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New Look Profits from Scanning and e-invoicing

New Look is using a new universal trading and document imaging solution that allows it to electronically exchange documents with its trading partners and suppliers. The system enables New Look to fully automate its document processing and will deliver immediate cost savings and improved efficiency.

The solution has been developed by P2D, a business services company that specialises in document systems that turn 'paper to data'. Using a KODAK i160 scanner as an integral component, P2D offers all the benefits of EDI at a fraction of the normal cost. Whereas EDI is traditionally the preserve of large corporates and is normally too expensive for small businesses, the P2D solution allows all suppliers to join at no cost to them.

The P2D solution with Kodak scanner provides a more efficient invoice processing system for New Look and its suppliers. As the company expands, it will mean operational costs associated with the finance function will be minimized and staff freed up to focus on core activities not invoice management and approval.

The solution acts as an electronic exchange for documents such as invoices, orders and balance statements and automates the manual processes with a secure service. Documents are transmitted directly between New Look and supplier systems removing costly and error prone data entry. Each transaction is delivered for a fixed transaction cost of 25 pence - less than the cost of the stamp that an invoice printed and posted to the retailer would cost. Some reports estimate that the variable paper and delivery cost of a traditional invoice is over ?1.20.

Since the system went live, 120 suppliers have already agreed to use it, and 300 are expected to be online within the next 6 months, with P2D supporting them to get set up correctly.

The P2D solution is an electronic hub that receives documents as either data files direct from its suppliers or images from New Look's KODAK i160 scanner. The data is extracted from the images using the latest rules-based Optical and Intelligent Character Recognition technology.

The hub handles all incoming paperwork from a New Look supplier. This can include a document such as a standard paper invoice or a delivery note that needs to be matched to other documents the system allows all back up documentation to be attached to an invoice so New Look staff can see granular detail. The invoice is then scanned and sent to the hub which keeps the original paperwork and extracts the data required for the accounting systems in use. The data is then translated and the original invoice archived for future retrieval and auditing.

Supplier invoices can be accepted in any format such as CSV, XML, Webform or from any one of the typical SME accounting packages including Sage, Quick Books and Pegasus.

Privately owned with retail space growing 30% last year to total almost 3 million net square feet (some 589 stores), New Look processes approximately 70,000 invoices every year with the majority now received directly into New Look's accounting system from the P2D hub. Of these, about 20% will still be inputted and processed manually using the Kodak scanner which is located at New Look's offices in Weymouth. The company has also purchased a 3 year Kodak Service and Support contract to ensure 100% uptime and availability of the scanner.



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