As part of the Delonghi Group, Kenwood Ltd in the UK has been an international powerhouse in the Small Domestic Appliances market for over 60 years. With annual revenues topping €380 million, internal budget approvals are not taken lightly. Since the approval process was executed manually – which made it quite time-consuming – the finance department decided to look for a simple eSignature solution that worked with G Suite, while avoiding bulky systems or costly infrastructure development.
The company was specifically looking for an eSignature solution compatible with the Google ecosystem.
Kenwood Ltd in the UK is a part of the De'Longhi group, a brand that has been part of the average American's life since before indoor plumbing and telephones. Kenwood and De’Longhi have a rich history of innovation and quality spanning more than 150 years and today are an international powerhouse in the small domestic appliances market. De'Longhi Group, which acquired appliance giant Kenwood in 2001 and bought the rights to Braun household products in 2013 now has a presence in 33 countries worldwide.
As the Finance Controller at a Kenwood Ltd with annual revenues topping 380 Million Euros, Duncan Nicholls has a lot on his plate. Like most medium to large businesses, the financial heart of the organization is a group-developed mainframe computer system which maintains the supply chain and accounting activities. The system works well, but relies on manual authorization procedures and lacks some flexibility around the use of more modern concepts such as digital approvals. These traditional authorization procedures in accounts payable were not efficient regarding time and resources.
"Our historical system of supplier invoice approval involved physically sending invoices around the business for signatures," says Duncan. "It had become an administrative overhead just to keep track of all of the documents."
The old way of doing things also made it challenging to pay invoices on time, since the physical approval was quite time-consuming and required that all signers be present at the office. From start to finish, invoice approvals used to take the finance department anywhere from one day to two weeks to finalize depending on the nature of the invoice. Frustrated with this non-value adding administrative investment, Duncan decided it was time to speed up the process, so he began looking for a simple eSignature solution that could make use of the modern G Suite apps, while avoiding costly systems and infrastructure development. After trialing a competitor or two, he decided that SignEasy best met the finance department’s needs.
“I'd definitely recommend SignEasy to other business users."
– Duncan Nicholls, Finance Controller, Kenwood Ltd
By the end of SignEasy’s 14-day free trial, Duncan was convinced our software was the ideal fit for his bustling, paperwork-heavy department.
DocuSign was the first digital approval platform that Kenwood Ltd decided to test out. While it performed well during the low-usage trial, (which convinced him that eSignatures were the right way to go), Duncan experienced some sticker shock when he looked into expanding the usage volume to fit his supplier invoice approval plan.
“The increase in volume of documents for approval made the costs prohibitive,” he said. After reviewing a few other invoice-specific approval systems that were too complicated and expensive, SignEasy’s fair and scalable pricing structure was a welcome relief.
Nicholls was impressed, not only with SignEasy’s easy-to-use interface, but more importantly, with the software’s compatibility with Gmail and other G Suite apps. Being able to initiate an approval request easily through Gmail was huge for Kenwood as it immediately gave the approver limitless geographical and accessibility boundaries when approving invoices. No longer did they have to be in the office or at the end of a dedicated access into the business network. Furthermore, the Google integrations gave Kenwood access to more and more tools to provide bespoke automation and gain administrative efficiencies. “We found that SignEasy could be easily integrated with other Google apps in order to automate approved invoice storage locally,” said Duncan. “This was key in helping us create a local digital approved invoice database with very little administrative effort or infrastructure changes.”
Converting to digital invoices helped the Kenwood Ltd’s finance department increase its supplier payment performance, simplify its day-to-day operations, and make costs more transparent and visible throughout the business. “Our success of our SignEasy invoice approval project has allowed us to progress other digital reporting initiatives and increase visibility and allowed better cost control within the business”.
Duncan also lauded SignEasy for its personalized – and personable! – client care. “We have really appreciated the time and effort that the SignEasy support team has devoted to us,” he said. “They've taken the time to understand how we are using the system and have been constantly improving and developing [it].”
The company was specifically looking for an eSignature solution compatible with the Google ecosystem