Briggs Equipment Drives Efficiency and Control with AP Automation

  • Briggs International is one of the world’s largest distributors of Yale and Hyster materials handling equipment
  • Solution: MediusFlow connected to Briggs’ ERP Microsoft Dynamics AX
  • Number of supplier invoices: Approximately 220,000 invoices per year
  • Electronic invoices: 40% of invoices are received in EDI (XML), the rest are received via email or paper copy
  • Efficiency results: support business growth while maintaining original AP staff headcount
  • Touchless rate: from 0% touchless invoice processing pre-MediusFlow to a 66% touchless rate
  • Automatic distribution rate: from 0% to 82% automatic distribution with MediusFlow.
Briggs equipment Logo

Driving AP process efficiency and control in an international organization

Brigg’s Equipment International is one of the largest distributors of Yale and Hyster materials handling equipment in the world. Headquartered in Dallas, Texas, Briggs is an international business with locations in the US, Mexico, and the United Kingdom, totaling to 52 locations and 2,700 employees. The company generates over $675M USD annually, processing 220,000 invoices per year. By implementing MediusFlow to tackle the dispersion of invoices across numerous locations, Briggs has turned a highly manual and paper-based invoice process into a dramatically improved and highly automated system of efficiency.

In 2015, Briggs Equipment chose to implement MediusFlow as a means of improving the control over the invoice process and to reduce the overall lead time before an invoice could be approved and paid. At the time, they had also decided to upgrade their ERP system to a more recent version of Microsoft Dynamics AX, and were looking for a solution that could smoothly integrate with the new ERP system to get up and running with accounts payable automation quickly.

“Increasing the efficiency and speed of the invoice process was essential for us. We had 2 to 3 manual touchpoints before an invoice could be approved, and that often included shuttling paper invoices across departments and physical locations. With MediusFlow, we now process three quarters of our invoices without any human intervention, and almost all of our invoices reach the correct approver instantly and automatically,” says Alden Senteney, Project Manager at Briggs.

Before MediusFlow: long delays and lack of control

Like many distribution companies, Briggs has thousands of invoices coming in from multiple locations and suppliers on any given day, totaling about 18,000 invoices per month. Even with a centralized accounts payable team and 40% of their invoices being process through electronic data interchange (EDI), they knew there was room for improvement.

“We deal with a wide array of suppliers, not only from our main equipment product, but also from the various parts manufacturers that we use to supply thousands of different products,” said Alden Senteney, Project Manager at Briggs Equipment. “This generated an abundance of invoices that our central accounting was dealing with, and before MediusFlow we had no hard metrics to use as a baseline for improvement. We were dealing with a long delay in getting invoices approved, mostly because accounting wouldn’t know what condition an invoice was in until someone physically delivered it from the building next door.”

Smooth delivery of MediusFlow in the cloud

MediusFlow was implemented at the very end of 2015 with deployment completed in around 3 months. Then, once Briggs had completed their upgrade of Microsoft Dynamics AX, the Medius professional services team stepped in to train and test the systems together, setting Briggs’ team up to take off with their new systems.

“The implementation process was even better than we’d hoped for; MediusFlow and Dynamics AX work incredibly well together, and from a business perspective, it was promising to know that our ERP system and AP automation solution were in sync so quickly.” – Alden Senteney, Project Manager, Briggs Equipment

The significant portion of invoices coming in via EDI also helped Briggs Equipment leverage the automation opportunities available in MediusFlow and quickly experience the value of a touchless process. The orders in EDI format can be processed much faster than traditional paper or pdf invoices, as they don’t have to be scanned or processed via optical character recognition (OCR) and can enter the touchless process provided by MediusFlow.

Better insight means more control

As part of the deployment and go-live process, the Medius team met with the team at Briggs to determine their goals and align on key performance indicators (KPIs). This provided Briggs with the tools and data they needed to continually improve their invoice process.

“Before MediusFlow, we didn’t have the metrics or sightline we needed to benchmark our processes and make the improvements we needed. With the guidance from the team at Medius, we could not only set up the KPIs we needed to track, but also maintained regular meetings with Medius and our team to pinpoint areas for improvement. We’ve been really pleased with the process and with the improvements we’ve been able to make.” – Alden Senteney, Project Manager, Briggs Equipment.

A future-proof success engine

Briggs Equipment has consistently been dedicated to the continual improvement of their accounts payable processes with MediusFlow. Today they have achieved a touchless rate of 66% and automatic distribution rate of 82% which is well in line or above the average benchmarks for all MediusFlow users. Still, the team possess a self-starting drive to keep improving their KPIs.

“The AP team at Briggs is incredibly pragmatic in their approach to continuous improvement of their AP process,” says Erik Rökaas, Director of Customer Success, North America. “They go above and beyond in taking responsibility to read documentation on new functionality and play with settings and variables in their MediusFlow environment to see what can bring them to the next level of automation. It’s one of the great benefits of MediusFlow; the system can be easily configured by the business team to what works for their business, backed by the confidence of knowing the Medius team is there to support when needed.”

“The Medius team provides us with insights into industry norms and best-practices, which we had no clue about nor any access to before. The combination of modern technology and industry expertise has been very valuable to us” – says Alden Senteney, Project Manager, Briggs Equipment

In recent years, Briggs Equipment has demonstrated impressive growth as a business, acquiring MacKinnon Equipment & Services in the summer of 2017 thereby expanding their geographical footprint and their strength in the material handling business. They’ve been able to scale their business without having to add any additional AP headcount, an impressive feat given their recent growth. They’re also continuing to improve their existing MediusFlow KPIs further with new initiatives across their supplier database and their accounts payable team.