Real World Examples of Proven BPM Success:

An Ultimus Customer Success Story

Harvest Operations Corporation Reduces Processing Time by 90% with Operating Expense Accrual Solution

Backgroundbpm operating expense accruals

Ultimus Client: Harvest Operations Corporation
Industry: Energy / Natural Resources / Utilities
Solution: Operating Expense Accrual

Formed in 2002 and employing roughly 350 people, Harvest Operations Corporation is one of Canada’s largest energy companies, offering exposure to upstream oil and natural gas production and downstream refining and marketing operations.

Goal: Automate Manual Process, Reduce Errors, Improve Efficiency

Prior to Ultimus, managers at Harvest Operations Corporation were required on a monthly basis to tediously enter estimates for monthly operating expenses into an extensive spreadsheet. This spreadsheet was broken down by over 100 business/geographic areas and 15 different cost drivers, making it an unwieldy document to work with.  

This outdated process was prone to errors, extremely time consuming, and offered no easy means to analyze the data. Other challenges with the process included:

  • Wide margin for error- Once the data was entered, there was no formal approval process or means to verify accuracy.  As this information was used to forecast future spending, even one error could have a significant impact to the cash flow of the organization.
  • No frame of reference- The manual data entry each month did not allow managers the time or tools to accurately forecast expenses for the coming month.
  • Long processing time- It took up to three days just for mangers to enter estimates and then an additional three to four weeks for the accounting team to process and book the estimates.  Total processing time could be over 30 days – and this was repeated each month.
  • Loss of productivity- Managers spent so much time performing this manual process each month that their overall job productivity was being negatively impacted. 

Ultimus' Approach

Using the Ultimus BPM Suite, Harvest Operations Corporation created an automated accrual process that sends one incident per geographic area.  Three months of estimated and actual expense data is included so managers have a solid framework to make an accurate estimate for the coming month. Automation also ensures that each incident is channeled through the proper approvals and then finally to the accounting team.  

In terms of efficiency, the processing time has decreased dramatically from over a month to log a complete cycle of data to only three days, giving managers the freedom to spend time on other critical tasks. Overall, this process has brought Harvest Energy better reporting, better variances, and the ability to spend more time actually analyzing the numbers and forecasting future spending, rather than wasting time with an antiquated process.

Implementation

The implementation of Ultimus’ BPM solution was smooth and efficient with Harvest Operations Corporation seeing results almost immediately and continued improvements with each monthly cycle. The previous outdated, error-ridden process that was such a drain on company resources and finances has become a smooth, accurate model for forecasting future spending.  The Ultimus solution has enabled Harvest Operations Corporation to improve efficiency, accuracy and speed of their operating expense accrual and approval process dramatically, resulting in a huge financial impact to their organization.

About Ultimus

Ultimus has automated more business processes than any other Business Process Management (BPM) vendor worldwide. Ultimus Adaptive BPM Suite has enabled companies to accelerate their performance goals at every stage of corporate growth. Ultimus’ award-winning technology seamlessly adapts to people, systems and change. Utilized by more than 2,000 customers worldwide, Ultimus provides solutions to organizations such as Pfizer, ProHealth, Bausch & Lomb, Northrup Grumman, DHL, Microsoft, Daimler, Perdue Farms, Chevron, and Tulane University. Ultimus is headquartered in North America, and has additional offices in Latin America, Europe, Asia, the Middle East and Australia.

 

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Challenges

  • Time-consuming, manual process
  • Large margin for error
  • No formal approval process to ensure accuracy

Solutions

  • Automate accrual process with data storage
  • Approval process to ensure accuracy of information
  • Reporting capabilities and tracking of variances

Successes

  • Processing time reduced by 90%
  • Enhanced productivity through freeing up managers’ time
  • Increased accuracy of reporting and forecasting of future spending
  • Ability to analyze data to make critical financial decisions

Key Benefits

  • Historical data provides managers the framework to accurately estimate spending for the coming month
  • Approval hierarchy ensures data entry is accurate
  • High-level reporting capabilities for senior management
  • Time better spent analyzing data to forecasting future spending
  • Efficiency gains each month– process that used to take a month or more has been trimmed to only three days
  • Completely automated process

 

“The Ultimus BPM Suite has had a huge financial impact on our organization by allowing us to accurately forecast future spending.”