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Purchase to Pay Automation at Nissan Europe

by Michael Brook, Finance Process Control Leader, Nissan Europe

Nissan Europe is a major subsidiary of the Nissan Motor Company, Ltd and is a key contributor to the company’s objective to achieve global market share of 8% and an 8% increase in operating profit by 2016. In addition to developing and distributing innovative and well-designed vehicles that meet customers’ needs, the company is committed to enhancing its internal processes to increase efficiency whilst also reducing costs wherever possible. This article outlines some of the initiatives that Nissan Europe is undertaking to achieve its financial process efficiency objectives, under the banner of the Finance Breakthrough Project, one of the first components of which has been purchase-to-pay.

The Finance Breakthrough Project

The Nissan Group is organised on a regional basis: Europe; Asia and the Americas. Within the European business, we operate in more than 20 countries. In the past, sales operations in each country have been managed relatively autonomously; in addition, we have three European production facilities in Sunderland, UK, Barcelona, Spain and St Petersburg, Russia. Consequently, the business was largely decentralised, with disparate financial and management reporting.

Over the past ten years, we have gradually increased the degree of centralisation in our European business functions. As our head office reporting requirements have increased, there has been more pressure to standardise formats, processes and policies, which is difficult to achieve in a decentralised environment, particularly as each entity typically had different systems and procedures in place. In addition, we recognised the potential benefits in terms of efficiency, control and rationalisation.