Cooperation, flexibility, and reliability in the ordering process

June 13, 2005 by admin

Whether an enterprise wants to source the best supplier of investment goods, the most cost-effective dealer for office equipment, or the most reliable service provider for projects or maintenance work and integrate this partner in the procurement process, its primary aim will always be to simplify business processes, reduce paper-based processes, optimize electronic data interchange, and effectively establish and extend supplier relationships.
Functions for self-services and supplier cooperation transferred from mySAP ERP to mySAP Supplier Relationship Management (mySAP SRM) close the gap between ERP and procurement processes, and thereby accelerate the procurement of goods and services.

Self-services for the ordering party

Self-service scenarios are gaining in importance for enterprises and their employees – on the one hand to trigger and optimize processes such as procurement, payment transactions, and inventory management, and on the other to increase user productivity by exploiting easy-to-use instructions and control functions. The procurement process involved in scenarios such as this starts with a search by the ordering party in the individual catalogs that are available. When items are selected, a shopping cart is created and the approval process initiated. The manager responsible for signing off the purchase can approve or reject individual or multiple shopping carts in the task bar overview screen (known as the “universal worklist”). If necessary, he or she can also display individual shopping carts in order to find out more about the items they contain. The budget display helps him or her to decide whether to approve or reject the cart. With the help of data and functionalities from mySAP ERP, my SAP SRM thus provides managers with effective visual decision-making aids.
With regard to cooperation between buyers and suppliers, the SAP solution supports more than just the exchange of purchase orders, responses, and changes. To reduce the time needed for exception handling, a work list is displayed in the ordering party’s portal. This lists the documents that need to be reworked and sorts them by criteria such as price and quantity variance.
Once the supplier has processed the order and delivered the ordered goods, vendor-side confirmations and invoices are also displayed in the portal, so that the process can be completed swiftly. All information on the payment transaction is exchanged electronically in mySAP SRM. This time-saving procedure also enables users to call up the current payment status at any time.

Self-services for suppliers

SAP Supplier Self-Services, also known as “Supplier Enablement,” is a portal-based application that provides full order processing capability and integrates suppliers in the procurement processes of large buying organizations.
With a growing number of suppliers, global enterprises, in particular, need a supplier registration process that is fast, efficient, flexible, and secure. mySAP SRM enables supplier registration in one of three ways: First, the purchasing organization can register on behalf of the supplier, second, the buyer can invite selected suppliers to register using a predefined link, and third, suppliers can register themselves on the enterprise’s website. Once registered with the supplier self-services system, the supplier can exchange product information with the purchasing department and ultimately publish a self-managed, customer-specific catalog.

Service procurement

Service procurement is unusual in one respect, namely that at the time of ordering, the requirements are not exactly defined, or the scope is not decided until the services have actually been provided. mySAP SRM takes account of this special feature in service procurement, and with a seamless connection to the mySAP ERP purchasing, maintenance, and project functionalities now offers a whole range of definable service categories such as project work, consulting, maintenance, or building services.
The entry of a service request as plain text or a specific service product enables the buyer to define the start and end date, hourly rate, and place of fulfillment, and to stipulate maximum limits. When certain services are ordered, a shopping cart can be filled in the same way as for goods orders. This is then approved in the workflow and sent to the service provider. Once the order has been received, the service provider is able to send an order confirmation.
When the service has been provided, the service provider can enter the services in a form for time recording, for example. Even detailed information on expenses and overtime can be entered in the form. Once the service provider has reported this information, the buyer can check the accuracy of the services provided and release the information. The service provider then issues and invoice, which is checked and released for payment by the purchasing organization.
The procurement of labor and services can also be tightly linked with cProjects, a function within mySAP Product Lifecycle Management (mySAP PLM). Requirements are generated in cProjects and forwarded to the purchasing organization via an interface. A buyer or manager with the appropriate authorization is then able to add information to the requirement, and publish it as a bid invitation. Service providers can also use the Bidding Engine to submit their quotes for the bid invitation. The requester then evaluates the quotes received and rejects or accepts them. A quote confirmation can be executed as a supplier self-service transaction and submitted to the project manager for approval.

Settlement processes always in mind

mySAP SRM not only provides effective support for purchasing transactions but also for settlement processes, thanks to the new Invoice Monitoring System, which channels the information flow with suppliers. Electronic settlement processes with supplier self-services functions and professional exception handling help to control workload and collaboration effectively for buyers and suppliers. Suppliers enter invoices using mySAP SRM in the supplier portal and send these to mySAP ERP via SAP Exchange Infrastructure (SAP XI). The buyer’s settlement checks range from pre-processing of the invoices through support for clarification cases with the Invoice Monitoring System (IMS) – part of the mySAP SRM solution – to status management. Here, duplicate documents are filtered out, invoices are checked to ensure content accuracy, claims are processed, and the invoices are assigned categories such as “forwarded,” “being clarified,” or “in the payment process,” to give a better overview of the situation. This portal application can be used to manage invoice documents from mySAP SRM effectively and is available to Accounting in mySAP ERP for payment.
Interactive and user-friendly forms based on an integrated solution from Adobe and SAP can be used to create and change invoices. mySAP SRM enables straightforward interchange with partners here. The advanced options of the SAP TREX search engine also make data and information easily accessible. Overall, the integration of mySAP SRM and mySAP ERP effective tools for achieving a higher degree of automation in procurement processes and increasing the profitability of the complete procure-to-pay process.

Andrea Clauer

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