Inventory Control Case Study

Data Reconciliation & Inventory Control for U.S. Oil

THE PROBLEM

U.S. Oil, a leading energy and transportation products distributor, needed a system to automate its petroleum products inventory reconciliation process. They used a series of manual processes that took significant time and was prone to human error. This extended their monthly process. In fact, team members spent approximately 260 hours each month reconciling, tracking down data, and fixing errors. With demanding reconciliation deadlines, the accounting team could not devote time to investigating the root causes of reconciliation issues and other project needs.

THE IGEN SOLUTION

After an unsuccessful search for a suitable third-party tool and evaluating that an in-house solution was not the right direction, U.S. Oil reached out to IGEN about the issue. The organization was familiar with IGEN’s matching technology and software, and they were curious if it could be applied to their inventory reconciliation needs.

The leadership team at IGEN took the challenge and worked with U.S. Oil to develop a new solution. Our data reconciliation technology allows users to easily identify discrepancies by automating the input of vendor data and matching data points from various vendors and internal ERP systems. Our data transformation technology allows the input of data sources with varying headings, labels and other information specific to the vendor. It can determine what data matches with the U.S. Oil specific terminology meaning less time reconciling data and more time analyzing results.

Our software automatically identifies matched processes, like disbursement and receipt BOL’s. This allows the accountant to easily identify and investigate items needing further analysis because it can weed through the matched data and find the real reconciliation needs. It's exception-based reporting at its best. The technology also allows for customized rules, which can be applied to match company specific agreements. Our data reconciliation software can be applied to proprietary inventories, Terminal Through Put Agreements, Terminal-line Agreements, and Exchange Agreements.

The labor savings for the team has been very impactful. “Reconciliation with just one of our vendors took about 40 hours to complete,” says Brad Henning, accounting manager for U.S. Oil. “The process for that specific recon now takes us 3 hours.”

THE IMPACT

The business benefits go beyond faster reconciliation processes. With more timely and accurate inventory reconciliations, the commercial team has the ability to make more educated decisions on product movement and the tax team may incur fewer needs for amendments and revisions in their tax reporting processes.

In addition, our software has also helped with the U.S. Oil's internal controls.  “We are now able to see our data at a granular level including who entered specific data points and when reports were approved,” says Henning. “It also limits access on who can change certain criteria, which we believe auditors will love during reviews.” IGEN allows the team to build the technology in a way that is convenient to be used as a self-service with adding more products, new containers, with few file formats that vendors need to follow.

We're continuing to work with U.S. Oil to enhance the technology. “We are looking at what other components of our accounting process we can automate outside of technology because when you think about what this tool can do, the sky is the limit.”

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