Nebraska Furniture Mart (NFM)

NFM was founded by Rose Blumkin in 1937 in the basement of her husband’s pawn shop in Omaha, Nebraska. In 1983, investor Warren Buffett purchased a majority interest in NFM and made it part of the Berkshire Hathaway family of companies. Today, NFM is one of the nation’s largest home furnishings retailers, selling furniture, flooring, appliances and electronics. NFM currently has locations in Omaha, Nebraska, Des Moines, Iowa, Kansas City, Kansas and Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas with a planned fifth location in Cedar Park, Texas a suburb of Austin.

Explosive Growth leads to AP Challenges

With NFM’s continued growth, the challenges related to NFM’s Accounts Payable (AP) process became more apparent. NFM processed a high number of invoices each week, an effort that relied on manual data entry, heavy paper-based processes, and other time-consuming steps.  Christopher Gann, NFM’s AP Manager, recalls how these challenges affected his department. “We were very, very, paper heavy. We were growing in volume, and semi-efficient, but wasteful with paper.

Anytime we entered an invoice it would print off a bar code page and then we would have to take that page AND our invoice and send it down to our records management area to be scanned in.” Gann said that even if the invoice came to NFM electronically, they continued to print it, add the bar code, and scan it back in.  He said that once identifying this, it became very apparent that this was a “very wasteful way” of doing business. There were too many touches and too much paper.

Key Takeaway

Paper-based AP processes were wasteful and created too many opportunities for human error.

The Search for AP Automation leads NFM to AP Express by Nivo1

As Gann began his search, his list of requirements for an AP Automation solution included a seamless integration with JD Edwards Enterprise One, AI Powered smart data capture, and a supplier portal, allowing his vendors to operate in a self-service manner. “We needed a solution that could be up and running quickly, eliminate the manual data-entry and help eliminate the inbound inquiries from our suppliers.”  Gann would find out quickly that AP Express by Nivo1 met these requirements and then some. 

“NFM is very JDE heavy with many unique customizations and processes. It was critical to find a partner who could speak ‘JDE’ – and that partner was Nivo1.”  He emphasized how valuable this knowledge was to not only his technical team, but also his accounting team. “AP Express is very user friendly. The application shares the same look-and-feel as JDE, which gave my team the confidence from day one. There wasn’t a huge learning curve.”  

As I was exploring solutions, I quickly realized just how important it was to select a partner who knew our ERP system, JD Edwards.”

An AP Automation Platform that strengthens supplier relationships and supply chain resiliency

Along with his search to automate his AP, Gann wanted a solution that could also add benefit to his suppliers.  The AP Express Platform includes a supplier portal that gives suppliers the ability to operate in a self-service mode.  Suppliers can check on the status of existing invoices, gather robust remittance advice information as well as have access to low-cost working capital if they need it.  “Before we implemented AP Express our AP team spent way too much time responding to email and phone inquiries from our suppliers.  Obviously, our suppliers are important to us, and we wanted to give them the information they needed to run their businesses, but we needed to spend our time processing invoices.  The AP Express Supplier Portal was a perfect fit.  It was painless to roll out – Nivo1’s Supplier Onboarding Team did all the work getting our suppliers setup and providing them the support and training they needed to access their invoice information.”  

Within the AP Express Supplier Portal is an easy-to-use Working Capital Solution that enables suppliers to accelerate payment on approved invoices with the click of a button.  This is a new program where Nivo1 pays suppliers early on their approved invoices. Unlike traditional Supply Chain Finance, there are no operational changes, no financial guarantees, no bank account toggling, and no agreement.  NFM had tried other Working Capital Programs, but they were not successful. According to Gann, “what makes this program work is that it’s an ‘on-demand’ solution for suppliers.  It’s not the typical ‘all-or-nothing’ program, it’s set up to be flexible, only if and when a supplier needs it.”

Life with AP Express

“Our team and processes have become much more efficient with AP Express. By utilizing a tool like this, our team has been freed up to work on more important business tasks – and as we continue to grow, add stores and take on more invoice volume, this is key.” Gann describes how he just lets AP Express “work.” The automated workflow, escalations and enhanced visibility gives him the peace of mind that nothing is being missed.

“We made the right choice by going with AP Express. Not only does the AP Automation tool meet our requirements, but the team at Nivo1 has really raised the bar when it comes to partnerships. The entire team is great to work with, always solutioning and always envisioning how we at NFM can be using their tool to its fullest potential. I am excited to watch our relationship grow.”  

Key Statistics

Invoice Volume
360,000 per year
Customer Since
November 2020
Nivo1 Products
AP Express, AP Express Supplier Portal, Working Capital
JD Edwards Enterprise One Version 9.2