When Struck-Leuchten had to implement a new ERP system because its previous product and the manufacturer had disappeared from the market, the company had one key demand – the next solution was to be more future focused. However, this was not the only factor involved in the decision-making process, as Managing Director Markus Struck explains: “Many of our customers use SAP, and in the past they have often asked us to install a solution to allow them to access information directly in our system. Consequently, SAP was the obvious choice for our new system.” The company chose to implement mySAP ERP.
One of the solution’s many benefits was the sophisticated order proposal system, which reconciles demand with stock levels on a daily basis. Struck-Leuchten manufactures its advertising lines – comprising illuminated signs and advertisements, light boxes and light panels – predominantly in mass production, and produces the individual components in fixed quantities. Certain assemblies, for instance ballasts and glass panels, are provided by external suppliers. In the past, Struck-Leuchten ordered all the components required for a year in one batch, regardless of how many parts were still in stock. The old software did not allow the company to view the latest stock levels and reconcile them with the demand requirements. As a result, Struck-Leuchten always had high stock levels.
Stock levels reduced by 30 percent
The situation today is quite different – once a month the current stock levels are reconciled with the outstanding orders. The software automatically lets the user know when, for example, the stock level falls below a specific value or when demand requirements exceed current stock levels. The solution then sends an order proposal list, containing all the relevant information, to the purchasing department. The order process itself also takes place in mySAP ERP. At present, employees in the purchasing department still print the order and fax it manually to the suppliers, but soon the process of ordering by fax will be triggered directly from the corporate software. Managing Director Markus Struck sums up the benefits: “We no longer order without being aware of the figures. Today, we have a clear overview of the stock and place our orders accordingly.” As a result, the company has been able to reduce its stock levels by thirty percent.
A further advantage of this solution is the multi-level parts list provided for each article. These lists are used to control the demand requirements and production processes. Each department is automatically sent the relevant parts lists, together with the steps they need to perform. The parts lists are also linked to images and graphics so that employees in the purchasing and production departments can check whether the material number actually refers to the part to be ordered or produced.
The lists also contain the average prices, which is particularly useful for costing in the sales department. Previously, Struck-Leuchten used valuation prices for the existing stock, which were usually determined during stocktaking and were always valid for a year. The disadvantage of this rigid model was that, if prices changed during the validity period, the changes could not be taken into account. In contrast, mySAP ERP now always uses the current purchasing price as the basis for costing. This value is then used to determine the average price. As a result, the sales team can access this information at any time using the material number and the stored parts list.
New users quickly get to grips with the system
14 employees work with the new corporate software and Struck explains why they are pleased with the intuitive, user-friendly interface: “Even colleagues with little or no experience of PCs got to grips with the solution in next to no time.”
Users now also profit from greater transparency in the flow of goods. In the past, all incoming goods were usually only entered into the inventory two days after they arrived. Now, they are entered into the system as soon as they are received using the material number. In this way, employees in purchasing and production have immediate access to up-to-date stock levels and can respond faster to suppliers. At the touch of a button, they can see which orders are still outstanding and for which invoices reminders may have to be sent.
Times when colleagues had to ask time and again whether ordered goods had already been received or not or had simply not been entered into the system are a thing of the past. In fact, it was not unknown for a delivery note to be forgotten because the incoming goods department was not connected directly to the ERP software. Instead, all the delivery notes were collected by the purchasing department and eventually entered into the application manually. “Thanks to mySAP ERP, we record the goods the moment they arrive, which means we have a reliable information base for making decisions,” explains the Managing Director. “Ultimately, this means that the improved transparency in the flow of goods has not only optimized stock levels, but also improved our delivery reliability.”
When Markus Struck talks about improved transparency, he is not only referring to the real-time process of entering goods into the system as they arrive. Employees now have a clearer overview of all company processes in this area – from incoming goods to production and dispatch. The status of each order can be displayed using the order number by simply clicking the mouse.
SAP installed in only 70 days
In future, customers should also be able to access information directly in Struck-Leuchten’s SAP solution. For example, they will be able to see whether an article has already been delivered. This function complies with requests the company received from a number of customers, which was the main reason for changing the computer system in the first place.
itelligence was responsible for installing mySAP ERP, and Struck-Leuchten wants to take advantage of the expertise of the IT service provider for this and another follow-on project – the creation of a barcode system for all articles and materials. Struck was particularly pleased with the professionalism and cooperative approach of the Bielefeld-based system house. The company mastered even difficult challenges, such as the integration of parts lists, in good time. And the result speaks for itself – the new SAP solution went live after only 70 man-days.