The Chefs’ Warehouse does more than $1.1 billion in sales every year, carrying and distributing over 50,000 products to 35,500 customer locations throughout the United States and Canada.
For The Chefs’ Warehouse accounting team, continuously high sales volume translated to not only increased complexity but increased fees, especially for lockbox keying services.
“We were paying our lockbox provider significant annual fees to provide data that would facilitate automatic cash application within one of our ERP systems,” says Nelson Lopes, director for financial reporting and treasury at The Chefs’ Warehouse.
“I wanted to find a way to auto-match without having to rely on those external keying services, especially in a multi-ERP environment. And that’s when I discovered BlackLine Cash Application.”
The Chefs’ Warehouse had used BlackLine solutions for three years, relying on Account Reconciliations, Task Management, and Journal Entry. However, in the interest of due diligence, Lopes and his team asked for proofs of concept from both BlackLine and another vendor.
“We found that one of the key differentiators of BlackLine Cash Application was the auditability of BlackLine’s pricing structure,” says Lopes. “The other vendor billed based on remittance lines. This was difficult to get a sense of because you want to see the correlation between your payment volume and what you're paying the vendor for. BlackLine's pricing structure was much more transparent to the end-user.”
During the vetting process, Lopes sought the feedback of the core cash application team prior to making a decision. “They’re the ones working on this on a day-to-day basis. And they all agreed that both the BlackLine user interface and the BlackLine team were superior to the competition.”
The company’s IT team was also on board from the beginning. “IT time is a very scarce resource at our company,” says Lopes. “But most of the work on the proof of concept was done by the BlackLine team. We did provide some data, but again, that didn’t require much of IT’s time, either.”
Lopes and his team worked directly with BlackLine subject matter experts throughout the implementation and onboarding process. “BlackLine was willing to work with us and helped us solve problems particular to our business. The implementation team was instrumental in helping us get users up and running.”
Saved time. With BlackLine Cash Application, The Chefs’ Warehouse now instantly matches customer payments to invoices. Blackline Cash Application has become foundational to the Company’s strategic transition to an ERP agnostic shared-service approach to the receivables cycle, which will enable staff to focus on more strategic and value-added activities.
Reduced costs. Implementing BlackLine Cash Application has allowed The Chefs’ Warehouse to reduce lockbox fees by approximately 20%, and these savings will increase to approximately 36% once the implementation of the BlackLine Cash Application is complete across all its significant ERP environments.
Increased visibility. Previously, there was hampered visibility and a lack of meaningful analysis across the entire cash application process. Today, with BlackLine, Lopes and his team have instant insight and access to deeper intelligence around customer payment behaviors. “I really value the visibility of other metrics inherent in Cash Application. Not only can we track match rates over time, but we have visibility into data we didn’t have under our old process.”