- Customer Success Story -

Automated Analytics

Continuous Monitoring Saves € Millions


Arbutus Technology Revolutionized Invoice Management and Discount Monitoring

In the fast-paced world of business, managing vendor invoices and monitoring discounts can be a daunting task. For a leading importer and distributor of cars, motorcycles, and scooters across different European countries, this challenge was amplified by fragmented systems, manual data entry, and complex discount structures. But with the help of Arbutus technology, they turned the tide and saved over €4.1 million.


The fragmented nature of the businesses, our diverse systems and manual data entry made it impossible to prevent errors in vendor invoices and in the application of discounts and challenging to detect problems.

The Problem: Fragmentation and Errors

The company faced two critical issues:

  1. Duplicate Invoices:

    Manual data entry led to errors in vendor invoice numbers. Typos, missing characters, and special characters caused duplicate invoices to slip through undetected. With multiple entities in the group, controlling duplicates was nearly impossible.

    Purchase invoices are scanned and input in the system. However, the vendor’s invoice number is input manually and might be entered incorrectly. Typical errors include taking ‘1’ for ‘I’ or ‘0’ for ‘O’ and special characters such as hyphens, dots or dashes are sometimes omitted so “123/OBC.XYZ” might become “1230BCXYZ”. Such mistakes invalidate duplicate checks at data entry and we had no controls on duplicate vendor invoices across the different entities of the group.

  2. Discount and Margin Monitoring:

    During the sales “lifecycle”, different types of discounts can be granted on vehicles sold (e.g. seasonal promotions, volume discounts, business packs, …). The discounts differ by country and across the various brands (totalling over 100 models). The process is mostly manual and some combinations are not allowed or would lead to unworkable margins. The controls to monitor the discounts and margins on vehicles were inadequate because of the extreme complexity of the process, aggravated by technical factors such as:

    • Different databases in each country
    • Different data formats within each such database
    • Data required from both the ERP system and accounting system

The Solution: Arbutus Analytics

Payments on duplicate invoice entries could be avoided because of the lead time between the booking of the invoice and the transfer of money. Also, it would be easy to revoke the allocated discount and recuperate the amount as we are dealing B2B with long-term partners, not the actual end customer.

We decided that continuous monitoring would be the perfect way to enhance this monitoring process. So, we developed and scheduled multiple scripts in Arbutus Analytics to automatically:

• Extract data from multiple sources
• Normalize the data formats
• Consolidate the different data sources
• Perform multiple tests (including different logic per model)
• Email exception reports to the responsible teams

Our initial investment was limited to:
• Software modules & licenses: € 10.000
• Services & training: € 1.000
• Script development: internal cost

The recurring costs are:
• Maintenance & support (per year): € 5.000
• Script maintenance: internal cost

To overcome the fragmented systems issue,  several strategic steps were taken, that includes: 

Integration Strategy: They devised an integration strategy to connect the disparate systems across different countries. By creating bridges between databases and harmonizing data formats, they ensured seamless communication.

Arbutus Analytics: The implementation of Arbutus Analytics played a pivotal role. This powerful data analytics tool allowed them to extract data from multiple sources, normalize it, and consolidate information. Arbutus Analytics acted as the glue that bound the fragmented systems together.

Scheduled Automation: Our Partner, Sepia Solutions, scheduled scripts within Arbutus Analytics to run automatically. These scripts extracted data, performed tests, and generated exception reports. By automating these processes, our client reduced manual effort and improved efficiency.

Cross-Functional Collaboration: Sepia Solutions enabled collaboration between IT, finance, and business teams. This cross-functional approach ensured that everyone understood the importance of data integration and worked towards a common goal.

In summary, our client was able to tackle the fragmented systems challenge by leveraging technology, automation, and collaboration.

The result: A streamlined process that saved millions for the client. 

The Results: Millions Saved

As a result of these automated exception reports, we recovered following pre-tax amounts for the period 2017-2020 YTD: 

• Duplicate invoices: € 977.000
• Discount monitoring: € 3.148.000

Because of the frequent and timely exception reports, the responsible teams learned from their mistakes which helped them in avoiding them going forward. We noticed the number of reported exceptions and their total value has gone down as the business processes matured. 

So in fact, the largest return was not just the recovered € 4,1 million, but the improvement in our business processes. These wins also resulted in an enhanced awareness of the power of data analytics within the business and financial control. We therefore expect that these or similar automations will be duplicated for other companies within the Group.

Additional benefits that emerged as a result of implementing Arbutus Analytics:

  1. Enhanced Data Visibility: As disparate data sources were consolidated, Sepia Solutions gained a holistic view of their operations. Previously siloed information became accessible, allowing for better decision-making.

  2. Process Streamlining: While the initial goal was integration, the process forced them to reevaluate existing workflows. They identified redundancies, eliminated manual steps, and streamlined processes beyond mere data integration.

  3. Data Quality Improvements: The rigorous data reconciliation process led to data quality improvements. By addressing inconsistencies, client ensured that accurate information flowed through their systems.

  4. Cross-Functional Collaboration: Integrating systems necessitated collaboration across departments. This unexpected benefit fostered better communication, alignment, and a shared understanding of business goals.

  5. Cost Savings Beyond ROI: While the direct ROI was impressive, our client client also saved costs indirectly. Fewer errors meant fewer corrective actions, reduced operational risks, and improved overall efficiency.

In summary, these benefits and results went beyond technical integration—they transformed client's entire approach to data management and business operations

Real-Life Impact

This case study is not fiction. While the organization and auditor remain anonymous, the facts speak for themselves. Arbutus technology empowered them to streamline processes, improve accuracy, and save millions.

Connect with Your Local Partner Sepia Solutions

Based in Belgium, Sepia Solutions specializes solely in the domain of Data Analysis and Audit Management solutions. Sepia's strength lies in nurturing strategic partnerships to provide cutting-edge software packages to their discerning clientele. Notably, they champion groundbreaking software suite: “Arbutus Analytics,” crafted by Arbutus Software Inc (Canada)

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Continuous Monitoring Saves € Millions

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  1. Automated Data Extraction: Arbutus Analytics extracted data from multiple sources, including different databases in each country. It normalized data formats and consolidated information for analysis.

  2. Discount Logic and Tests: Custom scripts were developed to apply discount logic specific to each model. Arbutus Analytics performed multiple tests, identifying discrepancies and exceptions.

  3. Continuous Monitoring: Scheduled scripts ran automatically, monitoring invoices and discounts. Exception reports were emailed to responsible teams, allowing swift corrective action.

How does Arbutus Analytics handle data integration?


Data Integration

Arbutus Analytics excels in handling data integration by providing a seamless and efficient process. Here are the key aspects of how it accomplishes this:

  1. Data Source Connectivity:

    • Arbutus Analytics seamlessly connects to various data sources, including databases, spreadsheets, flat files, and enterprise systems.
    • It supports popular formats such as CSV, Excel, SQL databases, and more.
    • Users can configure connections to retrieve data directly from these sources.

  2. Data Extraction and Transformation:

    • Arbutus allows users to extract relevant data from connected sources.
    • Transformation capabilities enable data cleansing, enrichment, and standardization.
    • Users can apply filters, join tables, and create calculated fields to prepare the data for analysis.

  3. Automated Data Refresh:

    • Arbutus provides scheduled data refresh options.
    • Users can set up automated data pulls at specified intervals (e.g., daily, weekly) to keep their analysis up-to-date.

  4. Data Profiling and Quality Checks:

    • Before integrating data, Arbutus performs data profiling to understand its structure, patterns, and quality.
    • Users can identify missing values, outliers, and inconsistencies.

  5. Data Blending and Joins:

    • Arbutus supports data blending by combining data from different sources.
    • Users can perform inner, outer, left, or right joins to merge datasets.

  6. Data Security and Privacy:

    • Arbutus ensures data security during integration.
    • Users can define access controls, encryption, and authentication mechanisms.

  7. Scalability and Performance:

    • Arbutus handles large volumes of data efficiently.
    • Its optimized algorithms enable fast processing and analysis.

In summary, Arbutus Analytics streamlines data integration, allowing organizations to harness the power of comprehensive analytics while maintaining data integrity and security.

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