Size: Large Industry: Consulting & Services Applications: Sage 200, Sage 50
Swiss Post case study
Swiss Post is the postal service of Switzerland and the country’s second largest employer. It enables the country’s citizens to freely exchange goods and information, and ensures that payment transactions are executed reliably. Swiss Post is represented in 24 countries, 14 of which are in Europe. Through partnerships, it offers its customers access to a global logistics network and is currently ranked number five in cross-border letter post.
Swiss Post is committed to sustainable corporate management. In Switzerland, the company has launched a sustainability initiative that aims to significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Swiss Post makes extensive use of renewable energy sources and has been giving its Swiss customers the opportunity to ship their letters and parcels carbon-neutrally since 2009.
“We found the system easy to implement. Webexpenses trained our accounts staff on the expense claim aspects of the system, which took about half a day. It has simplified the accounting operation and made the processing of expense claims much quicker. It is easy to solve disputes over expense claims and the reports the system generates are extremely useful. We can see at a glance how much is spent on which type of claim. It links with our Sage 200 product perfectly and we like its simplicity of use and intuitive feel.”
Challenges faced with expense management
In line with its desire to be a highly sustainable company, Swiss Post Solutions Ltd. in the UK made the decision to become ISO14001 certified in 2007. ISO 14001 requires an organisation to assess the impact of its activities on the environment, including which activities have the greatest impact and on which an organisation might be able to limit the carbon footprint. One area of concern for Swiss Post Solutions was business travel.
In order to obtain the standard, Swiss Post Solutions needed a method of tracking the environmental improvements it was making. At the same time, the company was also looking to improve the efficiency of its accounts department and in particular the amount of time being spent on processing expense claims.
Many Swiss Post Solutions employees travel extensively during the course of their work and the company needed to reduce the amount of paper being sent around the organisation in the course of approving expense claims. The Excel system that was in use was proving cumbersome as the company grew. Approvals on expenses were taking a long time to be processed and receipts sometimes got lost. Swiss Post Solutions was keen to find a web-based system that would simplify the process.
Max Luff, Sustainability Manager for Swiss Post Solutions Ltd. was tasked with looking for a system that would enable the company to track its carbon footprint, to comply with the requirements of ISO 14001. Max had heard that webexpenses offered such a system, and it was only after she approached webexpenses to see if it could help with carbon tracking for Swiss Post Solutions that she discovered the expense management features of the product.
Initially, the webexpenses’ product was designed to help organisations manage their expense claims, the carbon tracking feature was added in 2010. The carbon tracking module within webexpenses allows business travellers to track the carbon footprint of different types of transport, including cars, buses, trains and planes and calculate their carbon footprint using up-to-date, government-approved carbon and environmental data.
Unlike other carbon tracking systems currently on the market, the webexpenses’ software works in real time, whereas others produce the results only at the reporting stage. This means that business travellers can plan their route in advance to minimise their carbon footprint.
Prior to approaching webexpenses, Swiss Post had not been tracking its carbon footprint other than looking at car mileage receipts it received from its employees who travelled on business. It now needed a more comprehensive system that would allow the company to also monitor the carbon footprint of other forms of travel, including plane and train.
With webexpenses, Swiss Post now had a system that met its requirements for an effective way of tracking carbon footprints as well as offering an improved means of handling its expense claims, all in one software package.
Swiss Post has added the SMS module and credit card module of the system too so that expenses can be sent by text message and downloaded automatically from credit card statements respectively.
How webexpenses helped
Swiss Post Solutions Ltd. now holds ISO14001 certification for its sites in the UK and is continually striving for improvement in the area of carbon tracking and reducing the organisation’s carbon footprint.
Max Luff commented:
“We are able to pull concrete data relating to how much carbon we have used off the webexpenses’ system, which has been very helpful.”
The webexpenses’ system was initially used just in the UK, but it is now being rolled out to the rest of Europe and the US. Swiss Post currently has over 200 users of the system divided between the UK and Switzerland and is soon to go live in Germany and several other countries.