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Foley Family Wines Speeds up Cash Application with Centreviews RPA Bots to Handle Deductions

Industry: Wine & Liquor

26 Locations
Headquarters in Healdsburg, CA

Founded in 1986

Using Centreviews RPA Bots, Foley Family Wines was able to create a standardized approach that improved cash flow, customer service and employee productivity. Now that the Centreviews Bots are in place, FFW is looking forward to future upgrades that can further streamline its accounting processes.

  • Back office automation streamlines processes and reduces tedious work for staff.
  • Standardized processes offers a framework as FFW makes new acquisitions.
  • Centreviews RPA Bots reduce confusion about mismatched payments getting applied to invoices.
  • Background

    After a series of acquisitions Foley Family Wines needed to streamline their accounting processes and create procedures so everyone on the team was working together toward the same end goal.

    Joyce Gromada, Director Sales Administration, joined Foley Family Wines following a long career in information technology, both in the military and the private sector. Naturally, her military background made her want to streamline processes and create procedures that would ensure everyone was working together toward the same end goal.

    From the start, she realized the many benefits technology could bring to FFW’s accounting processes to realize that goal. Joyce’s IT background led her to a software-based solution that would bring everything together. From her first conversation with Mary about the Centreviews Receivables Solution, Joyce knew it was the perfect fit for her needs. Her military experience allowed Joyce to immediately connect with Mary, who was also very process and detail oriented. Once Mary heard the details of FFW’s current situation, she was able to visualize how Centreviews would work within FFW’s environment to streamline processes.

  • Challenge

    Foley Family Wines was inundated with manual processes that made growth difficult. They needed back office automation.

    One of the things that pushed Foley Family Wines to look for automation technology was the company’s acquisition of multiple wineries in one year. This increased the transaction volume that the Sales team supported with manual processes, loading them all with many extra hours of work.

    FFW quickly realized that if it wanted to successfully assimilate acquisitions, it needed to become more efficient with back office processes thereby freeing up resources to focus on operations. Increasing efficiency would also prevent employee burnout.

    FFW sells its products mainly through its 200 plus distributors who are supported by a remote sales team. A particular challenge that FFW had was with its cash applications: The payments from distributors were arriving before sales credit memos for specific invoices were processed. The difficulty in reconciling the payments from its distributors with the invoices and credit memos made the cash application process burdensome. The distributors submitted credit/deduction requests for various invoices directly to the remote sales team members. The sales team manually marked the credit/deduction requests with information about the various sales promotion deductions provided to the distributors. The marked-up requests and a corresponding spreadsheet containing additional data were mailed or emailed to the appropriate Customer Service Representative who then processed the credit request by entering the data directly into the accounting system (Warehouse Information Management System – WIMS) and generating a credit memo.

    This was a slow and tedious manual process which resulted in the payments arriving from the distributor with the deductions already applied prior to the sales credit memo being posted. This made the cash application process a difficult task because of the mismatched payments to invoices.

  • Solution

    Centreviews RPA Bots automated the credit and deduction requests which reduced the work saddled on the sales staff.

    Mary took note of Foley Family Wines’ existing processes and, working collaboratively with Joyce, set up an implementation cycle that would coordinate with the invoicing and payment cycle.

    The goal was to approve and post the credit requests into WIMS prior to the payments arriving from the distributor. However, since the staff of FFW had long used manual processes, Joyce knew the new process needed to be introduced gradually. She selected a salesperson to pilot the program and together they worked out all of the kinks before beginning to introduce the new process to the remaining sales team members.

    Centreviews removed the burden of entering the deduction data from the sales team. The credit/deduction requests are now submitted directly into the Centreviews Receivables Solution. They are routed electronically through Centreviews to the appropriate sales team member for the assignment of deduction codes then route automatically to the sales manager for approval.

    All approved credit memos are uploaded through a file exchange from Centreviews to the Foley Family Wines WIMS system. This efficient process enabled the approved credit memos to be posted prior to the payments being received, which in turn resulted in the elimination of payment to invoice mismatches and improved distributor relationships with more timely payments.

    Centreviews streamlined the credit memo process and improved the cash application process enabling both the sales team and the sales administration team to focus their efforts on growing the company and to enjoy a more balanced workload. It also reduced the issues associated with the assimilation of new acquisition.

  • Results

    Now that an effective system is in place, Foley Family Wines is planning for the future expansion of the Centreviews RPA bots to improve operations further.

    Foley Family Wines’ next step is to have the deduction codes entered into Centreviews so that the sales team members can focus on selling.

    FFW management also envisions more Centreviews bots connecting to others in wine country, which could potentially automate what has been described by many as one of the most difficult administrative tasks that wine businesses face. Now that FFW’s staff has grown accustomed to the technology, automation is a part of daily life. Processes are more streamlined, keeping things organized and on track and enabling Foley Family Wines to grow its business.

    The system is giving the team more control and they have access to more data.
    - Joyce Gromada  |  Sales Administration Manager, Foley Family Wines