One of the world’s largest automobile and truck manufacturers.
The client’s five North American entities were using separate, siloed contract systems—including one manual, paper-based system—for non-production procurement.
Sirius helped implement a single, cloud-based procurement platform across the client’s North American entities using IBM Business Process Manager.
By standardizing on one system, the organization has eliminated the inefficiencies that result when divisions operate in functional silos. The client has also improved management of its processes and contracts with vendors, and dramatically reduced the opportunity for human error. And because it’s cloud-based, the solution scales effortlessly, simplifies administration, and doesn’t require client apps.
How does one of the world’s largest automobile and truck manufacturers manage its procurement and contracts? In the case of one Sirius client with operations throughout North America, the answer until recently was, “Not very efficiently.”
The company’s five divisions had a disparate mix of systems for managing vendor procurement and contracts, including a paper-based system, a client/server application-based system, and a Web-based application. In addition to the high cost and inefficiency of maintaining separate systems, each division managed different procurement functions, rules and approval hierarchies.
One of the divisions engaged Sirius to create a single procurement and contract management system that could be used for non-production procurement (i.e., anything other than the parts used in the actual manufacture of a vehicle) and might eventually be implemented by the company’s other North American divisions.
Sirius consultants analyzed the challenge, presented multiple options, and helped the client nail down a business solution that would codify and extend a singular approach for managing procurement across multiple divisions.
During the development and testing processes, Sirius was able to bring together a robust team made up of both onshore and offshore resources. Sirius’ solution architect helped build the framework for how the app would be put together, including security, integration with the company’s single sign-on, and application development. Sirius added a business analyst and liaison between the business and technical teams to make sure that the app was developed for maximum business value, and set parameters for QA that included testing the application throughout the development process. PMI®-certified project managers from Sirius’ software practices oversaw the entire process to ensure that everything proceeded on schedule and on budget, and that application functionality targets were hit.
The result was a solution that replaced the disparate systems with a single system that is specialized to the task of efficiently managing a complex business process. Sirius consultants used IBM® Business Process Manager to build the base of the application, along with some custom application development to bridge functional gaps. IBM is hosting the application in the cloud, so it can be deployed worldwide and is completely scalable to accommodate new workload or the further addition of divisions. And because it’s securely accessed from any browser, neither IT nor users have to be concerned with software installation.
Phase I, which included developing and deploying the application for three divisions, started in May 2014 and was completed in just five months. Phase II brought in 11 more divisions, tripling the user base for the application, and added application enhancements. Like many business process improvement solutions, the more the application is used, the more groups look to adopt it; it is now being expanded from non-procurement contracts to all contracts that flow through one of the largest divisions.
With IBM Business Process Manager’s built-in capabilities, the application is being used as both a process management and a document management solution. This is critical, since so many of the existing contracts, purchase orders, invoices and more are paper documents that need to be scanned into and managed by the system.
This was the first time a cross-organization BPM tool had been developed and deployed at the client, so it’s eliminating longstanding barriers and opening management’s eyes to all the advantages of not just cloud-based application technologies, but also the financial and administrative benefits of cross-departmental solutions. And not just for North America; today the client’s parent corporation is evaluating the solution for possible global deployment.
For more information about solutions to your most demanding business challenges, contact your Sirius representative.