Maturing eProcurement and Tail-Spend Optimization

Double tail-spend optimization at STEAG

DIG's eProcurement solution was first used to organize C-parts procurement in a decentralized manner in 2012 and then connected to the Unite Marketplace in 2022. Just under a year later, the next revolution came with the company split: "We now operate two eProcurement solutions in parallel for tail-spend optimization," explains the Head of Purchasing Indirect Goods, Jörg Zöhler, who implemented the project together with Klaus Merfeld.

STEAG has stood for safe power generation internationally for more than 85 years. From planning and development to the operation and marketing of highly efficient power plants, it offers a broad spectrum for the supply of electricity and heat. In Germany, the STEAG Group operates large power plants on the Rhine and Ruhr, in Saarland and in Saxony-Anhalt, as well as more than 400 decentralized plants. The two business units Iqony and STEAG Power are located under the Group umbrella. "Following this core division strategy, our proven eProcurement has now also been adapted," reveals Zöhler.

Dual eProcurement

After the successful first roll-out of the Unite connection at the beginning of 2022, a significant change became necessary at the end of the same year, Merfeld continues: "Due to the split into Power and Iqony, the eProcurement of both areas had to be separated." This involved mirroring the entire system, copying the database, changing mappings, informing suppliers, etc., in a short implementation period from early October to December 1. "In addition, depending on the company code - i.e. whether the order comes from Power or Iqony - logic was built in to allocate it accordingly and trigger the right release process," describes DIG project manager Stefan Cuic. Zöhler is satisfied: "Overall, it worked very well. And quite incidentally, we were also able to standardize the different approval processes in the course of this project."

As easy as e-fueling at the company's own charging station: the Power Order Shop with API and thus fully integrated access to Unite's external catalogs.

Klaus Merfeld appreciates the filtering options of the DIG platform in the Unite connection.

Digital procurement creates necessary relief

The tragic geopolitical events of 2022 had a major impact on the energy sector. "Our purchasing digitization helped in this environment in particular," explains Merfeld, and Zöhler adds, "A company of our size would be unthinkable without automated processes for procuring consumables." As a result, efficiency was also the defining theme for the marketplace connection, Merfeld describes: "Our goal was to reduce the proportion of free-text orders or purchase requisitions via our SAP."

User experience as a success factor

They originally looked at various suppliers, Merfeld recalls: "In this process, we realized that we wanted to avoid an OCI punchout at all costs for the benefit of our employees, in order to record requirements efficiently without cumbersome supplier selection or comparisons in different stores." The search itself was also to be done entirely in the Power Order Shop, as the highly customized DIG eProcurement platform is called at STEAG. The solution: the API connection from Unite! The Application Programming Interface allows convenient, fully integrated access to external catalogs and offers comprehensive configuration options as well as high-performance data exchange (e.g. order changes without jumping to the supplier store). "All this with superior data speed, in which our users can access Unite's huge assortment," Zöhler is satisfied.

Single creditor principle and assortment management

"Unite convinced us as a provider with expertise in system integration, so that the entire offering could be optimally integrated into our existing store range," Merfeld describes. The professionals also appreciate the single creditor principle for efficient purchasing processes, emphasizes Zöhler: "This means that we have a contact person for all topics relating to orders at Unite. It also saves us additional supplier administration." The option of restricting the product range was important: "In the case of occupational safety or IT, we are subject to group-wide specifications from our specialist departments - these items therefore had to be excluded along with others. This is easily done via the DIG platform or the Power Order Shop." Via Unite, even the company's own suppliers can be integrated as business stores with individual assortments and final negotiated prices. "Because of our restructuring, however, we have still postponed this topic," interjects Zöhler.

Convincing figures

"Virtually no complaints with excellent user numbers," Zöhler and Merfeld summarize the findings of the past 12 months. Despite the approximately 40 other catalogs on the platform, Unite has successfully established itself, as the sales figures indicate: " More than 6700 procurement transactions with a total value of approximately 1.2 million euros speak for a successful optimization of our tail spends!"

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