Best practice


How to use Kaizen to improve your AP process: A formula based in philosophy

Do you know the connection between accounts payable automation and the Japanese philosophy from the post-World War II era known as Kaizen, roughly translated to “improvement” in English? While lacking descriptiveness, the translation (and its connection to AP) will make sense shortly – keep reading to find out.

What is Kaizen?

However minimal the translation may be, the actual business concept of Kaizen came about in the months after World War II had ended. A small group of Japanese businesses, most notably Toyota, knew that their strategy and processes from before the war would not put them in a position to recuperate and remain competitive in the post-war world. They implemented a method of productivity that focuses on positive changes that can be made as quickly as possible – constant, continuous improvements. This philosophy not only affects your day-to-day activities, but also how your team is organized and how you rely on each other to be successful. Every person and department’s goal, in their own personal work activities as well as in the department processes and group interactions, is to strive to do what they do better. 

A part of the Kaizen method comes automatically with the introduction of cloud-based solutions. Just in the nature of being based in the cloud, updates and new features are implemented at rapid rates. Support that can be contacted through online tickets and electronic helpdesks save employees time and effort.

Driving AP automation the Kaizen style

At Medius, we have applied the philosophy of Kaizen as a part of our core value “customer for life” which impacts every decision or change we make as a business. Put simply, our focus on making clients happy does not waver after they sign on the dotted line. Whether you choose MediusFlow or another AP automation solution, it’s essential that your automation journey is centered on continuous improvement, from the process of implementation, all the way to contract renewals and user process improvements years down the road.

Further reading: 5 ways to drive AP to record touchless heights (white paper)

Implementation: Design for success

The implementation stage of deploying AP automation is a chance for dramatic improvement in your organization, and nothing is more important than the team leading it. At Medius, the process of improvement is led by our Professional Services team who will ensure the solution is designed and set up to match your specific business needs and goals. Your organization’s specific project goals and key areas for improvement are at the center of the implementation. Efforts to set you up for success are led by three distinctly important roles in your MediusFlow implementation: 

  • Project Manager – your key point of contact and the coordinator of all resources during the implementation process.
  • Application Specialist – the individual ultimately responsible for the design and set up of MediusFlow in your organization. Think of them as your AP automation Picasso!
  • Integration Specialist – the needle and thread that sews together the solution’s capabilities with the financial backbone of your business

Implementing an AP automation solution can be quick and streamlined, provided it is built on experience and best practices for the client. We’ve developed a proven implementation process that’s worked for 1000s of deployments before with 5 phases over a timeline that is unique to Medius.

Medius Deployment Process for AP Automation Success

At first glance, it’s important to note that the project begins with Execution. As a best practice, we’ve found that a good project team should be actively sharing resources with the AP team as early on as possible. This sets the project – and your team – up for success.

The other four stages provide your organization’s users the tools and training to effectively run with AP automation to their best ability after go-live. The entire implementation procedure often has a dramatic impact on the business as a whole. This is particularly true during the lead up to go-live; flaws in the previous process (including problematic suppliers or necessary data clean-up) become apparent and are much easier to address and resolve for future improvement. 

Even after go-live, it’s important that you continue to receive support as the final connections are put in place and you begin using automated workflows on a day-to-day basis. Once you feel confident in your new AP workflow automation, you’re off to the races! Continued assistance from a capable support team will always be on hand for any unexpected technical needs in the future, too.

Customer success: The constant partner 

After your AP automation solution is in place, your best resource will be the person in charge of your continued automation success. A customer success representative’s focus should be on making sure you’re getting the most from your automated workflow by keeping an eye on your progress for the key goals you discussed during the first few meetings before implementation. 

During regular check in sessions, a customer success representative will review KPIs, highlighting the key areas where there is room for improvement. At Medius, we review the numbers from the past quarter, using the real-time benchmarks from our global cloud database to compare your performance to averages calculated from MediusFlow user data, as well as the best-in-class statistics from MediusFlow Leaders.

All clients using MediusFlow on the cloud benefit from the insight and data carefully collected by our cloud management team. We use the summary of this data to guide your success for continuous improvement of your AP. See how you compare against the benchmarks our clients use!

Customer Success Managers also use the quarterly check in as a chance to review newly released features. All updates – and upcoming new features - can be previewed in a simulated MediusFlow dashboard. This is the ideal way to encourage continuous education for both new and established employees.

Here at Medius, we understand the trust and expectations our clients have for us. We aim to not only provide them with the best possible accounts payable workflow solution, but also to strive every day to make every important aspect of the client’s journey with Medius a little bit better.


Learn more about Kaizen for accounts payable by downloading this white paper: 5 ways to drive AP to record touchless heights

Mattias Johansson

Mattias Johansson

Vice President Professional Services