Monthly Archives: September 2011

Supply Chain Integration Introduction: Part 1 – What?

In his article, Defining Supply Chain Management, JT Menzer provides the following definition: “Supply chain management is the systematic, strategic coordination of the traditional business functions and the tactics across these business functions within a particular company and across businesses within the supply chain, for the purposes of improving the long-term performance of the individual companies and the supply chain as a whole.”White Board

Going beyond this definition, Supply Chain Integration is the use of technology to underpin the coordination of these business functions. Businesses implementing Supply Chain Integration use a common platform like Celtrino’s Smart Admin, to provide a way to connect the disparate systems at each business and the transactional workflow required to move from raw materials to saleable product and the data interchange between each supplier in the process.

In the past, every step of the supply chain required manual intervention to process and progress orders and generate the paperwork required to keep track of each interaction. The supplier of raw materials would receive a manual purchase order from the manufacturer and in return create a manual invoice. Several documents would then change hands at every point of the initial purchase process to keep everything on track and ensure an accurate audit trail of the sale. This flurry of documents is then repeated at every step along the supply chain right up to the final sale.

Supply Chain Integration reduces the amount of paper changing hands, replacing them with electronic versions which are presented directly into the accounts system of each supplier and buyer. Often the full details of each transaction are also available through a B2B Supply Chain Management Portal, allowing all parties in the supply chain to see the details of their interactions and allowing for historical analysis of the financial implications of the relationship.


Supply Chain Integration Part 2

Supply Chain Integration Part 3

Supply Chain Integration Part 4

Supply Chain Integration Part 5


Accounts receivable in the cloud and how you can benefit

Find out how you can make bottom line savings in your accounts receivable solution.

True e-Invoicing

Much has been made of Denmark’s transition to mandatory electronic invoicing in 2005 which requires any business who trades with the government to submit their invoices in an electronic format. The success of the system has seen the Danish government making efficiency savings of between €120 and €150 million each year since 2005.

e-Invoicing: Netherlands versus DenmarkSuch headline figures have seen many other national governments looking to implement similar systems with a view to reaping comparable cost savings. The Dutch government have been the latest to make a headline-grabbing statement about e-invoicing, but the technologies they have implemented fall outside what is typically thought of as e-invoicing.

So what is e-Invoicing?

At its most basic level and as the name implies, e-Invoicing is the presentation of an invoice for products or services electronically. e-Procurement platforms such as that operated by the Danish Government, allow suppliers to generate electronic payment demands which are then submitted directly into the Government accounts system.

What isn’t e-Invoicing?

Many people, including the Dutch Government think submission of an electronic version of a document is the same as an e-Invoice. Under this definition, simply emailing a Word document or a PDF counts as an e-invoice because the payment demand is transmitted electronically.

Why does it matter?

Although there are similarities between the Danish and Dutch electronic invoicing systems, the Danes have a clear advantage. By having suppliers submit electronic invoices directly into their accounts system, the Danish Government recognise cost savings immediately through reduced time and effort manually entering invoice details themselves. As soon as the eInvoice is received it is ready for authorisation and payment by the Treasury.

The Dutch Government also receive invoices immediately as documents are attached to emails allowing for savings in postage at the very least. However these invoices must then be manually re-entered into the accounts system, requiring additional staff and duplication of effort for both supplier and customer. As a result, any cost savings recognised by the Dutch Government “e-Invoicing” system will be well below those of Denmark.

The use of a true e-Invoicing system generates substantial cost savings for both buyer and supplier. If in doubt as to whether a suggested system will generate the savings you hope for, try speaking to a specialist provider such as Celtrino.

Accounts Payable and Improving Business Efficiency

Find out how you can make bottom line savings in your accounts payable solution.

PO Flip – What is it?

As with any new concept, eProcurement has brought with it a number of new terms and phrases to describe certain functions within the process. One of the strangest phrases entering into the vocabulary of procurement and accounting professions is the “PO Flip”.

At the most basic level, a PO Flip is the conversion of a Purchase Order into an Invoice using the tools available in eProcurement or Electronic Invoice Presentment and Payment (EIPP) platforms, such as Celtrino’s own Smart Admin system. An eProcurement platform allows customers to submit their purchase orders electronically directly into the supplier’s accounting system. Using the automated tools available, the supplier can then automatically “flip” the purchase order into an electronic invoice for immediate return to the customer.

Card Flipping

PO Flips have become massively popular with suppliers to the public sector as local councils and even central government carry out more procurement via online platforms which provide the function as standard. Both supplier and buyer then benefit from the reduced time spent on administration of the purchase.

Upon receipt of an electronic invoice (also known as an eInvoice), the buyer can approve the purchase and authorise a BACS payment at the click of a mouse button. By automating the purchasing process, buyers and suppliers reduce the margin for human error and unforeseen delays associated with posting invoices, cheques and remittance advice.

Reduction of time expenditure in accounts administration has the added benefit of freeing up finance staff to focus on other areas of their roles. If the resource requirements continue to be reduced through further implementation of eProcurement and the outsourcing of associated systems, significant costs savings can also be recognised through a reduction in headcount.

The PO Flip is but one of many time-saving devices available to users of outsourced EIPP gateways such as Smart Admin from Celtrino. To find out more how your business could benefit from outsourced EIPP, please visit

ERP: Extract the maximum value out of your business systems

For many businesses undertaking a major business process outsourcing project, several questions arise as to how the changes will affect interactions with other suppliers and customers. Taking a holistic view, Celtrino can assist in implementing changes which will not only benefit your business, but also provide your partners with potential savings as a result.

digital worldOn a more basic level, Celtrino’s Smart Admin service provides a method by which a company can integrate its internal accounting and ERP system to produce a fully automated, transparent EIPP (Electronic Invoice Presentment and Payment) system. Essentially all of the paperwork traditionally associated with the accounts department is rendered and presented electronically to the relevant customer or supplier. Businesses outsourcing their processes in this manner reap immediate cost savings through increased automation, a reduction in duplicated effort and a low total cost of ownership.

Celtrino’s Smart Admin e-Solutions also include the ability to create B2B supply chain management portals, allowing multiple suppliers to integrate ERP and accounting systems via the cloud. Smart Admin features support for a wide variety of popular back office applications, including Sage, SAP, Oracle and Microsoft, converting any file format into a version readable by the receiver. Using EDI, the supply chain documents are sent from supplier to buyer and vice versa, with a speed and ease unavailable through traditional supply chain management channels.

Businesses forming such a strategic partnership immediately share the benefits of being able to present and pay invoices electronically and submit the relevant remittance advice directly into each others accounts systems via the Smart Admin platform.

As well as the technical know-how, Celtrino can also offer extensive experience in trading community onboarding by helping suppliers and partners recognise the many financial and procedural benefits available through the use of a B2B supply chain management portal. After all, when it comes to reduced costs through business process outsourcing, what is good for your business is also good for your suppliers.



TOPAZ awarded the Insight NACS International Convenience Retailer award

Insight NACS Future of convinienceTOPAZ was awarded the Insight NACS 2011 International Convenience Retailer of the Year Award at a gala dinner last night in London. This award represents a major milestone in the history of the company and is an acknowledgement by industry peers from across Europe that it transforms the service experience for its consumers.

TOPAZ beat off stiff competition from across Europe and included notable competitors such as LS travel retail from France, Morrisons M-local from the UK, Reitan Servicehandel Shell/7-Eleven from Norway, Sourced Market, St Pancras International, also from the UK.
Don Longo, editor in chief Convenience Store News, summed up the overall sentiment among the judges. “[It] wasn’t easy to separate them. Great entries,” he said.

Stephanie Rice, founder of Rice Retail Marketing, agreed. “Wow – what a list of fantastic entries. It has been really hard to choose a shortlist,” she said. Ramon Kuijpers, international key accounts manager at Award sponsor, Imperial Tobacco; and a judge, said: “The top convenience retailers truly bring their format to life. They strongly appeal to the demanding shopper needs, providing them with high service, great quality and a differentiated offer for acceptable prices,” he said.

“Despite the economic downturn, this results in impressive sales growth figures. Sustainable growth is secured as they stick to their format’s core values, further strengthen their involvement in the local community and put great effort in continuing their staff development.” Topaz impressed judges for its commitment to its people and the community.

The new mTopaz logootorway design was considered very dynamic and well executed; and really looked after the dashboard diner, they said.

“Topaz appeared to be an innovation leader for the convenience channel; through the integration and use of technology across multiple platforms, from pay at the pump to social media and smart phones apps,” said Joe Bona, president retail division at CBX.

Suppliers dilemma – Keep up or shut up shop (e-Invoicing)

Want to know how you can improve your customers bottom line through e-Invoicing? Read on…

Google+ at the digital coalface of the supply chain!

Google’s latest ‘doodle’ harks back to the golden age of TV advertising in the 1940s and 50s when audiences had a choice of three channels.

Google+ Ad on the Google homepage

 Advertisers with healthy budgets could air their ads across the three channels thereby catching the entire TV viewing population of North America. At its height from 1951-53 ‘I Love Lucy,’ aired on CBS, drew a weekly audience of over 67 million. Today, approximately 99 million people visit Google every week and the online search company has taken the decision to leverage its reach by breaking with its norm by placing an animated ad for Google+ on its homepage.

Why is this ad important? Google had north of 25 million registered users for Google+ in August 2011. With an ad reach to 99 million weekly viewers this ad changes the landscape for social media and provides a much needed shot in the arm for Google+. The undisputed leader is Facebook with 700 million members so Google+ has a long way to go to even remotely impact on the Facebook numbers, but Google appears to have the wherewith all to leverage  resources and muscle to be patient. Over in the other corner, Microsoft is running to standstill with losses on Bing reported to be running at $1 billion per quarter.Family in USA gathers around TV in late 1940s

If we step back in time, briefly to 1941, all of 70 years ago, the first television advertisement was broadcast in the United States. The watchmaker Bulova paid $9 for a placement on New York station WNBT before a baseball game between the Brooklyn Dodgers and Philadelphia Phillies. The 20-second spot displayed a picture of a clock superimposed on a map of the United States, accompanied by the voice-over “America runs on Bulova time.

It was all of 14 years later in 1955 that the first ad would air on UK TV when advertising Gibbs SR toothpaste. The commercial owed its prime placing to chance. The Gibbs advertisement had come first in a lottery drawn with 23 other advertisements, including those for Guinness, Surf, National Benzole, Brown & Polson Custard and Summer County Margarine.

Before Google and Facebook and other online companies arrived, the supply chain(s) and route(s) to market for marketing and sales executives was pretty straight forward. With primary research we segmented and advertised to those segments (via TV, radio and print), and then shipped products to those segments either directly or through various channels. A simple I know,  overview but it helps to paint the picture.

Now, as of writing on September 21st 2011, there is an entire new world living online and it never sleeps. The real challenge for supply chains is how to listen to the conversations that are taking place and how best to engage with the happy and not so happy consumers of our products or services. As so many brands have found out, not listening is more detrimental because by listening, at least then you can engage and offer your point of view.

Do you have a Google+ account?

e-Procurement in the EU

As with many technological advances, governments frequently lag behind their private sector citizens. However following a 3 month consultation period, the European Commission has reported “considerable support” for the institution of a mandatory standardised EU-wide e-procurement solution.

In a statement outlining the main findings of the consultation, the EC said: “There is broad support for EU-level action, including the use of legislation, to facilitate the use of standardised e-procurement solutions. A small majority of respondents support the imposition of EU-level requirements to use e-procurement.”

Euro sign on the computer keyboard

Echoing the concerns of private sector implementers of procure-to-pay solutions, 60% of respondents commented that “overcoming inertia and fear” would be the largest barriers to the success of e-procurement deployments, particularly in cross-border situations. Concerns were also raised about the potential for a lack of standards or onerous technical requirements.

The EC is now calling on e-procurement and B2B supply chain management specialists to join an expert group with a view to creating a blueprint for common solutions. The EC is also set to monitor the use of e-purchasing within its member states  to observe and promote best practices.

One of the lessons the public sector has learned in the arena of supply chain automation and e-procurement is that implementations of such systems need be neither complex nor onerous. Outsourcing of procurement processes to specialist providers has proven to be both cost effective and extremely efficient, removing much of the administrative burden associated with e-procurement. Using cloud-based Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) systems such as Celtrino’s Smart Admin platform, businesses can take advantage of sophisticated data format conversions to deliver Electronic Invoice Presentment and Payment (EIPP) information directly into a supplier’s accounting system.

The use of outsourced EDI Managed Services have proven to be of great benefit to private sector businesses by transferring the day to day responsibilities for managing complex data sets and transformations to the service providers, generating cost savings as a direct result. It is therefore feasible for governments to reap similar benefits through use of the same platforms and processes.