Automation supports financial administration services at Stark


Stark, a leading building supplies company in Finland, wanted to ease the manual workload of their employees in an invoicing service process. The solution to the challenge was found in automation, and Stark chose Sisua Digital as their partner for their first automation project. After the successful project, the company has already started building next automations and plans to continue scaling up the automation.

When Stark contacted Sisua Digital, they already knew which process they wanted to automate. It was an invoicing service provided by the financial administration department, which was a laborious and time-consuming process for the financial team.

"This invoice processing was done mostly manually. Employees have to copy invoice information from purchase invoices to outgoing invoices. We wanted to transfer this task of copying information to a robot," explains Tanja Kajander, Stark's invoicing Team Leader.

The company sells construction products from numerous different suppliers to its customers. Stark offers its suppliers an invoicing service by ordering the products the customers need from the suppliers. The supplier delivers the products directly to Stark’s customers and the invoicing goes through Stark.

"Many things have to be taken into account in the invoicing process. We have a huge number of suppliers and the invoices from different suppliers come in different forms", says Kajander.

Stark’s employees have previously produced this service manually. Now the robot takes care of this work by first retrieving the purchase invoice from the invoice system and the order from the ERP system. The robot then reads the specified information from the purchase invoice and enters it into the sales order.

"The robot performs the same operations as a human: it uses the same invoicing system and copies the data as it has been taught. Once the robot has completed the order, an employee checks whether the order has been completed correctly and issues the invoice authorization," explains Kajander.

If there is information missing on the invoice, the robot notifies the employees of the problem.

The invoice service automation increases employee satisfaction and speeds up customer service

The most important thing for Stark in developing the automation was to transfer the tedious copying task to the robot.

"Copying these texts was burdensome and we wanted to reduce it so that employees could concentrate on other invoicing tasks," explains Kajander.

"We wanted to use automation to increase employee satisfaction and, of course, save working hours," says Iiris Pullinen, Stark's Accounting Manager.

Additionally, automation has improved the quality of the process and made more data available.

"The robot processes the invoices efficiently and makes no typing errors, which also eliminates humane errors," explains Kajander.

"To enable the implementation of the robot, we had to make changes to the ERP system, like how the robot enters product information on incoming invoices. Previously, employees would abbreviate the data to fit into a specific field. Now we introduced an additional field for the robot, which made the product information more accurate," adds Pullinen.

While the robot makes the process more efficient, it speeds up the service too.

"Customer service is faster and invoicing is more accurate," confirms Pullinen.

"The invoicing workload varies according to the season and the robot helps us to balance the workload," says Kajander.

Last August, for example, the robot processed and fed more than 8,000 product lines into the system, which would take several dozen hours if they were processed by a human.

"The robot handled about a quarter of the product lines in August, which is the equivalent of at least one person's work. The robot allows employees to spend working hours where human judgement is needed, which makes work more meaningful," says Pullinen.

Another automation has already been built for the financial team to assist with routine tasks

After the first automation, Stark identified that they had another similar process where a robot could help eliminate manual workload. It was also a customer-facing process.


The customers can apply for a customer account in Stark’s stores or on their website. Before creating a customer account, the customer must make an electronic account application, which creates a customer contract, on the basis of which the customer account is opened in Stark’s operational management system.


Previously, credit managers entered customer data into the system and now a robot does it. The robot reads the contract data that comes in via the API interface and enters it into the ERP system. After the robot creates the customer accounts, it sends a list of the opened customer ID numbers to the credit managers.


In the case of a customer account with credit, Stark’s credit control will carry out a credit check and make a decision on the credit limit to be granted. The credit limit is then added on the account application and then the robot processes the approved application. Once the application is approved by Stark’ employee in their application system, a command is sent to the robot and it enters the data into the ERP system.

"Here, too, the most important thing was to remove this manual task and data copying from people. The number of errors likewise decreases when the robot does this," comments Kajander.

Especially in the spring and summer, customer service and credit control teams are very busy with these customer account openings, which is why Stark wanted to alleviate the workload during these peak seasons. The goal of the automation was to make the process more efficient.

"Improving customer service and streamlining the process was an important aspect in this. The robot has allowed us to reallocate the teams’ time to more relevant and meaningful tasks," explains Pullinen.

Next plans are to further develop the automations and scale them up

The cooperation that started in the fall of 2021 has gone well.

"The experience with automation has been definitely positive. We didn't have robotics experts in our company before, so our automation journey started with Sisua Digital. Now that we have tackled our first projects, we have realised that a robot could do even more things," Kajander says.

"With the invoice automation, we knew it wasn't the easiest thing to automate, but we wanted to start with it because it made a big difference to us. Automation allows us to reduce routine tasks and allocate time to those tasks that cannot be replaced by automation," Pullinen points out.

Stark plans to further develop the existing automations. 

"Now, thanks to the robot, we have been able to collect more data of the invoiced products. With the collected data, we may be able to streamline the entire invoice sales process even more in the future," says Pullinen.

Stark has an Automation Roadmap and will continue to scale their automations. The automations are built on UiPath technology, which is used in the Stark Group as well. The aim is to make extensive use of robotics and to increase internal automation expertise.

"We have explored automation opportunities outside financial administration too. As a result, we have already started to develop an automation for product price maintenance. Nowadays, product prices change frequently, so it is important to promptly update the prices in the system and check that the prices are correct," Pullinen continues.

Future automations could be found, for example, in the company’s logistics and operations.

"We want to keep our eyes open and find use cases where automation would be suitable," concludes Pullinen.

Author: Paiju Koivula

What was achieved

Automation benefits


About the company


Stark  is a Finnish building supplies company. Stark’s online store and 27 stores serve construction professionals and renovators all over Finland. The company has been in operation for over 150 years and employs around 1100 people. Stark is part of Stark Group, the largest building materials company in Northern Europe.

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