By Karla Morales
With the rise of the farm-to-table dining movement and eco-friendly options like reusable straws, it’s clear that going green is more than just a passing trend. But consumers aren’t the only ones taking the green leap forward. Businesses are also following suit.
Unsurprisingly, paperwork is the first to go. After all, manual and paper-based operations aren’t just bad for the environment, they’re also bad for business—taking significant time to process and often resulting in delayed payments. Conventional paper-based transactions are now being replaced with digital solutions, such as electronic invoicing or e-invoicing. As indicated by its name, e-invoicing refers to an invoice that is completely generated, transmitted and processed digitally—no human input or paper needed!
With the potential of e-invoicing to save time, money and the environment, more and more companies have made the switch. From just 1,000 in March 2020, over 10,000 businesses have joined the Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA)’s Nationwide E-invoicing Network. In this feature, check out how robotics mobility solutions Ninebot Asia finally made the digital leap and has never looked back since.
Mobilising towards the future
Like many up-and-coming companies of the modern age, Ninebot Asia started out in 2014 as a Kickstarter project by a group of young robotic engineers. Their goal? To revolutionise the world of personal mobility. Since then, the company has become one of the world’s largest robotic mobility equipment manufacturers, with a growing presence in over 38 countries.
Anticipating a future driven by clean energy, Ninebot Asia quickly set to work, creating environmentally-friendly mobility alternatives. From electric scooters and wheelchairs all the way to unicycles and hoverboards, their mobility solutions are enjoyed by consumers young and old alike. Beyond personal mobility, Ninebot Asia’s products have also found a home in other sectors such as the security industry, according to Executive Director Mr Henry Chan.
Their security robot, NIMBO, is equipped with artificial intelligence (AI) capabilities, allowing it to autonomously patrol routes and optimise its runs to avoid obstacles. When NIMBO encounters security violations, it can stream even live videos of the incident to security personnel and deliver situation-specific audiovisual warnings to the offender.
Moving forward with e-invoicing
Despite Ninebot Asia’s forward-looking vision, there was one aspect of their business still stuck in the past: their invoicing process. The team found themselves constantly dealing with operational bottlenecks like manually creating invoices as well as reconciling billing and business expenses via Excel. At one of IMDA’s business briefing events, Mr Chan came to know about the Peppol E-invoicing Network, which allows businesses on the same network to exchange standardised digital documents like e-invoices with one another. It was also at the same event that he became familiar with Xero, a Peppol-ready e-invoicing solution.
“Instead of going through several portals, e-invoicing allows us to send invoices straight to the Singapore government. Since several of our clients are government agencies, this pushed me to register with the network and shift to e-invoicing”, explained Mr Chan. “By reducing manual processes, our transactions are now accurately updated and error-free.”
Moreover, the Ninebot Asia team found that digitalising recurring processes freed up employees to engage in more meaningful activities such as business development. With their e-invoicing system in place, the team can focus on upcoming solutions, like an autonomous delivery robot and a commercial indoor Go-Kart circuit solution. “Our company now wants to achieve the highest degree of digitalisation possible. E-invoicing is the first step towards this,” said Mr Chan.
Feeling inspired by Ninebot Asia’s e-invoicing journey? Find out more about InvoiceNow and join the network as Ninebot Asia has, register for IMDA’s monthly business briefing webinar—available in English and Mandarin—here!