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CompAir Case Study
Process Optimisation through Digitisation in Operative Procurement at Gardner Denver
Compressors, pumps, fans, air treatment, condensate management, parts and services: Gardner Denver stands for advanced compressed air and vacuum solutions and other industrial applications. The manufacturer is active in 30 countries. CompAir, subsidiary of Gardner Denver Deutschland GmbH, supports customers from different industries to achieve their sustainability goals for example through energy-efficient oil-free compressors. The technologies have to meet high industrial requirements. At CompAir, this specifically includes food and beverage, pharmaceutical and automotive.
The initial situation
Procurement is required to become more professional and to automatically exchange information with internal customers and external partners. So far, the deficiencies were manual processes, which were prone to error, tied-up resources, a long response time and not enough time for strategic tasks. At the end of March in 2018, a transformation project for operative procurement was started. Now, CompAir reports performance according to plan, outstanding progress and satisfied suppliers. In November 2018, David Richter, who is responsible for the CompAir project at Gardner Denver, presented the process und the key figures as a benchmark at the BME symposium in Berlin.
Highly complex processes and constantly increasing demands of legislature and customers make quick progress of digitisation necessary. At the moment, the focus is on operative procurement at Gardner Denver (Industrials EMEA). Recently, it has been responsible for 211.4 million euros procurement volume with 192,545 purchasing positions and approximately 3,800 suppliers. 399 suppliers and service providers stand for 80 percent of the procurement volume at Gardner Denver (Industrials EMEA). A suitable service provider was to guarantee the transformation without time-consuming modifications for both parties and with a fast ROI. Finally, Netfira GmbH (Walldorf) was chosen as it was able to refer to many comparable customer references during the preliminary talks. The set goal was: paperless processes and an automated transmission of data into the ERP system, which are generated from requests for quotes, quotes, orders, order confirmations, advanced shipping notices, notifications and invoices. Optionally, general documents like certificates can be saved.
All documents can be transferred and processed
Before the start of the project, David Richter stressed: “We need planning security and constant quality with one hundred percent correct data migration in SAP. Through the improved flow of information and the significantly faster data transmission, we want to reduce the manual activities to a minimum. As a result, we also want to have more time for important tasks.” The manager knew: Considerable success is only possible if the internal data exchange is automated and an uncomplicated onboarding of – the mostly reluctant – supplier base succeeds. Since EDI is generally considered too complicated, it was no option or requirement. With the Netfira Platform, which is based on Artificial Intelligence, Netfira GmbH managed to meet CompAir’s demanding requirements within a few weeks. Moreover, it succeeded in onboarding a large proportion of suppliers – fast, uncomplicated, without great additional effort and above all at no cost. Additional advantage: The suppliers do not have to change their processes. David Richter: “We were able to convince reluctant partners which so far have been rather unwilling to adapt to different customer systems. Even small partners, which had not been connected electronically up to now, were convinced quickly.”
The Netfira Platform electronically ensures that the documents generated by the supplier are not accepted and automatically imported into the ERP system of procurement before they are verified as correct and are considered to be within the tolerance limit determined by procurement. All exceptions and mistakes are highlighted. Beside the structured data, Netfira can transmit the original documents in PDF format. Thus, it enables a precise and revision-proof documentation of the business processing for instance also in ZUGFeRD standard for electronic invoices. Moreover, not only procurement-specific transactions but all document types and other business communication (certificates, drawings etc.) can be transferred, processed and automated.
Problem master data - also solved!
The digitisation at Gardner Denver is based on the pillars strategy, innovation, effective production and sustainability supported by powerful procurement and sales. Efficient and effective cooperation can only be achieved through harmonised interfaces within the ERP system. However: “ERP data are only of good quality if the people maintaining them are doing a good job,” David Richter stresses. With the Netfira Platform, he also solved the problem of master data maintenance – which is always troublesome and time-consuming regardless of the industrial sector involved – through standardisation in order to facilitate the process for all people involved. Now, order confirmations are connected seamlessly with production, sales, suppliers and accounting via Netfira – bidirectionally and in real time. Using a cockpit, procurement can monitor the processes. Variances can be identified directly so that it is easier to negotiate prices. In case of periodic delivery time variances, procurement can respond proactively and correct the calculation basis of the needs.
Advice: core team and regular meetings
When considering his project as a whole in Berlin, David Richter pointed to the different framework conditions in the companies. “How long the implementation phase takes, also depends on the site and the IT.” At first, Gardner Denver had to bring the locally acting specialists in the USA, Czech Republic and Germany down to a common denominator. Netfira had to meet complex requirements. However, it managed quickly to find pragmatic and individual solutions. “I recommend a core team and regular meetings in order to enable a fast implementation,” David Richter advised the buyers during his presentation. He is already pursuing the next milestones of his agenda: the automation of incoming goods with the Netfira advanced shipping notice module. After that, further steps of process automation based on Netfira modules, which reach beyond the procurement department, will follow.
Aims of the project CompAir and Netfira
- Planning security
- Improved flow of information
- Paperless work
- Faster data transmission
- Almost 100 percent correct data transmission into SAP
- Generating resources for important tasks
- Onboarding of 80 percent of the suppliers
- Onboarding of small partners
- Flexibility for suppliers
About Gardner Denver
Founded in 1859; today world’s leading supplier of flow control technology, application expertise and support services with a large brand family. Head office: Milwaukee/ Wisconsin. Since the 1980s, Gardner Denver has purchased 28 companies, including CompAir (Head office: Simmern im Hunsrück).
- 37 global production sites
- 30 service centres
- More than 6,000 employees
- Approximately 100,000 customers worldwide