Celonis World Tour 2022 London

How Malvern Panalytical revamped its Accounts Receivable processes with Celonis EMS

Malvern Panalytical achieved a multiple return on investment in less than a year by deploying Celonis for its Accounts Receivable.

Speaking at World Tour 2022 London, Mark Hoole-Jackson, Director of Spectris Business Systems, within Malvern Panalytical, outlined the Celonis deployment as well as future plans.

Malvern Panalytical is a manufacturer and supplier of laboratory analytical instruments. The company's instruments are used in the pharmaceutical, oil and gas, mining and building materials industries.

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Hoole-Jackson said Malvern Panalytical was facing some Accounts Receivable challenges. For starters, credit blocks were causing customer delays and the Accounts Receivable team was chasing overdue invoices older than 4 months with spreadsheets. On average, invoices were 44 average days overdue between September 2020 and August 2021.

Malvern Panalytical's goal was to use Celonis Execution Management System (EMS) to leverage process mining on its data, visualize insights and then automate actions. With automation, Malvern Panalytical bet that it could reduce its average days overdue by 8 days and complete a pilot by end of January 2021, said Hoole-Jackson, who added that the secondary goal was to reduce credit blocks.

The baseline Accounts Receivable process included 9 manual process steps, an average measured cycle time of 12.3 minutes per email sent and 6 credit controllers and a manager all operating independently.

Process mining also revealed a process prone to error where 10 screens in SAP were accessed, Excel and static data and PDFs being sent with emails.

In the first phase, a pilot, Hoole-Jackson said it partially automated the process and reduced 9 steps to 5. The company also took 3 manual process steps and replaced them with 2 automated steps. Prioritized work displayed by poor history and debt outstanding and email sends were automated.

Meanwhile, 10 screens in SAP were reduced to one via Celonis.

As for the returns, Malvern Panalytical cut its average days overdue by more than 50% and delivered working capital benefits that equated to a 17x return.

Hoole-Jackson said the pilot delivered better results than expected and led to plans to further deploy EMS and scale from Malvern Panalytical to its parent, Spectris Group.

Malvern Panalytical plans to evolve its current Accounts Receivable processes to be fully automated, expand into new processes with Order Management and SAP 4/HANA and grow capabilities to support further opportunities, he said.

The company plans to have 4 fully automated steps in its Accounts Payable process leveraging EMS Action Flows. Automated emails will be sent based on time bands with multi-language templates and logging of all automated emails.

Best practices and lessons learned

  • Hoole-Jackson also shared some best practices and lessons learned from the Celonis pilot. Here are some of Malvern Panalytical's best practices.

  • Appoint a champion who speaks business, technology and change. This champion should also have Lean Six Sigma skills and preferably a software and change management background.

  • Prioritize learning and upskilling using Celonis Academy as well as a dedicated Celonis Execution Management Consultant.

  • Build confidence with a minimal viable product before moving to a semi- or fully automated approach.

  • Focus on value realization and one primary KPI.

  • Start with a known pain point to ensure executive sponsorship.

Larry Dignan mugshot 2022
Larry Dignan
Editor in Chief (former)

Larry Dignan is the former Editor in Chief of Celonis Media. Before joining Celonis, he was Editor in Chief of ZDNet and has covered the technology industry and transformation trends for more than two decades, publishing articles in WallStreetWeek.com, Inter@ctive Week, The New York Times, and Financial Planning magazine.

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