The joy of launching a new product with a comfortable profit margin tends to be short-lived in the high-tech industry. The product needs to be marketed in the right way and also fulfill customers’ increasingly sophisticated demands at a moderate price. Customers’ increasing cost consciousness is causing current trend studies to predict tough competition in the high-tech sector.
Future-proof solution for increasing demands
“For this reason, midmarket suppliers of high-tech and electronic products require a contemporary and future-proof solution that covers as many industry-specific processes as possible if they are to be competitive in future,” explains Tobias Wahner, MD of ITML. The qualified mySAP All-in-One solution ITML > High<tech> fulfills these requirements. ITML’s industry-specific solution is based on mySAP ERP and, according to the company’s own specifications, is a “comprehensive turnkey package that is preconfigured to handle the typical business processes of the hi-tech sector.” Wahner particularly stresses the fact that the “solution provides integrated mapping of financials, HR, logistics, and CRM.”
Mapping value-added chains
ITML > High<tech> thus guarantees a constant flow of information from tender through to actual costing and invoicing. The solution maps complete scenarios along the value-added chain of high-tech and electronics companies, from automated needs assessment through the order process (also automated), right up to online warehouse monitoring for suppliers. Further integral components of the solution include batch and revision status management, serial number tracking in production and distribution, and service, repair, and commission management. This enables an all-round view of all company processes.
For example, the solution uses serial numbers to manage the respective revision status of batch-managed material. The origin and current location of each individual component can thus be accurately tracked, which may be relevant for instance in the case of customer returns or QA measures. “The mySAP All-in-One solution thus improves product quality and provides for consistently transparent processes from the supplier through to the customer,” Wahner reports.
The CRM (Customer Relationship Management) functionality enables a customer order to be generated directly in the SAP system via a web dialog (cf. figure). Options for pricing and entering different goods recipients are already integrated. Project number, customer order number, order date, and the planned delivery date can also be entered. This enables customers or vendors to check on the system whether required goods, components, or spare parts are available. “A further benefit of the CRM functionality is that it displays a status list of customer orders at the push of a button,” Wahner adds.
Supplier integration, customer retention
Suppliers should also be integrated in order to handle customer production orders in a timely and cost effective manner. ITML > High<tech> links these suppliers interactively. This means that authorized suppliers have online access to information on current stock levels. They can view them online and thus identify possible production bottlenecks at an early stage, and they can then act to ensure that the required components, such as processors or circuit boards, are delivered at the right time. In the context of supplier integration, the solution also handles order confirmations and delivery notes directly, for instance. “This first of all frees up the purchasers in the day-to-day running of things and creates space for strategic tasks such as supplier selection and assessment and price negotiations,” says Wahner, explaining the benefits. “Secondly, it also has a positive effect on the manufacturer’s flexibility and ability to meet the deadline. This in turn increases customer satisfaction and secures follow-up orders.”
One strategy for manufacturers of electronic household appliances that is geared towards long-term customer retention is to ensure that repair jobs are handled quickly and satisfactorily from receipt through to delivery of the repaired product. To this end, ITML > High<tech> records the spare parts processed in the course of a repair (keywords: batch management requirement, serial number management) and the time needed. If required, a quotation or an order confirmation can be generated directly from the order. The repaired product is then shipped using standard functions. In order to distinguish repair jobs from “normal jobs”, different shipping and invoicing types are set up in the system.
Constant optimization, rapid implementation
ITML is constantly enhancing, adapting and improving the processes mapped in the mySAP All-in-One solution. “The main thing here is that we include experience gained from customer projects,” is how Wahner describes the process. The seamless conversion of legacy data is similarly significant. If a company replaces its legacy system with ITML >High <tech>, a wide range of conversion scenarios are already preconfigured in the underlying template in order to make data transfer as seamless as possible.
“The more completely the legacy data can be transferred, the quicker our solution can be implemented,” Wahner continues. Comprehensive conversion is also important as this enables, for instance, the corresponding process of the spare parts business to be depicted quickly based on the available spare parts data. As a result, this cuts costs and implementation times considerably compared with regular implementation scenarios. As a rule, ITML estimates a timeframe of between three and six months for implementation projects. “However, at one client, we installed and went live with ITML >High<tech> within 80 days,” Wahner stresses.
Cost-effective and flexible
The mySAP All-in-One solution is platform-independent and runs on various hardware systems with Windows, UNIX derivatives, or Linux. ITML uses SQL Server, DB/2 or Informix as database systems. “For cost reasons, we prefer MAX DB, however, particularly with small SMBs,” Wahner explains. The SAP Business Partner provides the industry package either at a fixed price or in ASP mode. With the ASP model, the price range per user ranges between €250 and €320 per month, depending on functional scope and user numbers. “ITML > High<tech> thus fulfils all the important requirements of midmarket companies,” Wahner sums up. “The solution covers the core processes of the high-tech and electronics sector and improves productivity. Moreover, it is cost-effective, flexible, and scaleable, and can be implemented quickly. That creates a competitive advantage.”