News | March 15, 2012

Farmland Gives Its Business Process A Streamlined Overhaul With AP Automation From Esker

Esker, the leader in document process automation solutions, recently announced that it has been selected by Farmland Foods, Inc., a renowned international pork processing company, to automate processing of purchase order, non-purchase order and freight invoices into the company's existing SAP system.

With approximately 7,500-8,000 invoices processed per week, and expanding operations, Farmland recognized the importance of minimizing costs, staff requirements and labor-intensive duties associated with the company's growth. In addition to keeping pace with growing volume without adding headcount, a top priority is to increase the speed, accuracy and visibility of their accounts payable (AP) operations by eliminating outdated manual methods.

Prior to the Esker solution, Farmland's invoice processing revolved around paper, and consequently, the frustrations that went along with it. "Paper was everywhere," said Loretta Kirker, Director of Corporate Accounting at Farmland. "If a plant needed an invoice, they would call the corporate office; someone would then have to walk to a file cabinet, track down the paper file, scan it and send it." In addition, emailed invoices were not linked to Famland's SAP infrastructure, burdening staff members with non-value tasks such as printing the invoice and re-keying it into SAP. "There really wasn't any visibility for the resolution of problems — we needed a more efficient, streamlined way of doing things," added Kirker.

The discovery of Esker came after John Steffensmeier, Business Analyst at Farmland, saw a demo at an SAP user conference. Shortly thereafter, he learned that Smithfield Packing Company, Famland's sister company, was already utilizing the Esker solution with successful results. "We looked into other vendors," said Steffensmeier. "Esker simply had the total package in terms of invoice processing, workflow and archiving. Other vendors couldn't offer the same value or integration with SAP."

Following implementation, all of Farmland's invoices will be imaged into a workflow for electronic approval, as well as automatically storing invoice data into the Esker archiving system, where images can be instantly accessed from the SAP interface. "With Esker, we're able to accelerate transaction time, and, if we need further approval, invoices can be routed and approved on-the-spot. The ability of everyone to see a bill at the touch of a button is invaluable," said Steffensmeier.

Farmland also has subsequent plans for creating a similar paperless environment for accounts receivable (AR) processes. "Right now, getting customer deductions approved requires printing documents and routing them for signature," says Kirker. "The next logical step is addressing AR. We are excited to have a platform in place where we can easily leverage OCR capabilities and other workflow tools for a multitude of business process improvements."

About Farmland Foods
Since 1959, Farmland has maintained a proud heritage of working side-by-side with American farm families, using time-honored traditions to make great-tasting bacon, fresh pork, ham, sausage, hot dogs and lunch meat you'll be proud to serve. Acquired from Smithfield Foods in 2003, Farmland has a large and growing international business, exporting products to more than 60 countries across six continents. Farmland meats are sold at grocery stores nationwide.

About Esker
Esker is the worldwide leader in document process automation solutions. Addressing all types of business processes from accounts payable and accounts receivable to sales order processing and procurement, Esker cloud computing solutions enable companies to automate the reception, processing and sending of any business document with one platform. Esker helps over 80,000 companies across the world to reduce the use of paper and eliminate manual processes while improving their productivity, efficiency and environmental impact.

With 36 million euros in sales revenue in 2011, Esker operates in North America, Europe and Asia Pacific with global headquarters in Lyon, France and U.S. headquarters in Madison, Wisconsin. For more information, visit