Even industry leaders get lost along the way. That is what both Lion Brewery and Merchant Bank of Sri Lanka (MBSL) & Finance PLC found out the hard way. With a constantly growing client pool, these companies realized that the current system they were using was outdated and can no longer keep up with their requirements. They needed a partner to provide them with innovative solutions that will digitally transform their organization, optimize operations, and reduce costs in the process.
LION BREWERY: DRIVING INNOVATION WITHOUT BREAKING THE BANK
Being in business for 160 years, Lion Brewery has become a household name and an industry leader in the adult beverage market. But behind their success, they were struggling with manual and disorganized processes that caused customer dissatisfaction and internal conflict. Lion Brewery was crying for digital transformation help and Tech One heeded the call.
Challenge 1: Manual Vendor and Supplier Payment Processes
“We have been following the manual process. We implemented ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) in 2013. But even with ERP, we still have a lot of paperwork, approvals take a long time, there is no visibility on the process, and there is higher turnaround time,” Ama Ekanayake, Chief Information Officer of Lion Brewery admitted.
For years, the company has relied on a manual process of requisitioning, purchasing, receiving, paying for and accounting for goods and services. While there is an established Procure to Pay (P2P) that facilitates vendor management on SAP, there was a need to supplement their SAP Core to enable process automation to solve their manual vendor and supplier payment processes that led to client discontent and inconvenience:
- There were a lot of paper involved in the vendor process, and physical documents were going from table-to-table, seeking signatures to get approval, some lost in transit;
- Over 75% of Lion Brewery’s workforce goes through this approval system, with delays causing a domino effect with other departments;
- There were a lot of approval hierarchies: from line to head departments still manually done with long turnaround times reaching almost a month;
- There is no visibility on the status of processing and payments; hence committed dates are not met;
- Sales and marketing teams were unable to focus on core responsibilities as they were now involved in processing and constant follow through for supplier payments; there was a build-up of discontent from requesting parties.
Challenge 2: Digitization and Protecting Information Assets
As expected of a company like Lion Brewery, they handle a lot of sensitive documents: trademarks, license renewals, sales and corporate contracts, service level agreements (SLA), and non-disclosure agreements. What they lacked, however, was a way to manage these files, secure its contents, track changes, and process renewals.
“Sometimes, contracts were expiring because there is no visibility, renewal dates are kept on Excel and we don’t get automated reminders. We are also concerned about data and information security of these documents.” Ama added.
- Contract renewals and reviews were reactive, mainly because they don’t have real-time reminders on expiring contracts;
- There was no centralized system to record conversations, track revisions and retrieve discussions and negotiations;
- Retrieval of contracts was extremely difficult and took a long time;
- Data and information security of these files, which were predominantly still paper-based, were at risk from office mishaps and access breaches.
- There was a need to achieve compliance with ISO Standards, OSHA, and Quality Management Systems
Finding the Right Partner and Solution:
Lion Brewery started looking for partners and solutions that will fit their business requirement. Their shift towards modern workplace transformation was made possible through the introduction of Microsoft to Tech One, who have lent their expertise, resulting in effective digital transformation.
Enadoc + SharePoint + Zero Code Solution from Tech One
While several DMS and partners were evaluated by Lion Brewery, Enadoc stood out to solve their digitization and contracts management challenge:
- It is the only solution that offers the flexibility of subscription-based cloud, on private cloud, or on-premise solutions;
- It runs on and drives Azure service components: App Services, SQL & Storage, Data Management, Virtual Machines, Networking. Azure is the only data privacy compliant platform in the market;
- Built-in are: A user-friendly interface, powerful document/Image capture from any format/whichever state is it in, library indexing, records management, user & permission controls, keyword search, dynamic redaction, and disaster recovery;
- It seamlessly integrates with Microsoft Content Services Platforms and O365 (SP, PowerApps, and Flows) and third-party business apps & systems: ERP, CRM, HRMS, or legacy applications, converting it into an end-to-end ECM solution; At that time, Tech One identified that Lion Brewery was already on O365 hence there was no additional investment on licenses by utilizing SP for their Content Management needs;
- Enadoc is continuously evolving to address client’s on-the-go needs. Its companion app Enadoc 365 on Android & IOS allows direct capture/uploads from mobile, web browsers, and multifunctional scanners. Uploads can be further automated through Enadoc’s My Workspace on MS Flows.
- Enadoc is now Blockchain compatible, which allows a more secure authentication for documents and workflows;
- Enadoc is robotic process automation compatible, which allows for easy integration and zero coding environment for fast deployment of workflows.
Achieved Benefits and Long–Term Results
Integrating SAP Core, Enadoc and their entire vendor management system into SharePoint, Tech One was able to automate their procure to pay process covering retrieval of database from their ERP, digitization of financial assets, purchase order initiation, approvals, tracking of process, and initiate advance and direct payments into their banking system. “We wanted to save Lion Brewery from unnecessary expenses for their automated workflows, so we guided them towards a different, and more efficient, direction;” Thariq Sanoon, General Manager of Tech One affirmed.
With the successful implementation of this end-to-end digitization to automation of business processes, Lion Brewery was able to:
- Save up to 35% in one-time investment and 60% in recurrent investment
- Achieve digitization of all their paper files accumulated over the years using Enadoc;
- Increased utilization of O365 and SP to its users, 240 (100%) of their employees are now using the entire O365 Suite while 75% are fully maximizing Enadoc features 6 months post-implementation (HR for personnel files, Finance and Accounting for invoices and accounts receivables, Legal for contracts management, Purchasing for vendor forms and accreditations);
- An average of over 100 payments per day and over 80,000 vendor payments since implementation has been hassle-free;
- The company now has accurate data and a benchmark of the turnaround time of different payment types, with complete visibility of the status, from the company to the bank and vendor.
- Better customer satisfaction as they’ve minimized payment holdup;
- Approving authority is now more accountable through this self-guided workflow engine;
- Achieve good governance, confidentiality and data security and is now ISO, OSHA, and data privacy compliant.
“By adhering to the system, we’ve eliminated a lot of process delays. The solution was simple and easy to understand, and what we have implemented is an end-to-end solution which allows integration with multiple business applications within our organization and to seamlessly operate without manual intervention;” Ama shared.
MERCHANT BANK OF SRI LANKA: SCALING UP CUSTOMER SERVICE THROUGH LOAN PROCESS AUTOMATION
As Sri Lanka’s pioneer specialist in trade finance and investment banking, Merchant Bank of Sri Lanka (MBSL) & Finance PLC no doubt caters to a whole lot of people. With 50 branches across the country and over 1000 employees, one would think they have an effective loan approval process. That is, however, not the case.
The Challenge: Approval Delays and Compliance Issues
“MBSL has 50 branches around the country. For someone who lives in a rural area, they must travel 200 km to get their loan documents to another corner of Sri Lanka. This is very time-consuming, with cases of papers lost in transit.” Ridma Chathurangani, Senior Business Analyst at Tech One shared. They were in dire need of a secure, automated and centralized system to address the following concerns:
- Manual transportation of documents across 50 branches. It usually takes a minimum of five (5) business days to deliver loan requests, especially from rural branches;
- Data and information security were at risk daily as they are transporting and handling sensitive data;
- Delayed receipt of loan requests causes a domino effect throughout the approval process;
- Loan approval takes a minimum of one (1) week (on top of paper delivery and processing) due to a slow and disorganized system that wasn’t fulfilling their requirements;
- Auditing and compliance issues, including file retention;
- They have no single, proper solution for their workflow. Need to use a variety of solutions for different steps in the loan approval process;
- Client dissatisfaction as a result of delayed loan request processing. If they can’t fulfill their responsibilities to customers, it will greatly affect the bank;
- Cases of loans being dispersed to names that belong to legally deceased people.
Automating Loan Approvals through the Right Partner
MBSL knew that as a leading financial services provider in the country, they had to have a better, more systemized process to unite all their branches and quicken their procedures. One solution they thought of was to purchase a loan origination module from a well-known co-banking system (Fiserv). However, assessment would potentially cost them at least $500,000 for the solution and customization based on their business requirements.
To solve this, Tech One and MBSL’s loan department worked together to create an end-to-end bundle solution that provides document management, loan origination, loan administration, analysis, and disbursement. This solution is now called SKALE, an ECM solution for loan automation that is cloud-ready. For MBSL this was set up on Azure Hybrid Model as government regulations are requiring maintenance of on-premise server for bank database. Workflow automation tied in the functionalities of SharePoint (Tech One utilized the company’s existing O365 subscriptions), Enadoc, Azure App Service and Power BI for data analytics.
An SMS notification feature was also embedded to promptly notify the client if his/her loan application is in process, approved or not, without blindly waiting in the queues. This solution has made an end-to-end loan automation system possible for MBSL, from data entry up to the approval.
The Most Cost–Effective Solution for Better Productivity
Eight (8) months in and Merchant Bank of Sri Lanka (MBSL) & Finance PLC is already feeling the effectiveness of the solution:
- 60-70% cost saving compared to the $500,000USD they would have spent purchasing an in-house system which they can’t full customize.
- Over 480 employees of their 1,000 workforce are using this solution on a day to day basis, driving consumption of Enadoc and Azure services;
- Since onset of implementation, over 30,000 approved loan requests have been facilitated;
- Now there’s no need to manually deliver documents from one branch to another before processing, minimizing human error, data breach, and time delays. Soft files are centralized in Enadoc with security features that promote access rights, data privacy compliance, and tracking;
- Visibility on loan applications resulting to more satisfied clients; they also receive SMS notifications for application updates and status.
- From a minimum of 1 week, loan processing now only takes 2 hours (1 day, latest) to finalize and has already approved 30,000 loan requests (with a minimum of 10 documents per requirement).
- Fraud detection for loan processing has been implemented with the aid of stronger security protocols.
- Everything happens online and can be integrated with their core banking solution on SharePoint. If they want to be fully cloud-based, there are no modifications needed provided that these will be set up on O365 or Azure.
- The whole MBSL now have SharePoint and O365 licenses, creating more opportunities to upscale with ease with a trusted Microsoft Partner;
- Finally, this solution is now being adopted by other banks in Maldives, Sri Lanka, Nepal and Bangladesh.
“This project is a testament of the possibilities a modern workplace can provide to the banking and finance sector. It simply compresses collaboration, productivity, and security in one and builds harmony between the bank and the clients, bringing in customer satisfaction and savings in one as well,” Ridma Chathurangani adds.
Chamara Withanachchi, MBSL Head of IT affirms that “SKALE is a cost-effective solution when compared to other competitive solutions in the market. Also, scalable and user-friendly, hence, with SKALE and its unique interface and features, we’re able to triumph available solutions in the market. Tech One has been unbelievably a helping hand to our organization, to thrive for better customer service through SKALE, and it’s already making a difference within the organization to be productive through efficient collaboration among employees.“