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How manufacturing company SEW-EURODRIVE increased automation in its procurement processes

International drive technology specialist SEW-EURODRIVE has been helping its customers become faster and more productive since 1931. Getting the most out of its own procurement processes was a natural next step and connecting to the Mercateo Marketplace was the solution. Our platform has helped SEW-EURODRIVE better manage its tail-end spend and is an integral part of the company’s digital procurement process. Read on to find out how SEW-EURODRIVE brought users on board for a hassle-free procurement upgrade.

The headquarter buildings of SEW-EURODRIVE

The success story at a glance

Challenges

  • Speed up indirect purchasing processes
  • Integrate pre-negotiated catalogues and price conditions
  • Establish a user-friendly complete P2P solution
  • Cut down on tedious product searches
  • Spend less time comparing offers

Results

  • Increase in automation from 40% to 65%
  • All-in-one solution: Unite’s e-procurement solution connects seamlessly to SEW-EURODRIVE’s SAP system
  • Freed up resources: More more time to focus on strategic issues

The solutions

  • Handling ad-hoc spend with the Mercateo Marketplace
  • Catalogue hosting of framework agreements to benefit from pre-negotiated terms
  • Mercateo Procurement Portal for a standardised, user-friendly P2P process
  • OCI punch-out integration for digital data exchange

Searching for a better search

In the mid-2000s, the German-based company started digitalising its processes to make them more efficient. At first, it opted for a leading supplier’s catalogue system, which soon turned out to be a subpar option.

Even after years of using that solution and integrating 30 of its own catalogues, SEW-EURODRIVE wasn’t getting enough out of it. “We weren’t able to integrate the solution into our system, so our users weren’t very enthusiastic”, said Matthias Nicklas, Manager Indirect Procurement, SEW-EURODRIVE. The product search, in particular, was too slow and unsatisfactory at the time. “All too often, our users couldn’t find what they were looking for”, he said. And so SEW-EURODRIVE started its search for a better search solution.

Standardised procurement

“We didn’t want to use our team’s expertise to deal with things like screwdrivers,” said Matthias. “Instead, we wanted to put our energy towards improving our core services at SEW-EURODRIVE, such as construction and investments.”

Matthias’ team was already familiar with the Mercateo Marketplace, and colleagues had ordered from its assortment of over 26 million items. SEW-EURODRIVE then decided to use Mercateo as more than a large web shop: a procurement solution connected to its own SAP system via an OCI interface. This allowed the team to customise the marketplace to SEW-EURODRIVE’s requirements as a mechanical engineering company.

The new all-round solution needed to map out pre-negotiated catalogues to cover tail-end spend and consolidate as many procurement channels as possible. “With Mercateo, we were able to automate our one-off orders from 40% to 65%,” said Matthias. “The solution’s features and our continuous dialogue with users have been the winning factors for the successful rollout.”

Lorries on the road
SEW-EURODRIVE operates around the world.

Getting users on board

“We presented the Mercateo solution to relevant department reps during an event. Our message was simple: we’re not doing this for ourselves but for you. So tell us what you think,” Matthias recalled.

And the feedback was positive. Today, more than 2,900 users at over 50 locations across Germany order from Mercateo via various user groups. The product search feature works across the entire range. The marketplace lets you compare prices and delivery times from both pre-integrated and external suppliers.

The user interface is so intuitive that the staff didn’t need to be trained. To make sure our users would accept the solution in the long run, the company hosted a webinar for about 100 participants a few months after launching that allowed users to ask Mercateo employees anything they wanted to know.

What was the outcome?

“We’ve been able to digitise 65% of our procurement processes – it’s come a long way from about 40%,” said Matthias. “We now have more time to focus on our day-to-day business as well as strategic issues and new areas of procurement. Our company is growing while also becoming more digital and international. It never gets boring around here.”

About SEW-EURODRIVE

  • Legal form: GmbH & Co. KG (limited liability company and limited partnership)
  • Founded: 1931
  • Sector: Manufacturing
  • Headquarters: Bruchsal, Germany
  • Headcount: approx. 21,000 (2022)
  • Annual revenue: 4.2 billion euros (2022)

Get in touch

Would you like to know more about optimising your procurement processes with Unite? We’re happy to walk you through it.