Case Study Thomas Cook

Case Study Thomas Cook

Automating the processing of 400,000 invoices, with a peak over the summer months: a project right up the street of RecoMatics. RecoMatics, specialising in automatic document management, designed a solution for tour operator Thomas Cook, which scans documents, extracts data, sends these to SAP and then matches the data with those in the booking system.

The customer

Thomas Cook is one of Europe’s most well-known tour operators. They do not only offer holidays under their own brand, but also under the Neckermann and Pegase labels. In our country, the offices for car and flight holidays are located in Ghent, as well as an airline and distribution network.

The issue

The finance department of Thomas Cook Belgium does not only process their own invoices, but also acts as a service centre for Thomas Cook The Netherlands and Thomas Cook France. The department in Ghent processes approximately 400,000 invoices yearly – invoices which have to be paid to hotel owners and other suppliers correctly and on time. However, checking and processing these invoices was very time consuming, with half of these invoices arriving between July and September. Automating this process therefore was more than a necessity. 

The solution

RecoMatics implemented the solution for Thomas Cook in two steps. The first phase was a pilot, during which 20,000 invoices for overhead cost were scanned, the relevant data extracted and sent to SAP, to be then processed in SAP according to the SAP workflow module. In the second phase, the yearly quota of over 350,000 hotel invoices was included, the largest number arriving over the summer months. Thanks to the recognition system RecoMatics installed, and the advanced connection to SAP and to the Thomas Cook booking system, these invoices can easily and correctly be processed from now on.

How the automatic invoice processing works: 

  1. Automatic document separation via AUDI:  thanks to the EasyForm AUDI module (Automatic Document Identification), hotel invoices can be scanned without any prior requirements. No need to label documents with barcodes or providing tabs. AUDI automatically bundles the scanned pages in invoice documents.   
  2. Integration with the in-house booking system: the data exported from the invoice are matched with the price in the Thomas Cook booking system (based on voucher number, departure date, number of travellers…). In case the price matches the calculation, the invoice will be logged in the system and prepared for payment. If there are any anomalies, the operator is able to trace this deviance very quickly via an advanced key entry screen (showing all data next to the invoice image). An automatic message is then sent to the hotel with a request to adjust the invoice.
  3. Auto learning feature:  the more invoices are being processed, the quicker the line data will be recognised, decreasing the need for manual input.

The client’s testimonial:

“We were very happy with the outcome of the test case we did with RecoMatics, and the second phase only confirmed this for us. Where before our people spent almost 80% of their time on data entry, today this has been reduced to only 30%. The new process enables us to check the accuracy of invoices a lot faster, freeing time for our operators to provide analysis. Also, the number of temporary workers we normally would hire over the summer months has decreased.”

“Where before our people spent almost 80% of their time on data entry, today this has been reduced to only 30%.”