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Esker, the leader in document process automation solutions, announced today that the Lafuma Group, a French-based specialist in outdoor, mountain and surfing equipment and clothing, has selected Esker for the automation and outsourcing of its customer invoices. Deployed out of Cegid’s retail application, the Esker solution enables the group’s seven brands (Lafuma, Millet, Eider, Oxbow, Killy, Ober and Le Chameau) to automate the processing of over 300,000 yearly invoices – 60,000 of which are outside France.

Prior to implementing the Esker solution, each company within the Lafuma Group managed its invoices internally. Every day invoices were manually printed and stuffed into envelopes, mobilizing a dozen employees. The process was not optimized and invoices for the same customer were not systematically grouped together.

To remedy this situation and to achieve cost savings, the Lafuma Group decided to outsource the sending of its customer invoices, and following a request for bids, selected Esker among five competing industry vendors.

“We selected Esker for its clear pricing, its capacity to offer low postage ratesregardless of mail volume, and for its natural integration into our Cegid business application. However, it was our visit to the Esker production facility that really made the difference and cemented our decision. We were impressed by their rigorous production processes. In addition to expertise in managing customer invoices, Esker offered a unique solution which allows us to progressively evolve towards electronic invoicing,” said Olivier Salivet, Director of Information Systems, Lafuma.

Today, the Esker solution retrieves invoice data generated by the Cegid business application Orliweb, createstheinvoice according to the identityof the Lafuma Group brand, and sends it, either in paper format via one of Esker’s mail production facilities, or in electronic format. For paper invoices, the Esker mail facilities in France and Spain process and print Lafuma invoices at the facility closest to the recipient’s address, enabling Lafuma to benefit from the lowest postal rates.

Completely integrated into the Cegid application and transparent to users, the Esker solution enables Lafuma to:

  • Achieve 30-35 percent savings on postage costs, thanks to low postage rates, regardless of volume – from batches to individual mail pieces
  • Automatically group invoices to the same recipient into one envelope
  • Clearly identify invoice production costs, thanks to detailed Esker reports
  • Ensure customer invoice tracking and resolve disputes more quickly
  • Benefit from increased capacity by mailing invoices via Esker mail facilities in France and Spain
  • Allow customers to choose the invoice reception format– either paper or electronic
  • Reinforce its environmental positioning by progressively quitting paper

“Esker solutions enable us to improve our productivity and to benefit from reliable customer invoice tracking. The 30 to35 percent savings achieved on postage costs, the grouping of invoices and the decrease in the number of envelopes used, deliver strong return on investment. The adoption of electronic invoicing by our customers should also allow us to achieve additional savings,” concluded Salivet.

Implemented at Lafuma’s headquarters as well as at its Oxbow and Ober subsidiaries, the Esker solution will be progressively deployed at the other companies over the course of 2011.

Beyond this first step, Lafuma plans to extend document automation and outsourcing to other types of documents including order confirmations, collection letters, pay slips and simple mail.

About Lafuma

The Lafuma Group is made up of five major brands, grouped under four divisions (Outdoor: Lafuma; Mountain: Millet and Eider; Surf: Oxbow; Country: Le Chameau). Invoking emotion and aspiration, these brands have successfully rooted themselves in the sports and nature domain to become the brands of reference in the outdoor space. Capable of adapting to changing market contexts, innovation, international expansion and surrounding itself with true talent, the Lafuma Group maintains an important market presence.With 245 million Euros in 2010 sales revenue, the Lafuma Group employs 2,000 people worldwide, 900 of whom are in France.

About Esker

Esker is a recognized leader in helping organizations reduce the use of paper, eliminate manual processes and simplify IT landscapes. With its comprehensive platform, Esker delivers the benefits of automated document processing as on-demand services (SaaS) and on-premise solutions. Customers achieve significant operational efficiencies, cost savings and ROI in as little as three to six months while gaining visibility and control within order-to-cash and procure-to-pay business processes ranging from sales order management and accounts receivable to purchasing and accounts payable. Founded in 1985, Esker operates globally with more than 80,000 customers and millions of licensed users worldwide. Esker has global headquarters in Lyon, France and U.S. headquarters in Madison, Wisconsin. For more information, visit www.esker.com.

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