Case Study: Global Retailer
How a global retailer cut its invoice processing costs $20,000-plus a month by eliminating steps, color and complexity.
About the customer
This iconic multinational corporation designs, develops, manufactures, markets and sells footwear, apparel, accessories, equipment and services throughout the world. Based in the U.S., the company has billions in annual revenues and employs tens of thousands of people globally. It also has a thriving retail operation with more than 1,000 brick and mortar stores worldwide, an e-commerce site and sells to thousands of retail accounts, independent distributors and licensees.
Current invoice print and mail vendor closing facility
Need to find experienced print and mail partner quickly
Invoices and statements with multiple setups increases costs
Color printing adds complexity and cost
The global retailer was processing approximately 45,000 invoices a month at another vendor's offsite facility when it learned the operation was shutting down. In need of a new partner quickly to keep invoices flowing and payments coming in, the retailer approached Ricoh for support. We had a longtime relationship with the retailer, providing hardware, managed services and business optimization services to help the organization become an efficient digital workplace.
However, the retailer's desire to continue with business as usual and not alter its processes presented issues. Its invoices and statements had multiple setups that increased costs. Its information was being printed in color — a practice typically reserved for marketing-driven communications — when invoices were only seen by business partners receiving products.
The retailer already had a managed services agreement with us, which would make it easy to add outsourced invoice printing and mailing without having to issue an RFP. They turned to us to devise solutions that would meet SLA requirements such as 24-hour turnarounds, preserve the integrity of their data and drive down costs.
$20,000-plus in monthly cost savings
Fast 24-hour turnarounds from data receipt to mailing
Analytics driven decision-making
New acquisition onboarded in U.S. and Europe
Since moving its invoice printing and mailing to our Business Information Services center, the retailer has saved nearly $20,000 in monthly costs. This was achieved by eliminating color printing on non-marketing driven invoices, commingling mail pieces and continuing the retailer's practice of householding — bundling multiple invoices sent to a single buyer.
The SLA with 24-hour turnarounds is consistently met. The retailer also receives daily reports and analytics that document each mailed invoice and help the company make informed decisions that could improve the process and further reduce costs.
The retailer is so pleased with our invoice print and mail services that it had us onboard a new global acquisition into our process — first in Europe, then in the U.S. and Canada. If new lines of business are added in the future, invoice processing for those acquisitions may also be integrated into Ricoh's Business Information Services centers.
How We Did It
The retailer processes approximately 45,000 invoices a month through a Ricoh Business Information Services (BIS) center, ranging from two sheets per envelope to hundreds of sheets.
Conducted a proof of concept at our Business Information Services center
Converted to a window envelope with cover letter insert
Eliminated color printing
Combined multiple invoices into single mailing
We had an established Business Information Services center dedicated to print and mail in Cleveland, Ohio. The facility handles printing and mailing for large enterprises just like the retailer. However, we suggested altering the retailer's established workflow to reduce print and mail costs.
We showed the retailer the benefits of eliminating steps, using a standardized envelope with a larger window and adding a cover letter. With this standardized envelope, more information could be printed on the cover letter and revealed through the enlarged window — eliminating the need to print on the envelope. We persuaded the retailer to abandon color printing on its envelopes and invoices as this information isn't a marketing tool that needs to stand out. We continued their established process of householding, which indexes information for each buyer and groups all their monthly invoices into one envelope — rather than sending invoices separately. We also demonstrated how the data we process is secured because we destroy all data within 24 hours of producing an invoice statement.
Once the retailer was comfortable with our process and procedure, we embarked on a proof of concept — running jobs in tandem with the previous vendor for a trial period. The retailer sent us their data through their billing systems, we printed each piece and commingled as much mail as possible for postal discounts. We ran generic filters for bad addresses and culled out atypical pieces intended for P.O. boxes or military posts. When the envelopes were ready to mail, our RICOH ProcessDirector print workflow software automatically generated a mail manifest and the envelopes were tagged for post office delivery. After reviewing the information produced during the proof of concept, the retailer was confident we could meet the SLA requirement of 24 hour turnarounds from data receipt to mailing and reduce costs.