Panasonic India comprises 16 group companies, and is the regional headquarters – responsible for managing the affairs of the India, Dubai, and Turkey markets. To overcome the challenges faced by their manual processes for their Travel and Expense (T&E) management, Panasonic India first utilised SAP Concur solutions before extending its coverage to all of its operating companies in the country and subsequently the Dubai and Turkey markets.
HR and finance impacted by lengthy expense management processes
Panasonic India had been manually managing its expense management processes of their 1500 employees that are spread across the country, leading to long reimbursement cycles that also had a lack of transparency on the approval tracking mechanism. With most of their employees paying for their travel and other expenses from their pocket and later filing claims to get reimbursements, the manual expense management process meant that they were unable to submit claims while on the go.
This contributed to the company’s finance department having to spend time verifying and reconciling the invoices, making it difficult for the departments to have sufficient visibility into their overall expenses for them to prepare their budgets accurately. Furthermore, the finance had difficulty ensuring and enforcing compliance to the spend policies that subsequently affect their audit as well.
Meanwhile, their HR department had concerns on the poor employee experience as a result of the delays in the processing of the claims and disbursal of reimbursements.
Automating the T&E process using the cloud
After consulting the necessary cross functional teams involved – HR, Finance, and IT – on their respective desired priorities and expected outcomes, Panasonic India decided to implement SAP Concur solutions and integrated it with SAP ERP and SAP Success Factors solutions. While the integration with SAP Success Factors solutions helped fetch the employee data, other spend related data were accessed through the SAP ERP system.
The solution has since helped the company to accelerate the claim approval process and shorten the reimbursement cycles. It has enabled employees to submit their claims quickly while at home or on the move, and monitor their claim status. Even if there are changes to management or approvers, the claim approval status remains unaffected, ensuring a smooth experience for employees. From a 14-30 days period, the reimbursement cycle is shortened by 50% on average to 7-10 days.
In addition, with the complete policy visibility, the employees are now more aware of what kind and category of expenses that can be claimed and which are not allowed. This allows the employees to be more prudent with their business expenses, contributing to 15-20% T&E savings.
There is also a 20-30% improvement in operational efficiency as a result of the solution. Moreover, the finance department is now better equipped to maintain their invoice repository with the system being designed to support business rules, making policy adherence possible. The policy compliance has now become more streamlined, and the audit process has been simplified as the finance department can better maintain audit trails.
“Improved employee experience and productivity, better compliance and enhanced operational efficiency are some of the benefits we have achieved with the SAP Concur implementation. We have been able to realise savings of 15-20% in our T&E spend due to better spend visibility and policy adherence.”
Amandeep Bawa, Group Head – IT (AppS & Infra), Panasonic India