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Sainsbury's upgrades invoice processing systems

The Sainsbury’s accounts team have spoken positively about the introduction of new supplier invoicing software at the business.

The grocer is now using Itim’s invoice matching software, Didos, and the switch has reportedly allowed its accounts payable team to automate 90% of its payments to suppliers and drive further efficiencies.

Anthony Robinson, Group P2P manager at Sainsbury’s, said: “Our process is very well configured.

“We require that our suppliers send invoices via EDI [Electronic Data Interchange] so 95% of supplier invoices come in this way and are fed straight into Didos ready for matching.”

He added: “All store receipts are also interfaced directly into the system from Sainsbury’s network of 26 depots around the country or − in the case of deliveries of high-volume goods like bread and milk − straight from the company’s 1,800 supermarkets and convenience stores. We also have robust processes to pick up anything that might fall through the net.”

The Didos system runs every night matching thousands of invoices with receipts. Sainsbury’s said just over half of invoices are a “perfect match” with the goods delivered, but for the remaining half, the software uses logic – based on parameters set by the grocer – to automatically identify discrepancies and resolve as many as possible. 

This process entails automatically raising debit notes, undercharges and quantity extracts – for instance, where only part of a delivery has been invoiced and a further invoice is expected.

With hundreds of thousands of different SKUs coming from a network of over 4,000 suppliers, Sainsbury’s receives over five million supplier invoices a year for the food and non-food products that it sells in its stores.

“You certainly don’t want to be manually handling those volumes over a year,” said Robinson.

Itim develops and supplies a range of point-of-sale, order management, merchandising, optimisation and supply chain software for retailers, and lists companies such as Debenhams, The Entertainer, and The Works as its customers.

Robinson said that his team of 25 people at Sainsbury’s find Itim’s reporting capabilities particularly useful.

“We like being able to design our own reports rather than needing to go elsewhere (and potentially incur charges),” he noted.