As COVID-19 impacted supply chains, Border States Industries Inc., the seventh largest electrical distributor in the U.S., needed to optimize and streamline its purchase and sales order management to manage delayed and escalated orders specifically. It was critical to consolidate disjointed systems and tools, increase cross-team visibility, and reduce the duplication of work in order to provide its innovative supply chain products and services to the construction, industrial, and utility markets.

The integrated order management cockpit on SAP Business Technology Platform provides end-to-end and real-time visibility into sales and purchase orders and can enable colleagues from procurement, customer service, and application engineering to collaborate in order to handle material delays, escalations, and other issues. This way, the business can experience improved customer experience (like on-time delivery), an optimized and streamlined order management with clear line of sight for all stakeholders, a reduction of duplicate work, the facilitation of hand-offs and material escalations, and increased visibility and accountability.

Tony Serati, vice president of Procurement at Border States, said, “The solution will improve collaboration and speed of information within our company, resulting in an improved experience and service for our customers.”

Border States is 100% employee-owned and has more than 2,300 employee owners and 98 branch locations in 22 states. Employee ownership drives Border States’ commitment to deliver total satisfaction. Border States was founded in 1952, when two entrepreneurs wanted to serve the electric utility industry. After nearly 70 years in business, the company’s mission and values haven’t changed; Border States remains a trusted advisor and problem solver, providing value to tens of thousands of customers in the construction, industrial, and utility markets. The company does this by delivering quality products, material management solutions, and industry expertise.

The integrated order management cockpit provides a centralized space for all stakeholders to have visibility into order statuses, collaborate, and resolve escalations in a timely manner.

Border States: Integrated Order Management Cockpit“I am very excited about the collaboration piece. It is an immediate way of communication and will make the life of a buyer much easier,” said Christa Lavey, purchasing supervisor at Border States.

The flag feature allows CSR teams to request specific actions from the procurement teams. They are also able to post comments on order status updates.

Border States: Flag FeatureWith an escalation toggle, the subject matter experts can help resolve escalated orders proactively. The stakeholders can provide material level updates, too.Screenshot: escalation toggle

“This tool allows us to escalate and collaborate on orders to find alternatives and work with customers and suppliers to prevent impacts,” said Lex Silbernagel, vice president of Alliances at Border States. “It will enable us to better manage and communicate as challenges arise.”

Technological Foundation

The integrated order management cockpit is built on SAP Business Technology Platform, leveraging SAP Integration Suite, SAP Extension Suite, SAP HANA Cloud, and the SAP Fiori design system. It provides colleagues from procurement, customer service, and application engineering with a central place to manage escalated purchase and sales orders. With this solution, teams can have real-time, cross-team visibility, rather than working in multiple disjointed systems and unsynchronized tools. This allows for improved communication and direct feedback between stakeholders, working to improve process efficiency and eliminate the duplication of work. In addition, new team members can be onboarded quickly and raise and manage issues as they occur.

The semantic data models on SAP HANA Cloud make the solution SAP ERP data agnostic, allowing for seamless integration with SAP ERP now and SAP S/4HANA in the future. SAP Integration Suite helps integrate the solution directly with data from backend solutions. SAP Fiori provides a simplified user experience, enabling users to manage escalations quicker and more effectively.

Key Results

  • Approximately 16,000 hours saved annually for customer service representatives and buyer roles
  • About 2% productivity gained for CSR and buyer roles
  • About 1% improvement on material availability resulting in improved on-time delivery, improved customer experience and increased revenues