How AK Pizza Crust Reduced Staff Time for AP Processing While the Company Doubled in Size
AK Pizza Crust turned to The Priton Group for help with their accounts payable (AP) process. Today, thanks to an improved document management system, the manufacturer has streamlined their AP process and reduced staff time on invoices—despite the company nearly doubling in size.
Green Bay-based AK Pizza Crust manufactures self-rising and par-baked crusts, as well as frozen dough balls. Consumer surveys consistently show that a quality crust can make or break a pizza. That’s likely a big reason why so many businesses have come to rely on AK Pizza Crust.
In fact, the company has grown considerably in the past five years. But with rapid growth can come increased demand on a company’s AP process. AK Pizza Crust had a vision for how they wanted to improve their process. Unfortunately, they struggled to find the right consultant to help them do that.
Challenge: How to improve the AP process AND get way more from your document management software
When Debby Berchem joined AK Pizza Crust as the CFO five years ago, the company had recently purchased another pizza dough manufacturer—just one among several ways AK Pizza Crust was growing.
With an eye on improving financial workflows, Debby saw opportunities to make the AP process more efficient. “We weren’t under financial stress, but I knew that growth can hide things,” she says.
“I wanted to address our AP challenges and streamline the process so that we could get our arms around exactly where all the cash was going.” - Debby Berchem, CFO, AK Pizza Crust
To that end, the company purchased FileBound Document Management Software through a third-party consultant. Unfortunately, the vendor’s software support over several years never yielded the kind of results Debby envisioned. AK Pizza Crust was still left with AP challenges such as:
Finding an efficient way to reduce reliance on paper documentation.
Implementing OCR (optical character recognition) as a reliable means for automatically extracting data from scanned invoices.
Getting more use—and value—from the document management system they had already invested a lot of time and money in.
Improving their overall invoice routing and approval process.
“I had all but given up hope that we would be able to use FileBound with invoices that were actually read electronically, routed for approval, and paid,” remembers Debby.
But that’s when AK Pizza Crust was introduced to The Priton Group.
Solutions: Providing expert software guidance and attentive customer service, and revamping the AP process
Within a matter of months of working together, says Debby, The Priton Group “completely flipped” a situation that AK Pizza Crust had been struggling with for years. “The transformation was amazing.”
More specifically, the solutions included the following:
Providing software guidance for the right OCR tool. “They said, ‘We think we know an OCR program that will work great for your needs, and it integrates well with FileBound.’ And then they proved it did,” says Debby.
Making it easy to work together to provide customized solutions. “Their response time on our questions was great. And my Accounting Supervisor would get on the phone with The Priton Group’s service support, and they would work through things quickly,” says Debby.
“What stands out to me is that The Priton Group understood our pain points and what we wanted for our AP process. And it really showed in their customer service.” - Debby Berchem, CFO, AK Pizza Crust
Streamlining the existing document management system. “They took our FileBound set-up, which was really convoluted, and streamlined it to create a much smoother invoice approval process,” Debby says. “They also helped us understand how to store documents in a much smarter way.”
Results: Despite AP activities nearly doubling due to growth, staff time devoted to invoices has gone down—not up
According to Debby, since partnering with The Priton Group in early 2019, AK Pizza Crust has enjoyed results like the following:
An ultra-efficient AP process. Over the past five years, AK Pizza Crust has nearly doubled in size, both in square footage and sales. But because the AP process is now more efficient than ever, Debby hasn’t needed to add employees.
She has one staff member, her AP coordinator, who receives all the invoices, routes them for approval, enters them into the company’s ERP system, and cuts payments weekly.
“In fact, I have one person where it used to take two, even though we have around twice as many AP tasks.” - Debby Berchem, CFO, AK Pizza Crust
A near-seamless pivot to working from home when COVID-19 hit. “Thank goodness we started working with The Priton Group in 2019—because then 2020 hit,” says Debby.
Beginning in mid-March of 2020, a number of company departments, including Debby’s finance group, began working from home.
“Thanks to The Priton Group, we already had this exceptional AP process in place, one that gave us the ability to see, and process, invoices from anywhere. I don’t know how we would have functioned in the past year without it. It would have been a disaster,” Debby says.
More efficient document management being adopted company-wide. FileBound has now become AK Pizza Crust’s enterprise-wide document management software—thanks to The Priton Group’s help, says Debby.
“We've incorporated 12 company projects into FileBound,” says Debby. “This goes way beyond making us more efficient. As a CFO, I would say The Priton Group is helping us make sure we have internal controls built in for critical company processes.”
AK Pizza Crust now has a consultant they can count on for help with continually improving their document management system. Debby says she’s now excited by the vast potential a software like FileBound has for the company, adding, “But I’m not about to try and tap into that potential without the help of The Priton Group.”