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Technology

Murrelektronik launches into a digital future with EDI

Murrelektronik GmbH used to process all invoicing documents manually. Now the company handles a growing proportion electronically with Unifiedpost Group's solution.

Murrelektronik GmbH is a global provider of application solutions for the industrial automation industry. Founded in Oppenweiler in 1975, the company now employs almost 2,000 people and is an international leader in its field.

Murrelektronik has around 60,000 customers. Every day, the outgoing invoice department processes between 1,000 and 1,500 documents. Until just under four years ago, this process was handled entirely by post - today, a steadily growing proportion is sent electronically.

The move towards electronic, digital processes

Before the transition towards electronic, digital processes Murrelektronik's entire ordering and invoicing process was paper based. The business received orders electronically, in writing or by telephone and had to manually enter each order into the ERP system. Delivery notes and invoices were scanned and transferred to the existing SAP ERP system via OCR (optical character recognition) software for further processing by the accounting department or the sales team.

The demand for a more efficient workflow was increasing. Both driven by Murrelektronik’s customers and the management team.

The demand for electronic, automated processes

Firstly, Murrelektronik’s customers were increasingly using electronic processes themselves, therefore encouraging Murrelektronik to consider a fully electronic, digitalised process. The demand for electronic data processing was growing, as large companies have long been working on an EDI (electronic data interchange) basis.

Digitalised invoices have the greatest added value for the recipient in this process, as the recipient no longer has to manually enter or process the data. On the invoicing party's side, the data is exported directly from the local ERP.

The second influence was from Murrelektronik’s management team. Difficulties with order and delivery notes, enormous time expenditure and a high error rate caused great expense. The management understood that by optimising processes, a reduction in costs would occur.

Saving resources with the expertise of the right provider

The search for a suitable digitalisation provider took just over twelve months. Heidrun Beck, Project Manager SAP Rollout and EDI at Murrelektronik, participated in the selection process right from the start:

"We compared four providers and ultimately decided in favour of Unifiedpost Group. We were not only convinced by the offer, but also by the fact that Unifiedpost Group was already internationally active and had experience. There were also some positive references.”

It was also vital to Murrelektronik that the provider offered a customised solution.

Firstly, the invoice dispatch was analysed. It turned out that the SAP system installed in the company could create and send electronic invoices without any problems. Accordingly, Unifiedpost Group functioned as a partner for data processing and handle orders, order responses, delivery notes and invoices. The technical framework conditions and customising of the system were defined together. To ensure a smooth process, the interface to the customer only needed to be set up once.

The first successful customer connection took place in 2013. Since then, order entry, order confirmations and invoices have been processed via EDI. During the onboarding process, Unifiedpost Group took over almost all communication between Murrelektronik and their customers.

The connection takes around four to six weeks per customer. It is particularly important that the master data is carefully entered into the ERP system. This includes all data relating to the customer, as well as information on prices and materials.

A consistently positive experience for all

So far, some major customers have been fully integrated into the system.

Ms Beck states: "At first glance, we have only connected a very small proportion of our customers to the system, but we are already processing over 1,000 transactions per month via Unifiedpost Group as a communication partner. Of course, bringing a partner on board also had a financial background, as the savings potential is enormous. By outsourcing, we have avoided having to acquire the technical expertise ourselves, which not only saves staff, but also time and money. We fully rely on the expertise of Unifiedpost Group."

Ms Beck estimates that around 30-40% of administrative work can be saved thanks to the many automated features of the system. Working with one provider also means that the system used by the customer is completely irrelevant as different data formats translate directly into the appropriate format.

Another huge advantage is the drastic reduction in errors within the processes. Manual external intervention is only necessary if the customer has individual requirements, for example regarding the delivery date or a spontaneous changed quantity. Provided the master data has been carefully entered into the ERP, errors within the ordering processes can be virtually ruled out.

Goal: Continuing the transition to full digitalisation

Ms Beck explains that Murrelektronik is planning to connect three more major customers by the end of the year. The aim is to connect a further ten customers a year in the near future. So far, the effort has only paid off for major customers, but a complete switchover cannot be ruled out in the long term.

"We are extremely satisfied so far. The collaboration is running smoothly, we can react quickly to spontaneous changes and, of course, the figures speak for themselves. In Unifiedpost Group, we have found a technical partner who takes over the communication in the data process for us and manages it cleanly."

The case study was originally in German, created by crossinx, the former name of Unifiedpost Germany - the German entity of Unifiedpost Group.