Albert facilitates paperless accounting communication to small suppliers


The largest Czech chain Albert saved 2 million CZK per year in accounting thanks to a new portal that allows electronic exchange of documents and reduces the cost of printed communication. GRiT, which developed the albert web app and allowed 99.56% of Albert's suppliers to communicate paperlessly, is behind it all. The advantage for suppliers is easier entry into the chain. A bonus for final customers are regional food on offer and a wider range on offer.

"Millions of accounting documents go through our bookkeeping every year, we exchange 100,000 a month only with bakeries. With this volume, the risk of human errors when processing orders, delivery notes or invoices increases extremely. Since 2002, we have been exchanging accounting documents with the largest suppliers via Electronic Data Interchange (EDI), which is a solution for paperless accounting communication. We are gradually expanding the EDI standard and involving all suppliers who are interested in this solution - even the smallest ones, with whom we exchange a few documents per month. With GRiT, we have developed the Albert portal, a free EDI solution made for small suppliers. All they need to communicate with us now is internet access. We bear all the costs of operation,"says Albert Manager Petr Beran.

Simple to use, no costs for vendors

Albert portal is used by less than 100 suppliers who exchanged 1300 invoices with the chain in May. Although this is a fraction of the total number of accounting documents, the annual savings thanks to the system from GRiT amount to millions of crowns.

In practice, once Albert and the supplier agree to cooperate, they also deal with the issue of effective exchange of documents. If the supplier does not yet use and is interested in EDI, they will either pay for their own EDI provider, which is not free, or use the Albert portal.

"The Albert portal basically opened the door to Albert stores. It is a simple and clear system that has saved us the cost of acquiring our own solution for electronic exchange of accounting documents. For the time being, we supply to eight stores in south Moravia and Zlín region, so we generate fewer invoices compared to wholesalers. A standard EDI solution would be too costly for us. We see as a pleasant extension of the available possibilities from the chain," says distribution manager Michal Tomek from Czech Craft Beers, who supplies beer from Moravia and Lucky Bastard breweries to the beer chain.

The advantage of EDI is fast and automatic communication without human errors and a detailed overview of all orders, invoices and other documents, including their history on both sides. The only limitation of the Albert portal is that, of course, small suppliers cannot communicate with other customers through it – if they want to deliver to other chains, they have to deal with the exchange of documents differently.

"Our solution is tailor-made for really small suppliers who only need a paperless exchange of accounting documents with Albert. It is a simple internet interface that I would compare to an email. In an internet browser, suppliers open the Albert portal website, log in and invoice or resolve orders. They don't install anything, they don't need any special software or service. At the same time, they pay nothing, Albert bears all the costs," explains GRiT’s Business Development Manager David Reichel.

In food retail, EDI is a standard solution for most chains. Therefore, if small suppliers decide to switch from the Albert portal to paid EDI solutions, they will also open ways to other chains. They can then benefit from paperless exchange of accounting documents even with them. Thanks to GRiT's ORiON solution, they can integrate EDI into the internal business system and further automate document exchange. Almost nothing will change for Albert portal users. The transition is simple, the system is almost identical to use, and all the documents they have exchanged with the chain so far will remain in it.

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