The cultural landscape of Eichsfeld is situated in the middle of Germany. 150 years ago, Theodor Storm, literary giant and nature lover, said “Anyone who has never paid a visit to Eichsfeld is missing out on a lot.“ Today, among the baroque churches, castle ruins and restaurants serving traditional rustic fare, the municipality must deal with the somewhat less pleasant but all the more necessary business of effectively disposing of its waste and recyclable items.
In the summer of 2004, the administrative district of Eichsfeld in Heilligenstadt, Thuringia, decided to hand over the settlement of charges for emptying the district’s household and recyclable waste containers to a new company called Eichsfeldwerke (ew Entsorgungs GmbH). The company was scheduled to start operations as early as January 2005. Benno Bause, commercial director manager of Eichsfeldwerke, turned to EAM Energie AG (now E.ON Mitte AG), a service provider that supplied Eichsfeldwerke with the SAP industry solution for utility companies for utility division settlement. “Because the time available for the project was extremely tight, we needed a tool for settlement that could be implemented quickly and is nonetheless future-oriented,” says Bause. The waste disposal company commissioned the Münster-based consulting firm cronos to provide support.
Capacity planning and other additional services
First, the IT managers from ew, cronos, and EAM planned to carry out fee settlement for the administrative district on the basis of flat-rate installations – that is, installations without a counter or meter reading for which settlement is based on a fixed price – in the SAP industry solution. Problems were caused here by an option that Eichsfeldwerke wanted in order to handle the logistics processes, namely route and capacity planning of the waste disposal vehicles, in the future. It would only have been possible to cover this option in the industry solution through extensive additional programming. To keep within schedule, it would have been necessary to sideline other, more important aims such as customer merging, and it therefore made sense to implement a more modern solution.
“The new solution needed to offer future security with regard to changes in the administrative district’s fee tariff structure, which no-one can rule out,” explains Bause. cronos therefore suggested that ew implement SAP Waste and Recycling, a solution that includes tailor-made components for the waste disposal industry. One advantage of this solution is that the existing configuration in the area of master data and customer service processes, as well as the mapping of the regional structure (roads, road sections, cities, towns and their districts), can be transferred to it. Ultimately, ew was won over by the additional functionalities for the waste disposal industry such as route planning or the tailored Customer Interaction Center.
New company starts operating immediately
First, EAM Energie AG prepared its existing SAP R/3 solution so that cronos could set up SAP Waste and Recycling. To map the ew Entsorgung GmbH processes in the EAM system, the project team set up a new company code within the existing SAP landscape, enhanced the Materials Management (MM) component for the new company, and mapped the tariff structure for the administrative district in the new SAP Waste and Recycling component. As a result, the newly founded Eichsfeldwerke was able to start using its financial accounting system on January first, 2005, as planned.
To ensure that customers did not experience excessive delays, the municipal charges notifications would need to have been sent out at the start of April at the latest. However, it transpired that the tariff structure caused a few modifications to be necessary. The municipal charges notifications are sent out to every citizen in the administrative district at the start of each year, but the fees are not due until the first of July. If a change takes place in the period up to June 30, for example a household starts using a smaller waste container, the charge for this is still not due until July first. However, if a household does not start using a new container until after this date, or if the household grows or gets smaller, the payment term is just 30 days. This ruling was mapped correctly in due date management.
Customer Interaction Center also handles waste disposal data
After modifications had been made to the old SAP industry solution and functionality had been activated in SAP Waste and Recycling, it was necessary to include the functionalities of the new waste disposal solution in EAM Energie AG’s Customer Interaction Center and to carry out a functional test. The Customer Interaction Center is employees’ central interface for customer information and changes to customer data. This functional and integration test was also successful, and on Sunday, March 13, 2005 the legacy data was migrated to the production system and the newly founded Entsorgung GmbH was able to start up operative business.
For Bause, the most important thing is that his new company was able to stay within the tight schedule. “With the date of productive operation, we were able to keep our word to the administrative district and send out the municipal charges notifications to the citizens of the Eichsfeld administrative district on time. We were on target in terms of both budget and schedule.” Work was able to start without difficulties one day after migration and requests for address changes and updates to the number of people per household received in the meantime from citizens could be entered.
The new settlement solution was smoothly integrated in the EAM landscape. At the moment, only the business processes at ew are handled in a separate team. In future, the plan is to set up a separate team for container discharge with its own vehicles, and to map the logistics processes in SAP Waste and Recycling.