Global tire manufacturer speeds vendor payments

IBM Production Imaging Edition software helps streamline the accounts payable process

Published on 17-Sep-2012

"Our automated IBM workflow solution has helped us take a process that used to require 14 steps and five to seven days to complete and reduce it to a process that can be completed in a single day with nine primarily automated steps." - Accounts payable manager, global tire manufacturer

A global tire manufacturer

Industrial Products

Enterprise Content Management

IBM Business Partner:
Electronic Knowledge Interchange (EKI)


A leading global tire manufacturer, this company maintains operations in approximately 50 plants in more than 20 countries. With sales in the USD billions, the company employs more than 70,000 people worldwide.

Business need:
Centralizing accounts payable (AP) processing nearly doubled the workload for AP clerks at the company’s world headquarters.

IBM Premier Business Partner EKI helped implement the IBM Production Imaging Edition solution to scan invoices, extract data and link images to automated workflow.

The company processes invoices in one-fifth the time, virtually eliminating delayed payments.

Case Study

A leading global tire manufacturer, this company maintains operations in approximately 50 plants in more than 20 countries. With sales in the USD billions, the company employs more than 70,000 people worldwide.

In 2006, the company centralized its accounts payable (AP) operations. The move nearly doubled the number of invoices to process at its world headquarters, highlighting the need for process improvement.

The organization’s AP clerks were keying in invoice data to the ERP system and manually indexing invoice images for storage into an IBM® FileNet® content repository. Human error was causing all kinds of headaches. “AP clerks would sometimes transpose an invoice number or key in the wrong date or vendor code when manually entering invoice data,” recalled the AP manager.

The invoice approval process was similarly labor-intensive. AP clerks created email requests for approval and attached the relevant documents. The process was bogged down with invoices that many people touched numerous times.

Delays had consequences. “We need to ensure that we pay our vendors’ invoices in a timely fashion. If we miss getting critical payments processed by the check-run date, we have to issue special ‘quick pay’ checks to these vendors, which requires added labor and operational costs,” said the AP manager.

The company contracted with IBM Premier Business Partner Electronic Knowledge Interchange (EKI) to implement IBM Production Imaging Edition software for scanning invoices and managing them electronically through automated workflow. The workflow component was a major reason for the decision to go with IBM, because the project team could automate the AP approval process using existing IBM Lotus Notes® software. In addition, the solution extracts data from virtually any invoice—whether paper scan, fax or email attachment—for comparison with transactional information in the ERP system.

The business now batches and scans invoices and attachments using two scanners driven by the IBM Datacap Taskmaster Accounts Payable Capture software component in the IBM solution, which also deskews, despeckles and helps optimize the images for recognition. The system then applies full-page optical character recognition (OCR) to extract data for a three-way match. The invoices go through the “fingerprint” process, which identifies each vendor by the layout of the invoice and the remit-to ZIP code. Each fingerprint maintains the data locations on every invoice for faster data extraction. At this point, clerks evaluate the image and data side by side in the Taskmaster Verify screen. They can correct any OCR errors or fields that have failed business rules, helping ensure that the data passed along to the company’s ERP system is accurate. Finally, the company indexes the images for efficient search and retrieval and stores them in the FileNet content repository with the appropriate retention schedule. Invoices without associated purchase orders are routed through the Lotus Notes workflow.

• Reduces invoice approval turnaround time from almost one week to one day, a decrease of approximately 80 percent
• Virtually eliminates exception handling as a result of data input errors
• Doubles invoice volume with no increase in head count

For more information
To learn more about IBM Production Imaging Edition software or IBM Datacap Taskmaster Accounts Payable Capture, please contact your IBM marketing representative or IBM Business Partner, or visit the following website,

Products and services used

IBM products and services that were used in this case study.

Datacap Taskmaster Accounts Payable Capture, Production Imaging Edition

Legal Information

© Copyright IBM Corporation 2012 IBM Corporation Software Group Route 100 Somers, NY 10589 Produced in the United States of America August 2012 IBM, the IBM logo,, FileNet and Lotus Notes are trademarks of International Business Machines Corp., registered in many jurisdictions worldwide. Other product and service names might be trademarks of IBM or other companies. A current list of IBM trademarks is available on the web at “Copyright and trademark information” at This document is current as of the initial date of publication and may be changed by IBM at any time. Not all offerings are available in every country in which IBM operates. THE INFORMATION IN THIS DOCUMENT IS PROVIDED “AS IS” WITHOUT ANY WARRANTY, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, INCLUDING WITHOUT ANY WARRANTIES OF MERCHANTABILITY, FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE AND ANY WARRANTY OR CONDITION OF NON­INFRINGEMENT. IBM products are warranted according to the terms and conditions of the agreements under which they are provided.