In late 2017, Tesla’s market cap surpassed that of Ford and General Motors. Tesla’s dramatic rise was in large part because of its mission to become a market leader in lithium—ion batteries — the same rechargeable batteries that power its revolutionary cars. Caught in the middle of all the media frenzy surrounding Tesla, it’s easy to miss statistics. And if statistics are anything to go by, the real EV revolution is actually taking place not inside the futuristic gigafactories of Tesla, but in China.
In 2017, roughly 55% of lithium ion battery production was based out of gigafactories in China. Within the Chinese EV market, there are already several electric car makers. What’s common to all these names is Guoxuan High-tech, a publicly listed company in China and one of the most important suppliers of lithium-ion batteries in the world.
In 2015, Guoxuan started Gotion, it’s US-based subsidiary to market its lithium-ion batteries in the growing North American market, and develop cutting edge innovations in batteries, battery management systems and associated technologies.
The scale of Gotion’s operations are large and spread-out: In Silicon Valley, it develops its Battery Management Systems (BMS) and, in Ohio, it builds its electrolyte technologies. In close coordination with its international locations, namely Shanghai, Japan and Europe, it collaborates on product design, Materials Research and R&D.
For a cutting-edge company that’s trying to disrupt the intensely competitive EV space, Gotion spends a great deal of effort and money in sourcing the right equipment, parts and IT supplies.
Given the scale of its ordering and spending, Gotion wanted to ensure that every dollar leaving the bank was approved and accounted for. That’s how it found Procurify.
We spoke to Meimei Fu, the financial controller at Gotion, who used Procurify to build a Spend Culture that now allows Gotion to keep the right checks and balances on its spending.
Meimei joined Gotion in early 2017, and carries with her a breadth of experience in accounting and finance. She has previously worked in accounting and auditing roles at a range of top companies in North America and China.
Procurify: Take us through your first few days at Gotion.
Meimei: “I joined Gotion in January, 2017. Gotion has been using Procurify since 2016. Upon joining, one of the first things I did was set up Gotion’s approval process on Procurify. As Gotion’s financial controller, I really wanted to implement a process and rules around approvals. I wanted to make sure that everything that was bought had been approved beforehand.”
Procurify: How do you ensure that team members are actually following the approval process? We’ve seen so many startups where team members don’t bother to put in requests — they just go ahead and buy whatever it is they need.
Meimei: “I think it’s essential for any company to follow a process once it has been decided what the process will be. I’ve made it very clear to everyone that if they want company to pay for anything, they need to put it through Procurify. But Procurify makes it very easy to follow this process. Employees can submit their purchase request or expense report through their mobile or laptop. The approvers, too, have it very easy. Whenever there’s a request, the mobile app notifies them instantly, and they can approve the request on their phone. We’ve made it very clear to everyone that if they want company to pay for anything, they need to put it through Procurify.”
Procurify: Gotion is a sizable company with a presence in three continents. How do you manage purchasing at multiple locations sitting at your desk in California?
Meimei: One of the things that Procurify has helped us do is create internal reports. Procurify is immensely helpful in sourcing information for such reports — I can tell exactly what was ordered by someone, with all of the relevant details needed. Often a department would go into Procurify to analyze their spending on projects and other things. Even for me, as a financial controller, the level of detail and visibility that Procurify provides into spending is very helpful. It’s a really good product.
Meimei: “It’s easy. Whenever any issue crops up, the relevant people can resolve it on Procurify itself. Procurify has a great chat feature — our office in Japan, for example, prefers using Procurify’s chat feature instead of getting on the phone with us.”
Procurify: We’ve spoken to many Finance leaders and a common complaint is that they don’t have the tools to determine if they’re getting the maximum return from their spending.
“Reporting in Procurify is immensely helpful — I can tell exactly what was ordered by someone, with all of the relevant details needed.”
Procurify: Any parting thoughts?
“I think Procurify is different from other solutions because they are more customer-centric. I can feel that Procurify keeps customers at its core. The customer success team actually cares, they are very informative and very helpful, so that’s great”