Friday, December 27, 2013

Automated Clearing House

The Check is in the Mail!

A phrase our Beverage Group Accounts Receivable Representatives have heard way too many times over the years. However, with the advent of the Electronic Age, it appears that this phrase is becoming more and more obsolete. Why? Enhanced bank technology has allowed our group to eliminate the manual check process for quite a few of our larger customers through the means of ACH payments.

What is ACH? ACH stands for “Automated Clearing House” and is an electronic network for financial transactions in the U.S.

In 2012, this network processed and estimated 21 billion transactions with a total value of $36.9 trillion. It allows for direct receipt of funds from the customers financial institution direct to our bank.

Between the four Coca-Cola plants, in 2009, 14% of our total dollar payments were received via ACH. Through an aggressive approach, as of November of this year,  46%, or nearly half of our total dollar payments were received via ACH.

Some of the larger chains that have been converted include: WalMart, Family Dollar, Tops Markets, 7-11 stores, Giant Eagle, Wegmans and Giant Foods.

As with any electronic process, errors can occur and/or information can be keyed incorrectly. Close attention to detail is needed by all involved in the process. It is also mandatory that we receive a remittance attachment with each payment so that the payment can be applied correctly. This can be sent electronically as well, to our bank or directly to us via email.

Overall, it is typically a smooth process and we will continue to pursue the ACH option with other customers as it eliminates the cost and time of handling paper checks, reduces mail delivery issues and provides a cleaner, more efficient method of managing payments and cash flow.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

New Phone System!

New Building, New Phone System
In June we moved into our new corporate facility located in RIDC Park.  There are many benefits to the new building such as a working elevator, secured access to the office, and the beautiful landscaping. However, I would also like to introduce you to a benefit that you may not know about yet – our brand-new phone system!
Our old phone system served us well during the last ten-plus years, but the growth of the business required additional capabilities that the old system could not supply. So, for our new building, we decided to invest in an Internet Protocol enabled phone system from Mitel. Our phone system was installed during construction and ready for us on our first day in the new building!

The new phone system has the following capabilities that we have never had in the past:

The ability to have your voice mails emailed to your email account. This capability, called Unified Messaging, enables you to receive your voices mails while you are away from the office. 

2. The ability to call anyone in Lehigh or Chester using that person’s four-digit extension number instead of the 10-digit phone number. The call is routed through our internal data network and is not subjected to long distance telephone charges. This internal data network means that we can also forward a voicemail from your phone to another extension. In the future, we will be adding Cleveland to these capabilities.   

The ability to hold our own telephone conferences. Instead of paying an external business to host them for us, we can now host our own!

These are just some of the capabilities of the new phone system. There are quite a few different bells and whistles that can enhance business productivity, so if you are interested in learning more about ABARTA’s new phone system, please contact your local Information Technology representative.