eProcurement can grow with you: at Fertinger.
At the medium-sized company RF Fertinger, which produces at a total of three locations as a TIER 2 supplier for the automotive sector, eProcurement from DIG was introduced in 2011. In 2016, ispro-NG was added for the area of machine maintenance. This creates potential for improvement, which is currently being considered. After all, eProcurement is a growing part of a living organization!
The medium-sized automotive company develops and produces a wide range of vehicle components at two sites in Austria and one in Poland. "Ten years ago, we started with eProcurement," recalls IT manager Dipl.-Ing. Helmut König. "Today, in addition to direct materials, Fertinger also orders operating supplies and office materials via one of the two platforms provided for this purpose." This refers to oxaion for direct material and the DIG platform for indirect material, with both systems being operated independently of each other. The latter is used at all Austrian sites: in 2020, 1,500 orders with a volume of € 1.5 million were placed by the 77 registered users alone.
Release processes by value and material group
"Especially in 2019, the platform helped us - even if there was less buying then," König says with a wink, referring to the company's successful rebalancing. "This is where the value of transparency has shown: The overview of what all is open in terms of volume, what orders are out, who is ordering what, and where to optimize - all of that helped us through the tough times!" The approval system put not-so-urgent purchases on the back burner: In DIG's eProcurement platform, authorized heads of departments need approval from purchasing or management, depending on the value threshold. "A separate workflow is also provided for certain groups of goods. For example, computers or smartphones always must be approved by me," König describes.
Potential for interaction between systems
The embedding of the ispro-NG maintenance software in the procurement workflow provides a differentiated picture: "While pneumatic spare parts, for example, are consistently created, others are not available on ispro. These then come as free text orders - for ball bearings, for example, this is regularly the case." In any case, the orders are placed centrally via DIG's platform. However, there is no interface to ispro-NG, where no orders are placed. König sees the fact that such an interface would also enable an exchange of information with oxaion as positive: "That would make it easier to reconcile stock levels between all systems. Likewise, a master data update between the ERP system and ispro-NG would be a significant advantage. "Overall, there is definitely potential to further increase efficiency in purchasing!" This also refers to the communication between oxaion and DIG.procure: "At that time, we intentionally chose a very lean version. Due to the flexibility of DIG, we can create new possibilities with appropriate interfaces. We are currently discussing this."
Grown constellation offers opportunities
"The fact that people can now order directly takes a lot of pressure off purchasing," says König, summing up the positive side. Compared to the past, the quality of information has also been improved: "There was often missing or incorrect information that went to purchasing. We even eliminate this problem with free-text forms by already obtaining quotations from the requirements department. That way, all the necessary details are automatically included." However, free-text orders are also used in the company for services: "Maintenance work, training, etc. are all procured this way!" And so well, in fact, that over 90% of all orders are already processed this way, which leads directly to the debit side of the considerations: "There are outliers in areas such as flight or hotel bookings. Even urgently needed repairs of any equipment, such as printers, often go their own way."
Guided buying as a possible expansion stage
"We only hear good things about the system from our colleagues," says König, who is satisfied with DIG's eProcurement platform. In addition to physical catalogs, individual suppliers are connected via an OCI punchout. Only recently, 17.5 million items were made available in Austria with the connection of the Mercateo supplier platform, so that one-off requirements can also be procured in an uncomplicated and transparent manner. "We discovered this for ourselves through our sister company in Germany. The huge range makes it easier to offer the right selection in every situation." At the same time, however, this also necessitates a certain degree of control: "For cell phones, for example, we have a fixed partner, whom I in turn request away from the system, because we don't have a catalog or the like here. A lot would be gained with a guidance system that specifies the right paths for the individual procurement fields!" Indeed, at Fertinger, guided buying as an add-on could improve the performance of eProcurement in a simple way - and an interface to ispro-NG could create further advantages. "Particularly with growing systems, it is worthwhile to regularly take a new look at the processes and analyze optimization potential," confirms König.