Driving innovation in document automation
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Compressors, pumps, fans, air treatment, condensate management, parts and services: Gardner Denver stands for advanced compressed air, vacuum solutions, and other industrial applications. The manufacturer is active in 30 countries. CompAir, a subsidiary of Gardner Denver Deutschland GmbH, supports customers from different industries to achieve sustainability goals, such as energy-efficient oil-free compressors. CompAir focuses specifically on the food and beverage, pharmaceutical and automotive industries. With the Netfira Platform, Gardner Denver has now achieved process optimisation in operational procurement.
Procurement teams face constant pressure to optimise processes and operational activities by automating the information exchange with internal customers and external partners. At Comp Air, the challenge to automation centred around manual processes, which were prone to error, tied-up resources and had long response times. At the end of March 2018, CompAir started a transformation project for operative procurement. In November 2018, David Richter, responsible for the CompAir project at Gardner Denver, presented the process and 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. Recently, Gardner Denver (Industrials EMEA) has been responsible for 211.4 million euros with 192,545 purchasing positions and approximately 3,800 suppliers. Of this, 399 suppliers and service providers stand for 80 per cent of the procurement volume. A suitable service provider needed to guarantee the transformation without time-consuming modifications for both parties and a fast ROI. The goal was: paperless processes, general process optimisation in operational procurement through and automated transmission of data into the ERP system. Documents include quotes, requests for quotes, orders, purchase order confirmations, advanced shipping notices, notifications and invoices. General documents like certificates can also be saved.
Before the start of the project, David Richter stressed the need for “planning security and consistent quality with one hundred per cent correct data migration in SAP.” Richter emphasised, “we want to reduce the manual activities to a minimum through the improved flow of information and significantly faster data transmission. As a result, we also want to have more time for important tasks.” The manager knew that considerable success is only possible if the internal data exchange is automated and an uncomplicated onboarding of a reluctant supplier base succeeds. EDI was found to be too disruptive and time-consuming for suppliers. With the Netfira Platform, CompAir’s needs were met within a matter of weeks as Netfira succeeded in onboarding suppliers – simply, effortlessly and at no cost.
David Richter: “We were able to convince reluctant partners who 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 verifies documents generated by the supplier against tolerances set by the procurement team. All exceptions and mistakes are highlighted to prevent incorrect documents being imported into ERP systems. Besides structured data, Netfira can transmit the original documents in PDF format. The Platform enables precise and revision-proof documentation of the business processing. For instance, also in ZUGFeRD standard for electronic invoices. Procurement-specific transactions, all document types and other business communication (certificates, drawings, etc.) can be transferred, processed, and automated.
The digitisation and process optimisation of operational procurement at Gardner Denver is based on strategy, innovation and sustainability supported by robust procurement and sales. Efficient and effective cooperation can only be achieved through harmonised interfaces within the ERP system. However, “ERP data is only of good quality if the people maintaining it are doing a good job,” David Richter stresses. With the Netfira Platform, he found a solution to the problem of master data maintenance. This challenge is always troublesome and time-consuming, regardless of the industrial sector involved. Now, order confirmations are connected seamlessly with production, sales, suppliers and accounting via Netfira – bidirectionally and in real-time. Procurement can monitor and identify the processes variances 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.
When considering the 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.” 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, the teams managed to find pragmatic and individual solutions quickly. “I recommend a core team and regular meetings to enable a fast implementation,” David Richter advised the buyers during his presentation. He is already pursuing the automation of incoming goods with the Netfira advanced shipping notice module. Further process automation steps based on Netfira modules, which reach beyond the procurement department, will follow.
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).