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Nationwide process optimisation in C-parts management

Optimising procurement processes and cutting costs have been top priorities for the RWE purchasing team for years. Working with Mercateo allowed the energy Group to restructure how it procures C-parts beyond its German borders.

Buyers are always looking to optimise their processes and cut costs. C-parts procurement is becoming a bigger and bigger part of that. Procurement teams are having to input invoice data for non-electronic order submissions and compare offers for several free text orders. Maverick Buying and the associated large numbers of new suppliers that all need setting up also increase the workload for procurement professionals, putting an enormous financial burden on the company.

RWE’s search for more procurement efficiency

The RWE purchasing department was facing the challenge of streamlining its procurement processes. Managing one-off orders for several thousand creditors was time-consuming and costly, especially when considering that many requirements weren’t covered by e-catalogues. Here’s where the purchasing team saw a big optimisation potential. And so automating procurement processes and reducing the number of suppliers became the focus of the company’s new strategy. Over 10 years ago, the RWE Group started using a new e-procurement solution. “At the time, we were looking for a way to make our C-parts management more efficient so we could get our admin costs under control,” says André Lückert. “In 2008, we finally came across an innovative solution called Mercateo.”

A value-adding procurement partnership

Mercateo was the solution RWE had been looking for: a marketplace with a large range of industrial items mixed with many e-procurement features. The company was able to integrate Mercateo into its existing SRM system and use it as a single point of contact. In the C-parts segment alone, this system partnership allowed the energy company to heavily reduce its number of suppliers. Another benefit is the time saved on procurement. No more long-winded research across a multitude of web shops and catalogues. Today, RWE covers around 80% of its C-parts needs via Mercateo’s C-parts management. This has allowed the energy supplier to reduce the amount of manual transactional activities. “We now process over 40,000 indirect spend items online using Mercateo. The fact that it connects to our SAP system means we can receive and store orders online, making our procurement process much more efficient and transparent,” says André.

RWE also uses the procurement platform as a catalogue management tool. We’ve linked 100+ catalogues to Mercateo, which are exclusive to RWE’s requesters. This allows the energy supplier to maintain its long-standing relationship with its regular suppliers. On top of that, RWE continues to get the most out of special conditions as a result of its pre-negotiated framework agreements. Meanwhile, Mercateo looks after the vast majority of RWE’s content management. No more time-consuming catalogue upload and maintenance work. Thanks to the cross-catalogue search, RWE’s customers can now compare all items. That includes those provided by RWE’s regular as well as external suppliers on the procurement platform. With Mercateo, RWE’s users get to enjoy an improved standardised user interface.

Over the past 4 years, Mercateo has helped us standardise our procurement processes throughout Germany to a total of 7 national companies.

André Lückert, Head of Catalogue & Master Data, RWE Group Business Services GmbH

Standardised procurement processes beyond borders

After the success of partnering with Mercateo, RWE’s procurement team repeated their approach in 2011 – first in Germany, then beyond. André explains: “Over the past 4 years, Mercateo has helped us expand our procurement processes for C-parts all throughout Germany. Since then, we’ve been able to replicate this approach in 7 of our national companies.” By partnering with Mercateo, RWE was able to establish an efficient, internationally standardised procurement process. In 2014, RWE honoured Mercateo for its innovative solution with the RWE Supplier Award in the category ‘Quality Global’. As a result of restructuring its C-parts management, RWE Group’s purchasing department was able to cut process costs. “By connecting Mercateo’s procurement platform with our SRM system, we’ve managed to make our processes even more efficient. The fact that we’ve been able to cut costs by integrating Mercateo is huge for us,” says André Lückert.

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About RWE

  • Sector: energy
  • Founded: 1898
  • Headquarters: Essen, Germany
  • Headcount: 66,341 (full-time positions as of 2013)
  • Annual revenue: €54,070 billion (as of 2023)
  • Legal form: stock corporation