Intelligent automation of accounts payable process at Vyncke

The Customer

VYNCKE NV engineers and builds industrial energy plants that convert biomass and industrial waste into clean energy. The thermal energy ranges from 1-100 MWth and electrical power from 1-20 MWe. The energy created either comes individually or in any combination of steam, hot water, thermal oil and hot gas… with or without electrical power generation.

VYNCKE is a 4th generation family business, founded in 1912 by Louis Vyncke. With roots in Harelbeke, today this global business is organized locally with over 370 Vynckeneers spread across 9 settlements and has a yearly consolidated turnover of more then 100 M EUR.

The Challenge

VYNCKE was faced with a high administrative workload in the Finance department related to Accounts Payable processes. VYNCKE receives a high variety of vendor invoices, in different languages.

The information from these invoices needs to be inserted in IFS, Vyncke’s ERP system. This used to be a 100% manual process, with a lot of complex business rules to be applied for example for determining the correct tax codes.

Not only did this cause a high workload, but there was also a high probability of error due to typing errors.

The Solution

VYNCKE explored various options to automate the Accounts Payable process. Robonext was selected as partner to automate this process with a combination of Artificial Intelligence (Metamaze) and Robotic Process Automation (Microsoft Power Automate).

An AI model was trained on VYNCKE’s vendor invoices, by not only extracting header information (address, VAT number, …) but also specific line items on the invoices (article numbers, quantities, project reference number,…).

This AI model in Metamaze was integrated with Microsoft Power automate flows that allow to process these invoices within IFS. The robot not only performs complex business rules on the extracted information in order to match the invoice data with the corresponding Purchase Orders and to determine the applicable Tax Code, but also takes care of the administrative follow-up internally through email notifications and stores all invoices electronically ensuring compliancy and overall reducing the administrative burden within the Finance Department.

The Results

The software robot built by Robonext was taken into production at the end of 2021, and has been named “C3-PO”, after the famous STAR WARS character. C3-PO was welcomed as a new VYNCKE colleague and has processed thousands of vendor invoices since its start.

In the words of Elke Toye, Global Finance Manager: “The last couple of years, we have started the exciting journey to improve the quality and efficiency of our internal processes. The collaboration between robonext and our Finance team, is at the heart of this strategy.
This successfully implemented project will enable us to put more focus on becoming a reliable proactive in-house business partner that gives insights beyond the numbers. We are excited to have this strategic partnership in place with robonext to ensure we prepare our Finance Department for the day after tomorrow.