Back to Blog AP Automation

The power of AP automation for manufacturing companies

The manufacturing industry is vast and intricate, with companies constantly seeking ways to streamline operations and reduce costs. One area that often gets overlooked, but holds significant potential for optimization, is accounts payable. The unique AP challenges in manufacturing require specialized solutions, and this is where manufacturing accounts payable automation comes into play.

Challenges in traditional AP processes

Manufacturing invoice processing, in its traditional form, is riddled with inefficiencies. Manual data entry, delayed approvals, and lack of visibility into payment statuses can lead to increased costs and strained supplier relationships. These challenges are not unique to the manufacturing sector but are amplified due to the industry's complex nature.

two construction workers pointing at a laptop in a manufacturing plant

Addressing industry-specific AP needs

The manufacturing sector, with its intricate supply chains, vast supplier networks, and high volume of invoices, presents a unique set of AP challenges. From the need to manage global supplier payment automation to ensuring real-time AP data, the demands are high. These distinct characteristics necessitate tailored solutions that can adeptly handle the complexities inherent to the industry.

Volume and complexity of invoices

Manufacturing companies often deal with thousands of suppliers, leading to a high volume of invoices. These invoices can vary in format, currency, and terms, making the processing task even more complex.


Consider a global automobile manufacturer. They might source parts from suppliers in Japan, raw materials from Africa, and electronics from Europe. Each supplier might have its own invoicing format, currency, and payment terms. Manually processing such diverse invoices can be a nightmare, leading to errors and inefficiencies.

hour glass and corner of a calendar

Integration with production schedules

The AP process in manufacturing is closely tied to production schedules. Delays in invoice approvals can lead to halts in production if suppliers aren't paid on time and withhold essential materials or components. Additionally, manufacturers rely on speed and agility to keep the lines running smoothly, and AP automation can’t work reactively to all maintenance, repair and operation (MRO) costs - whether they’re planned or unexpected.

Dynamic pricing and discounts

Manufacturers often negotiate dynamic pricing with suppliers based on volume, season, or other factors. Ensuring that the invoiced amount matches the negotiated price is crucial to avoid overpayments.

Multiple POs per invoice

It's common for manufacturing companies to have multiple purchase orders (POs) for a single supplier invoice, especially for bulk orders or phased deliveries. Matching these correctly is essential for accurate payments.

Complex receipt matching

In manufacturing, the goods received often need to be matched with the invoice and the PO. This three-way match ensures that you pay only for what you've received and ordered.

Global operations and compliance

Manufacturing companies often operate in multiple countries, each with its own set of regulations and compliance requirements. Ensuring that the AP process adheres to all local laws, especially around taxes and withholdings, is paramount.

Manufacturing AP software, tailored to these specific needs, is essential for companies looking to stay ahead in this competitive market. Solutions like Medius AP are designed with these challenges in mind, ensuring a seamless, efficient, and compliant AP process.

The rising need for managing cost and complexity

With disruptions in supply chains and increasing labor shortages, manufacturing companies are under immense pressure to manage costs and complexities. Strategic thinking in finance departments is more crucial than ever. Implementing AP automation for manufacturing can be a game-changer, transforming cumbersome processes into streamlined workflows, helping manufacturers stay agile and yet competitive in their industry.

four people having a meeting
AP Automation - Dashboard screen

Embracing digital transformation in the back office

The wave of digital transformation is not limited to the shop floor. Back office operations are ripe for innovation. By adopting manufacturing AP automation, companies can digitize and optimize their AP processes, leading to faster approvals, reduced errors, and significant cost savings.

Keeping all systems and software in sync

Manufacturers know the book of being agile cover to cover. It’s essential that all of the various parts of their business are in sync and communicating across the board effectively. The same is true for the enterprise software systems, particularly when it comes to finance. AP automation that can integrate with and cross communicate with essential business data from systems like your enterprise resource planning system (ERP) and warehouse management system (WMS) helps manufacturers make informed decisions quickly.

6 Great Reasons for Accounts Payable Virtual Card Payments  Image

Strengthening supplier relationships with AP automation

Timely payments are the cornerstone of strong supplier relationships. With global supplier payment automation, manufacturing companies can ensure that their suppliers are paid promptly, irrespective of their geographical location. This not only builds trust but also opens doors for better negotiation and collaboration.

Streamlining Purchase-to-Pay workflows

One of the significant benefits of AP automation is the streamlined invoice management for manufacturers. Gone are the days of manual matching and verification. Modern solutions, like Medius’ AP solution for manufacturing, offer automated matching, ensuring accuracy and efficiency in the purchase-to-pay cycle.

AP Automation - Invoice Capture screen

The rise of remote work and mobile AP

The post-pandemic world has seen a significant shift towards remote work across industries. For the manufacturing sector, this trend is not just about working from home but also about the increasing need for mobility due to the nature of the job:

Plant and factory visits

Manufacturing professionals, especially those in managerial or supervisory roles, often need to visit different plants, factories, or production units. Whether it's for quality checks, overseeing production runs, or troubleshooting issues, being on-site is a crucial aspect of their role.

Supplier and vendor meetings

Building and maintaining strong relationships with suppliers and vendors often require face-to-face interactions. This means traveling to supplier locations, attending trade shows, or participating in industry conferences.

Audits and compliance checks

Regular audits, both internal and external, are a part of the manufacturing industry. Professionals involved in these audits might need to visit various company locations, sometimes even internationally, to ensure compliance with industry standards and regulations.

Training and workshops

Continuous learning and upskilling are essential in the ever-evolving manufacturing sector. Attending workshops, training sessions, or certification courses might require travel, keeping professionals away from their desks.

Given these on-the-go demands, it's imperative for manufacturing professionals to have access to crucial business processes like accounts payable, even when they're away from the office. Mobile AP solutions cater to this need, allowing users to approve invoices, monitor payments, and manage cash flow right from their mobile devices. This not only ensures uninterrupted AP operations but also empowers professionals to make informed decisions anytime, anywhere.

Incorporating mobile-friendly manufacturing AP automation solutions is no longer a luxury but a necessity in today's fast-paced manufacturing environment. It ensures that no matter where duty calls, the AP process remains smooth and efficient.

Embracing the automated future of manufacturing AP

The future of accounts payable for manufacturing is clear: automation. As the industry evolves, companies that fail to adapt will find themselves at a competitive disadvantage. It's time for manufacturing companies to embrace the full potential of manufacturing accounts payable automation and set the stage for unparalleled growth and success.

Unlocking the benefits of AP automation

From cost savings to enhanced supplier relationships, the benefits of AP automation are numerous and significant. Real-time insights, better cash flow management, and reduced operational costs are just the tip of the iceberg. Companies that have embraced automation platforms like Medius AP for manufacturing are already reaping these benefits and setting new industry standards.

Ready to transform your manufacturing AP processes?

Don't let manual inefficiencies hold back your growth. Dive into the future of AP with Medius AP solutions for manufacturing. Streamline, optimize, and elevate your accounts payable operations to new heights. Schedule a demo and witness the revolution in manufacturing AP automation firsthand. Your journey to unparalleled efficiency starts now!

Book a demo

The Financial Professional Census

Explore hurdles facing finance professionals today and learn how to overcome them in our research-backed Financial Professional Census report. 

Download the report

More finance, AP, and procurement resources

Our library of case studies, guides, and reports are available to help you become a better finance professional.

View all resources

The ultimate AP resource

If you're looking to streamline AP processes, automate invoice or payment processing, or curious about how accounts payable automation works, this is the guide for you.

explore AP Automation guide

Ready to transform your AP? 

Book a Demo Contact Us