Energy supplier

Enervie

More transparency, more potential: ENERVIE optimizes purchasing processes with Processand and Celonis

 

April 14, 2021

The Challenge

The purchasing process is prone to gaps, errors, and inefficiencies. There is a lack of transparency and traceability. It results in classic problems, such as maverick buying, deviating delivery terms, and lost discount potential.

The Solution

Today, ENERVIE uses Celonis Process Mining and has full transparency over all relevant purchasing and accounting processes. Processand supports the energy supplier in the technical implementation in software solutions and the identification of optimization potentials.

Success Factors

  • Motivated project team with professional understanding of problems and good knowledge of the industry
  • Support from Management
  • Reliable partner with experience from over 200 projects

Key Benefits

  • Real-time visualization and transparency of processes
  • More efficiency through optimization and automation of operational processes
  • Purchasing department has become the pioneer of digital transformation. The other departments are looking to follow.

Enervie

ENERVIE - Südwestfalen Energie und Wasser AG is the group of companies that includes Mark-E Aktiengesellschaft, Stadtwerke Lüdenscheid GmbH and ENERVIE Vernetzt GmbH in southern North Rhine-Westphalia. The ENERVIE Group supplies electricity, gas, heat and drinking water to around 400,000 customers and energy trading partners. This makes ENERVIE one of the largest independent energy service providers with its own production in North Rhine-Westphalia as well as standing for efficient energy solutions nationwide.

Processand supports the energy supplier in the implementation of Process Mining solutions

Climate change, energy transition, regulations - the energy sector is facing major challenges. At the same time, digital transformation is forcing the industry to explore new paths. The ENERVIE Group, which is headquartered in Hagen, is aware of this. The energy service provider supplies around 400,000 customers and trading partners with electricity, gas, heat, and drinking water. Purchasing Manager Roland Gertz is driving the digital transformation within the company: "We know that we can't avoid the topic - so we want to take the lead."

Full transparency with Process Mining

An essential part of the digital strategy: The use of Celonis Process Mining. This analytical technology brings all digital process footprints together and visualizes the processes in real-time. Companies receive objective, data-driven transparency about their processes. Now the data are prepared as so-called event logs in the information systems - they just have to be used. Where are the high costs located, where are the bottlenecks, and where can the potential be leveraged? Gertz can now see all this with a single glance. Classic mass data, business intelligence solutions and SAP reporting could not deliver the desired added value. Process Mining provided ENERVIE with immediate solutions in real-time.

"I wanted to know how our processes really run at our company," Gertz reports. "And now I'm even discovering things I wasn't even looking for in the first place." What began as a pure technological project, now offers real added value for the business. The next step is to automate processes, as the visualization of the current state is only the beginning: "With Processand and Celonis, we can move on the next stage."

Fast implementation thanks to the know-how and experience

This requires a strong implementation partner, which ENERVIE has found in Processand. Daniel Bucher, Lead Consultant and Project Manager at Processand, combined his knowledge of processes, industries, and SAP. Data Scientists Nicolas Möller and Oksana Kostiuk were responsible for the technical part.

An interface between SAP and the Celonis Cloud was created via a Remote Function Call (RFC) module so that data can be transferred continuously. On this basis, Processand implemented its proprietary algorithms and process codes. In this way, business processes from purchasing and accounts payable were represented and concrete use cases were realized. The project started in September 2020, and the first live demo of the processes based on the actual data took place just three weeks later, instead of the usual 12 to 16 weeks. The project was finally completed after just eleven weeks - an impressive speed that was only possible thanks to a great deal of know-how and fast feedback cycles on both sides.

“The cooperation with Processand was always calm, engaging, and flexible,” recalls Gertz, “The project team was very experienced and extremely knowledgeable about commercial processes.”

Flexibility and dynamic delivery of the “big picture”

"We know the typical pitfalls for energy suppliers and have incorporated our experience.” Bucher explains. “It was important that we did not get too technical, but rather addressed the challenges within the business in more concrete terms.”

This approach paid off. During the project, new issues arose to which ENERVIE were able to react collectively in a flexible manner. The initial focus was on the purchasing process. However, the project team led by Gertz and Bucher quickly realized that the big picture could only be seen if the accounts payable processes were also included.

This step resulted in enormous process transparency - not only regarding change activities and lead times, but also about common issues such as maverick buying. Previously it was one of the pain points for Gertz and his team, but now, with the help of Process Mining, it is clear to see if departments are placing orders on their own authority without involving purchasing. In addition, complications caused by deviating payment terms can now be contained. Usually, framework agreements are in place with suppliers - and yet, time and again, orders are triggered with conditions that can now be quickly identified based on faulty material master data and careless data maintenance. "In purchasing, people spend 40 percent of their time on processes where something is wrong," says Gertz. "If we can cut that in half, I'll be more than satisfied."

Here is an example of how Process Mining helps break down internal silos and overcome a compartmentalized mindset. Through data and fact-based insights, the right measures can be taken for the overall success of the company. Thanks to the interdisciplinary approach, for example, measures are now implemented in purchasing, which in turn lead to process optimization in accounting.

Undiscovered Optimization Potentials

"We save ourselves a lot of coordination and work steps because now you can see everything yourself at a single glance," says Gertz with satisfaction. An intelligent search function takes a lot of work off the user's hands, and actual data can be evaluated on a daily basis. What used to take several days can now be seen on a dashboard with a click of the mouse. The core of any Process Mining initiative is to identify optimization potential. For example, ENERVIE worked with Processand to develop a dedicated account monitor. "We looked at what cash discount was effectively realized and what was lost in the process," Daniel Bucher reports. "From this, we then built KPIs."

It quickly became clear where cash discount potential was being overlooked. The next step will be to implement smart signals for cash discounting to secure earnings in the long term.

Outlook: M2C, Automation, and using the Action Engine

ENERVIE is continuing to focus on the topic of Process Mining and is focusing on one of the core processes in the energy industry: the meter-to-cash (M2C) process, from reading the meter at the end customer's premises to validation and invoicing at ENERVIE, right through to receipt of the money. Here, too, transparency is to be achieved in order to derive optimization potential.

Gertz wants to implement the Action Engine, an integrated process assistant that continuously analyses data and derives potential for improvement. The user receives concrete measures that can get the process back on track. "The Action Engine will be an important step toward automation for us," Gertz is certain. He wants to support employees in their day-to-day operations and automate transactions. His goal is to avoid unnecessary workflows - he wants to reduce the current 10,500 workflows to 3,000.

The implementation of Process Mining and the collaboration with Processand started a whole new movement at ENERVIE. Nicolas Möller is enthusiastic: "We started with a small initiative in the purchasing process that is now bearing fruit across the entire company. We are delighted to see how ENERVIE is driving the issue forward internally." The specifically created Centre of Competence provides support with a team of experienced employees, students, and specialist departments with proximity to day-to-day business. Agile project management, an open mindset, and the trust of the management help to break new ground and achieve excellence.

About Processand

The Munich-based consulting firm with branches in USA (Austin), Czech Republic (Prague), and Taiwan (Taipei), specializes in Process Mining, Business Intelligence and Advanced Analytics. Today, Processand is one of the leading Process Mining consultancies worldwide and supports companies in their long-term Process Mining initiatives. In each case, the focus is on operationalizing data-driven insights and creating a factual basis for strategic decisions.

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Our address:

info@processand.com

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