Lead times in Accounts Payable were variable, causing suppliers to frequently request status updates. When an “assigned specialist” was absent or on vacation, work for that supplier would be delayed. Time spent verifying, validating, and issuing payment was often delayed due to variable processes, and exceptions caused further delays and dissatisfaction.
The AP Team learned to create current and future state value stream maps. Office cells were implemented to flow work into newly created centers of excellence. High volume, low complexity invoices were handled by one cell, and highly complex, low volume accounts were sent to a second cell. A high speed machine was purchased to eliminate redundant entries and increase throughput. Job rotation and cross training within the cells ensured that “Specialists” soon transformed into “Generalists” capable of handling five different processes.
The result was that lead time was reduced from ten days to three days.