Until recently, Archer Daniels Midland (ADM) was having difficulty handling the millions of invoices it processes each year from thousands of suppliers. That ended when the food-processing plant operator implemented a new electronic-invoicing system.
In June, ADM signed a deal with Tradeshift to move to a global eInvoicing model that uses a cloud-based business platform. Through use of the platform, ADM has “an open and fluid environment” where it can transact more than 2.5 million invoices in its global supplier network of more than 200,000 suppliers, according to the announcement of the deal.
Initially, ADM deployed the Tradeshift platform across its Accounts Payable in North America. It later plans to expand globally to create a collaborative workflow between itself and its suppliers.
ADM’s millions of invoices come as ADM connects crops to markets in more than 140 countries on six continents. “Transaction efficiency is fundamental to our business, and we needed to find a vendor with a global footprint to establish a single system throughout our company,” Suzanne Leopoldi-Nichols, director of ADM’s shared services group, said in a statement. “The Tradeshift platform will allow us to innovate and improve collaboration and transaction efficiency across our global supplier network without disrupting our existing infrastructure.”
Tradeshift says its collaborative workflow automates many of the repetitive, administratively intensive, aspects of invoicing and transactions. It allows buyer and suppliers to communicate immediately to resolve questions, exceptions or disputes before they enter an enterprise resource planning system. This approach reduces the cost of supply chain management and reduces friction by enabling transparency, productivity, and simplicity.
In a recent Internet Retailer article, an ADM spokesperson noted that transaction efficiency is fundamental to the company’s business, “and we needed to find a vendor with a global footprint to establish a single system throughout our company,” he said. “The Tradeshift platform will allow us to innovate and improve collaboration and transaction efficiency across our global supplier network without disrupting our existing infrastructure.”
Tradeshift makes money by charging buyers annual subscription fees, but it doesn’t charge suppliers. Vishal Patel, Tradeshift’s head of industry solutions, noted in the Internet Retailerarticle that some 500,000 buyers and suppliers use the company’s software to handle eInvoices value of about $300 million total per month. The costs for high-volume users can be less than $2 per eInvoice, he said
ADM is using Tradeshift’s cloud-based Collaborative Workflow system, which enables its employees to exchange information online among each other and with its suppliers. When invoices don’t match with purchase orders an ADM buyer or purchasing manager can return the invoice instantly to the supplier’s particular department and person responsible for sending the invoice “instead of spending hours on the phone” to locate the right person and describe the erroneous invoice, Internet Retailer noted, citing Tradeshift as the source.
Buyers using Tradeshift may pay suppliers using PayPal, the online payment system owned by eBay Inc. Tradeshift also is exploring making other payment systems available as well, Patel told the news source.
In a recent blog post on Tradeshift’s website, Christian Lanng, Tradeshift CEO and co-founder, notes that, for ADM, it isn’t just about the cost savings associated with eInvoicing; it’s about connecting the company’s global team with a workflow service that supports innovation and collaboration internally and externally.
“It’s about empowering AP to work analytically and strategically to solve problems,” he noted. “It’s about engaging the entire supply chain with technology that delivers value to them, technology they will want to use.”