CUSTOMER CASE | RETAIL
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.
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.
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.
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.
Additionally, automation has improved the quality of the process and made more data available.
While the robot makes the process more efficient, it speeds up the service too.
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.
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.
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.
Next plans are to further develop the automations and scale them up
The cooperation that started in the fall of 2021 has gone well.
Stark plans to further develop the existing automations.
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.
Future automations could be found, for example, in the company’s logistics and operations.
Author: Paiju Koivula
What was achieved
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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