The problem

South Africa’s leading waste management company EnviroServ has led the way in sustainability for more than 35 years. As a brand driven by social and environmental consciousness, the company strives for innovation in the way it runs its operations and serves its clients.

When EnviroServ reviewed its accounts department, they found there was scope for improvement. Physically sending out invoices and statements was time-consuming and costly, and it generated substantial waste. The company was devoting a significant amount of resources to printing and posting the relevant documents. The unreliable nature of the South African Post Office meant that the documents often did not make it to the intended recipient, making collections more difficult.

Although the company sent out email documents, it faced challenges such as encryption and audit trails that made this an unrealistic alternative on a large scale. All of these issues prompted EnviroServ to explore how it could digitise their collections strategy.

Why ACTNET?

EnviroServ considered building an internal cloud infrastructure before eventually deciding to work with a third party. ACTNET was a natural choice. The document management solution provider has an excellent track record thanks to its extensive experience working with blue-chip companies on major digitisation projects.

Financially, ACTNET’s proposed solution came in at a fraction of what EnviroServ would have paid for developing its own infrastructure or in working with another company. In fact, the entire solution’s monthly cost almost equated to a little more than what EnviroServ would have paid in the same period just on postage for a single regional office.

In addition, the proposed solution came with a host of functionality suited to EnviroServ’s requirements. ACTNET was able to provide a customised version of its flagship solution that came with unique features, which were able to address challenges specific to EnviroServ.

The solution

Within a few weeks ACTNET implemented EDD, a comprehensive Electronic Document Delivery solution. The solution was initially planned to be rolled out in EnviroServ’s regions over a period of time, but due to the successful implementation process, EnviroServ’s management decided to launch EDD nationally on 20 June, 2014.

One of the challenges the ACTNET team faced was the need to account for high variability across different documents. Each EnviroServ regional office has its certified waste officer, so the solution needed to account for signatures differing according to the geographical location of EnviroServ’s customers. In addition, each transaction document needed to include a full description of services rendered, which varied from customer to customer.

Another challenge was that each billing document had to be linked to several supporting documents, such as delivery notes and safety disposal certificates. ACTNET was able to overcome all of these issues to provide the functionality Enviroserv needed.

A few weeks into implementation, customers were able to see the value that EDD had added to their own processes. Customers are now able to access all of their account information and promptly query any issues through EnviroServ’s branded EDD portal.

This is one of the great initiatives by Enviroserv,” says Dan Wilson, National Credit Manager at EnviroServ. “I have customers asking me whether I can get this programme for them. With many of our clients investing in supplier networks like Ariba, our decision to digitise has made things a lot easier for them to innovate and integrate their own processes.”

Results

Internally, the innovative solution has streamlined operations and led to a spike in efficiency. Since Enviroserv started using EDD, it has experienced a reduction in days sales outstanding (DSO). Within a two month period, Enviroserv had an inpressive 20 day gain in DSO.

“You simply don’t hear about such decreases in our industry,” says Wilson of the numbers. “Every month, there’s an improvement. There’s just so much less time wasted posting invoices. We have more time to do what is expected of us.

EnviroServ now has greater visibility into customer transactions, which has improved collections efficiency tremendously. EDD’s reporting capabilities allow them to catch potential compliance and billing issues such as overlooked protocols and missing supporting documents, leading to greater SARS and auditing compliance.

There are also the added benefits of keeping transaction data in the cloud, such as business continuity and efficient customer service. EnviroServ is now able to engage easier with customer queries, as any information can be accessed in real-time by both parties at the click of a button.

“If I look at my results, it’s fantastic to see how things have improved over the last year,” says Wilson. “The biggest plus was that my staff have finally got time to do their work rather than sit around licking stamps.”

Currently, EnviroServ is only using some of the features of the EDD solution, but is planning on working further with ACTNET to roll out the more advanced capabilities. According to Nolan Sandham, Managing Director at ACTNET, the two companies are in the beginning stages of exploring mutually beneficial ways of working together.

“There are many aspects to waste management that EnviroServ wants to highlight through EDD,” says Sandham. “The solution has an extensive built-in marketing functionality that can open up opportunities to cross-sell and upsell to their customers.”

The success of the EDD project is testament to the power of innovative thinking in transforming all levels of a business. EnviroServ’s commitment to technological excellence has solidified the company’s assertion that it is ‘streets ahead’