GPS: Facts and Figures

Feature Article | August 26, 2009 by Benjamin Blaume

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Like many global companies, Cognis suffered from the lack of transparency that is often part and parcel of multi-site operations. “What we were missing was a global system that could provide us with an overview of our expenses worldwide,” says Dr. Rolf Kettner, purchasing director for technical materials and energy at Cognis. With the exception of raw material costs, the company was limited to a manual analysis of its European outgoings – with a global breakdown taking place just once a year. With different IT systems, the company’s data landscape was simply too complex.

To increase transparency and gear itself up for a larger market, Cognis needed a global purchasing information system that could analyze products and suppliers in real time – with real flexibility. The company found its answer in SAP NetWeaver Business Warehouse (SAP NetWeaver BW) and entrusted SAP partner ISR Information Products AG with the implementation.

After a thorough analysis, Cognis opted for the ISR Global Purchasing System (GPS). Based on SAP NetWeaver BW, the solution provided the company with a centralized database. GPS not only benefits employees in local and global purchasing, but also serves the company’s purchase-to-pay department. Reporting is grouped across three areas – suppliers, materials and goods, and processes. Analysis is based on a combination of key figures and values, including the number of invoices, orders, suppliers, and materials.

Three-layer model

“We went with a traditional three-layer model to allow us to tailor the original data to each application and ensure the highest possible level of flexibility,” explains Michael Sidon, senior consultant at ISR. With this type of architecture, GPS remains open for integration with other ERP systems.

The project was done and dusted in around 200 days and Cognis saw a return on investment after just three months. Thanks to its newfound transparency, the company will now be able to consolidate its calls for tender. In this area alone, it is looking at potential savings of more than 1 million euro per year.

Next on the agenda for Cognis is the integration of a non-SAP ERP system and new functionality that will provide an analysis of the company’s payment history.

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