From the order to the invoice – an end-to-end electronic P2P process for Bayerische Hausbau
Background and initial situation
With a real estate portfolio worth around €3.5 billion and 250 employees, Bayerische Hausbau is a subsidiary of the family-run Schörghuber corporate group and is responsible for all the group’s construction and real estate activities. In the development and construction management segment, the company covers the entire value creation chain itself, which is reflected in its highly complex procurement process. Bayerische Hausbau works with SAP®. In the past, the company also worked with various isolated solutions in the scope of its purchasing process as well as with Excel spreadsheets. The aim of the project was to establish an end-to-end, SAP®-supported workflow covering everything from the contract award requisition right through to invoicing. Thomas Pfeiffer, head of Purchasing, explains: “We wanted a more up-to-date solution for our invoicing software, so we decided to take this as an opportunity to centralise our decentralised system. We did not want to create additional silos, but instead convert to a seamless process that ideally supports all employees in their work.” The project was successfully completed over the course of two-and-a-half years with the involvement of various service providers.
The first P stands for Procure – the procurement process
In order to map the procurement process at Bayerische Hausbau, customer-specific objects were created in SAP® starting with what is known as the contract award requisition. Compared with the standard purchase requisition, the contract award requisition contains considerably more data that is essential for the tender process. In the past, the company worked with large Excel spreadsheets that the specialist department completed and then forwarded to the Purchasing team by e-mail. Today, the Purchasing team receives the contract award requisition directly in SAP® and checks it there. Once the Purchasing team has released the call for tender in an external tool, the contract award requisition is transferred to an award document (VDOK) within the SAP® system and the result of the tender is entered in SAP® and various annexes added in a sub-process created by PROMOS. Finally, the data (account assignment, amounts, vendor, etc.) is transferred to the purchase order and Purchasing and the specialist department check it again before it is released. The signature process takes place digitally. The contract award requisition light was also created for minor measures that don’t require a tender process. This skips the VDOK intermediate step and jumps straight to triggering the purchase order. The entire release process is supported by the easysquare workflow. Catharina Schroll, in-house SAP® applications consultant, describes the benefits: “As soon as a VANF is created, an easysquare workflow process starts and supports with all steps right up to the purchase order. This was a fantastic achievement, because there is no VANF in the SAP® standard system. Nevertheless, it was no problem for PROMOS to develop the process based on a customer-specific object. And as the project continued, we were consistently delighted to see how flexibly PROMOS was able to map our multi-layered process with all its many participants in accordance with our individual requirements.”
Processor finding and authorisation guidelines – a challenge
easysquare workflow includes a personal work basket in which the responsible employee receives the next process step to be performed. The input fields to be filled are shown in a clear template (Figure 1). One of the most important questions Bayerische Hausbau had relating to the process support in the procurement process was how their complex processor finding, involving more than 100 participants from various purchasing groups, can be mapped. “To do this, PROMOS stored our customer tables in the system. Based on these, the system can automatically determine the responsible processor depending on the respective value limits in the development and real estate segment,” Schroll explains.
Figure 1: easysquare workflow guides the company’s employees clearly and intuitively through the individual steps of the procurement process.
An additional challenge was mapping the authorisation guidelines. Depending on the release amount, this can involve up to six levels and requires the dual-control principle. In the past, the process step to be performed was passed on to the relevant purchasing group by means of the SAP® standard workflow and, in the event that an employee’s authorisation level was exceeded, the assignment had to be changed manually. “PROMOS also successfully helped us with the process in this area. Today, the entire workflow, including all its nested sub-steps, runs automatically. Our customer-specific SAP® objects already deliver their forecast values in the customer-specific project cost monitoring during the PROMOS process and, when the purchase order is generated, the information is also added to the project system to enable cost monitoring,” Schroll notes with satisfaction.
Intelligent supplement management
One special feature in construction is the frequency of supplements following the original order. To date, Bayerische Hausbau had added a service line to the purchase order, below the order item, by hand and indicated that this was a supplement. Now, the company uses the PROMOS supplement tool for this. This solution, which is usually based on condition types, has been reprogrammed so that it matches the logic used within Bayerische Hausbau. Moreover, the release of supplements is also supported in easysquare workflow with its own sub-process.
OPCC – less paper is more
Order dispatch was also digitalised in the scope of the project. For both supplements and purchase orders, a digital letter is created with the aid of the PROMOS correspondence tool following the final release. OpenPromos® Corporate Correspondence (OPCC) generates a form that is automatically filled with the available data from SAP® and can be edited in the familiar Microsoft® Word environment. Schroll explains: “The unique feature here is that we can not only create orders directly from the system electronically, but that generating the correspondence only becomes possible for the end user once the final release has been performed.”
The second P stands for Pay – the payment process
In order to also digitalise invoice receipts, Bayerische Hausbau decide on a new data capturing tool from Hypatos. Invoices are received by e-mail, read out and then converted to an XML. This then triggers a process in SAP®, supported by the easysquare workflow (Figure 2). Here, too, the company benefits from the automatic steering, including processor finding, of the ten-level process. Schroll explains the complexity of the payment process in the construction segment: “We don’t simply receive one single invoice for an order, but have to deal with interim, partial and final invoices, withholdings and allocations. When posting these, we have to comply with certain logics, and easysquare workflow helps with this.” The users receive additional support with invoice verification by means of the construction invoice check sheet, which provides an optimal overview of all items.
Figure 2: A split screen in easysquare workflow makes releasing invoices easier.
During the course of the two-and-a-half year project, Bayerische Hausbau optimised its entire purchasing and invoicing process. Workflows were digitalised and optimally integrated into the company’s SAP® system. Now, easysquare workflow steers them all automatically. With regard to increased efficiency, Pfeiffer explains: “For us, efficiency does not mean simply being faster, but also ensuring the documented, transparent and structured archiving of documents. And we have successfully achieved this with the help of PROMOS and use of easysquare workflow.” Schroll adds “Our users are also pleased with the solution’s usability. It doesn’t look like SAP®. But it is SAP®. It’s easysquare workflow.” System interruptions were eliminated during the course of the project, data exchange improved and communication simplified. In particular, the automation of the release process and transparency regarding the current status within the workflow are key benefits of the new electronic P2P process. The increased process compliance thanks to automated processor finding also provides added value. Regarding this, Pfeiffer says: “This allowed us to significantly decrease the maverick buying quota (purchasing without authority) because it isn’t even possible to post invoices without authorisation.” The conversion to the end-to-end, integrated and digital P2P process was a complete success for Bayerische Hausbau.
Catharina Schroll, in-house SAP® applications consultant