Daily Archives: October 6, 2011

Lavante Recovery – A Risk-Free Way to Segue Into SIM

Yesterday, I was the first to get a sneak peak into the live-beta of Lavante‘s new Recovery Audit solution that is being built on top of the brand-spanking-new Supplier Information Management solution that they released earlier this year (as showcased in this February post). Given it’s unique foundation, and the decade of recovery audit experience that has been baked into it, it is no surprise that Lavante is finding ten (10) times the savings of an average recovery audit, and up to fifty (50) times for select clients — even though the product is still in Private Beta and full (seamless) integration (with SIM) won’t be available until next year.

The great thing about the solution is that the first thing it does is identify omissions, errors, and inconsistencies in your supplier data. Using phone number, fax, address, web site, e-mail, and TIN checks, the software is able to find duplicate, erroneous, or incomplete records that need attention. Once these are fixed — either through automated import of up-to-date data from it’s network of over 2 Million companies, or from a multi-channel reach-out that seamlessly integrates telephone, fax, and snail-mail reach-out as well as e-mail reach-out — the software automatically applies a suite of rules and checks to find duplicate payments, overpayments, and potentially fraudulent payments that you have not yet identified. And once these are verified as accurate, provided you have a decent agreement/contract in place, you can go after the vendor for credits.

The benefits of good supplier data and multi-channel reach-out cannot be underestimated where recovery audits are concerned. For the latter, they have average reach-out response rates of over 50% (and as high as 80% for some customers), which are eight (8) to ten (10) times the response rates of providers who just do e-mail / web-based reach-outs. With respect to the former, cleaner supplier data makes for more complete transaction data, which not only increases the chance of finding a duplicate, incorrect, or fraudulent transaction — but improves your follow-on spend analysis efforts (and results). As a result of its supplier data cleansing effort, Lavante is typically able to process at least 95% of spend through its recovery audit solution, which maximizes the chances that it will find the majority of your recovery opportunities.

The SaaS solution is quite simple to use — consisting of four main components: the dashboard, claims management, invoice management, and reporting. The claims management section allows you to review each claim found by the system, which includes complete information about the claim — type, reason, organization, supplier, status, supporting documentation, etc, and take appropriate actions, which can include additional review, processing, or reassignment. The invoice section lets you manage your invoices from Lavante for recovery services. If you choose the fixed fee option, you will get one invoice on the agreed upon invoicing cycle for access to the software. If you choose the risk-free contingency model, then you will get an invoice for each valid claim made to a supplier that results in a credit or repayment. The reporting section consists of a suite of audit, cash-flow, claims,
invoice, non-compliance, OFAC-SDN, and Vendor reports that give you pretty much any piece of information correlated with any other piece of information any way you want to look at it. The dashboard allows you to see your claim and invoice summary data at a glance, and to select the four most important reports to you — which can be viewed in (multiple) chart form(s) or in tabular form, and exported to csv or pdf. And while it’s a basic solution at this point, the only obvious weakness, given that the one goal of the platform at this point is to find all payments eligible for recovery, is that they do not yet have a custom report builder.

I’m sure they’ll get there. They shared with me their 2012+ roadmap for the solution, and it’s quite impressive. They have a vision to build on the solution to extend it first to a contract compliance solution, then to a fraud prevention solution, and finally to a risk management platform that will also integrate with their supplier management platform which will include compliance management. They understand that, done right, recovery is a one-trick pony (because, if you do it right, you also identify the source problem and fix it) and that the real value is not in recovery, but duplicate, overpayment, and fraud prevention — and monitoring transactions in such a way that they can be used to judge supplier, and supply chain, risk. I expect it will take them a few years to get there, but it will also take an average company one to two years to identify the majority of reasons for duplicate and over-payments and fix their processes, so Lavante should be able to grow in lock-step with their customer base. Regardless, Lavante is a company to watch and a solution to investigate for any Fortune 500/Global 3000 (want-to-be) that has never done a recovery audit. At the very least the included supplier data analysis service will add value. And when your data is in order, you can take your transaction analysis to the next level. And given that good data enables good spend analysis, and that a spend analysis will typically uncover 10% savings opportunities, what have you got to lose?

Recovery Audits – Are They Worth It?

According to one vendor:

AP departments face daily challenges, including fraud, data decay, product returns, and errors — resulting in transactional errors and [lost] credits with suppliers. An ongoing, comprehensive review of your suppliers’ AR records, known as a statement audit, recovers these dollars for your company. If you’re not performing a statement audit, you’re leaving money with your suppliers.

And this is true, but is there enough money being lost to make a recovery audit worth it? Some statistics state that, for an average Fortune 500/Global 3000, a traditional average recovery audit will only uncover 50,000 to 100,000 in vendor credits for every 1,000,000,000. That’s a best case savings of only 0.01%. I can march into an office supply vendor and demand 10% off the top (before I take my business across the street), get it, and probably save you that much from 10 minutes of negotiation. Considering that the average company will spend well over 1,000,000 on office supplies, taking 10% off of that is well over 100,000 dollars, and quicker than a traditional recovery audit (where a team of “analysts” pour through transactions hoping to find duplicates you don’t know about).

However, using technology and analysis, some companies are able to recover an average of 600,000 to 1,000,000 in vendor credits for every 1,000,000,000 in a recovery audit, and even though this is still only 0.1%, that’s enough money to make it worth while if it doesn’t cost you very much. And in some cases, the leaders are able to recover 5,000,000 for every 1,000,000,000, and that’s always worth it no matter how big you are. Especially if you can get a good contingency-based arrangement.

And it’s even better if, in the process, the vendor, using SIM-powered technology, can identify problems with your supplier records that you need to fix to prevent such errors from happening again in the future. So where do you look for such a vendor? Stay tuned!