and as described, no surprises there. Today we have control over the system, all purchase invoices can be found fast and we have transparency of the invoices that are in the approval flow. Of course implementing a new system took some extra time from the person who created the initial coding rules. But if you consider time saved for the entire company, it is a huge gain compared to the previous process.

How did the approval process change?

Approving became a lot easier and we saved a lot of time. Approvers receive email notification, if some invoices are waiting for approval. People who do it daily already know that they need to log into the portal a couple of times a day. I have also used a mobile device for approving invoices, it is very convenient using the eFlow mobile app. The biggest change was that people do not have to be there physically – they can approve invoices from any part of the world any time.

What would you say to people who are thinking about using Telema eFlow?

Even in a production company, software has a huge role to play. With software, it is possible to make processes much more efficient and we strive for that daily. For people who are still thinking about automating their accounts payable processes and implementing e-invoices, I recommend doing it as fast as you can. The best way to understand how much resources were spent unreasonably is to start using the new system. It is difficult to see when using the old systems. After you have implemented the new system, there is no way back.

Who do you recommend Telema eFlow for?

First, I would recommend Telema eFlow solution to companies whose personnel or invoice amount has grown and whose employees are not located on the same premises. The offices can be scattered across the country or across the world. The solution also gives you a competitive advantage. Software helps each person to create more value within the same time span.

AS Respo

Countries operating inFinland, Sweden, Norway, Latvia, Lithuania, Germany, France
Number of purchase invoices (in a month)400+
Purchase invoice approvers60+
ERPMS Dynamics NAV
Purchase invoice automation systemTelema eFlow

AS Respo Haagised was founded in 1990 and is the market leader in Estonia, producing different trailers for Baltic and Scandinavian markets. They make 65 trailers in a work day (producing 1 trailer every 8 minutes), exporting trailers to Finland, Sweden, Norway, Latvia, Lithuania, Germany and France.

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