Autodoc relies on e-Invoicing for invoice verification

Autodoc, one of Europe’s largest online car parts retailers, checks incoming invoices automatically with the Order Manager module e-Invoicing. The automated matching process reveals any discrepancies between the invoice and the delivered goods. In this way, Autodoc makes sure that they only pay for parts that have actually been delivered.

Autodoc is now operating in 26 European countries besides its home in Germany. With around 2.5 million products from 545 brand manufacturers for 128 car makes, the online retailer offers a wide range of products: brake system components, body parts, shock absorbers, springs, exhaust parts, interior accessories, clutch parts, steering and air conditioning system components, heaters, repair kits and engine oil.

In recent years, the online retailer has experienced above-average growth. Accordingly, the logistical demands have risen and business processes have become increasingly complex. In order to meet Europe-wide demand, Autodoc rented additional storage space in autumn 2019 and initiated numerous projects to optimise its processes. One of these includes the automation of goods receiving, in which TecAlliance solutions and standards play a major role.

“With our 600,000 pages of supplier invoices per year, manual checking is simply no longer possible,” reports Thomas Hirte, team leader and product owner at Autodoc, who is managing the project. “We were only able to check on a random basis and had to accept that we were foregoing a lot of potential savings. The effort required for subsequent processing and billing changes was also too high. For us, the automation of invoice verification− with a comparison between the order and the delivery note − had a high priority.”

“We have been using e-Invoicing for almost a year now and are very satisfied. We highly recommend that our suppliers also use the solution to benefit from the advantages of automated invoicing.”

Thomas Hirte, Team Lead & Product Owner, Autodoc GmbH

Industry solution offers advantages to invoice senders and recipients

e-Invoicing is one of the key modules of Order Manager, the leading B2B platform for order processing in Europe, which is used by 280 parts manufacturers and over 35,000 wholesalers worldwide. The e-Invoicing module enables users to create and receive electronic invoices quickly and easily – in a common standard and legally compliant.

“Order Manager allows us to reach many suppliers via one interface. Every supplier that is connected to the platform and uses the e-Invoicing module makes our work easier,” explains Thomas Hirte. “But it is also easier and more cost-effective for parts manufacturers to use the established industry standard than to develop their own systems to create and send electronic invoices.”

All information at one click

Autodoc receives an electronic delivery note via the Order Manager even before the goods arrive. Alternatively, the delivery note can also be transmitted in the TecAlliance format DESADV via FTP.

When the goods arrive, the delivery note or packing list is scanned and compared with the electronic shipping notification and the electronic invoice. Immediately, the picker in the warehouse has all important information on the screen: He can see which items are packed on the pallet and to which orders they belong. The information from the goods forms the basis for the invoice comparison. If there is a difference between delivery and invoice, either a credit note or a new invoice is requested.

Faster and easier processes through standardisation

The e-Invoicing module is certified according to the international ISAE 3402 standard and enables tax-compliant and paperless invoice processing. For electronic processing, the invoice is transmitted via the Order Manager as a structured message in the TXML 2.5 data format. This reduces checking and processing times. In addition, the invoice is provided as a signed PDF, which can be used for legally compliant filing and archiving.

“We have been TecAlliance customers for a long time because we are convinced of the advantages of uniform solutions and data standards for the entire industry. e-Invoicing provides us with high-quality data that helps us to optimise our auditing processes,” says Thomas Hirte.

Automated processing saves time & costs

Around 85 of Autodoc’s approximately 120 suppliers are connected to the Order Manager platform. But not all of them are currently able to transmit their invoices in good data quality in the TXML 2.5 standard. Autodoc is currently using PDF-capturing software for these cases.

“The combination of PDF capturing and e-Invoicing is the ideal solution for us because it allows us to capture all invoices automatically. However, we are very interested in receiving invoices via e-Invoicing from as many suppliers as possible,” says Thomas Hirte. “When we process a PDF, each page costs money. The CPU load, i.e. the computing power required, is high and it takes a comparatively long time. We have to create a new template for each supplier and assign the fields of the PDF first. The effort is always substantial.”

With the TXML standard, e-Invoicing offers numerous advantages and makes it easy for Autodoc to connect new suppliers. “For invoices we receive in TXML format, the processing effort is minimal. Invoices with 1,000 items are like nothing. And each additional supplier can be integrated into the system with practically no effort. We received a style sheet from TecAlliance, i.e. a template that ensures that the system displays invoices correctly. With the help of a master template, we can connect additional suppliers and process their invoices in a very short time. And if there are special requirements with a supplier, we have temporary fields available that we can use as a workaround,” explains Thomas Hirte. “We have been using e-Invoicing for almost a year now and are very satisfied. We highly recommend that our suppliers also use the solution to benefit from the advantages of automated invoicing.”