Fully automated catalog creation, directly from SAP
Kaeser Kompressoren GmbH, a leading innovator in air system technology runs a spare parts catalog system integrated in SAP. The catalog application is based on PARTS-PUBLISHER of Docware. Without any manual interventions parts catalogs are generated directly from SAP R/3. Dealers and service technicians worldwide access the catalogs via a SAP Internet Portal.
KAESER KOMPRESSOREN GmbH is one of the largest and most successful suppliers of air systems worldwide. The family-owned company is located in Coburg, Germany. With an export quota of about 60% KAESER is one of the leading European compressor manufacturers. With the rotary screw compressors the company has a market share of about 30% and assumes a leading position in the German market. In the production sites Coburg, Gera and Lyon as well as in 36 international subsidiaries KAESER employs more than 4,000 people. Thereof 1,600 at the headquarter Coburg where next to logistics, research & development the production of rotary screw compressors, portable compressors, static and mobile reciprocating compressors and also vacuum pumps is situated. A highly qualified and globally networked service organisation guarantees the ultimate availability of all KAESER products.
The initial situation
Formerly KAESER published printed spare parts catalogs that were created with Interleaf. Spare parts orders were primarily placed by telephone or fax. The identification of the required spare parts by means of the paper catalogs was timeconsuming and laborious. Searching for plant-specific spare parts turned out to be very difficult. Often enquiry calls at the KAESER service hotline became necessary for placing orders.
The target was to replace the paper catalogs by an Internet spare parts catalog system in order to simplify parts ordering for dealers, accelerate the order processing and consequently achieve shortened down times of defect KAESER machines. As an essential differentiator from competitors the innovative online catalog and ordering system was meant to keep existing dealers loyal, attract new customers and finally increase the spare part turnover.
SAP recommendation: PARTS-PUBLISHER
When selecting a suitable spare parts catalog software KAESER followed the recommendation of SAP to opt for PARTS-PUBLISHER of Docware. Particularly on the sector e-commerce systems Docware and SAP work closely together. Docware is an “Independent Software Vendor with SAP certified Integration” and services a number of customers that run SAP integrated PARTS-PUBLISHER solutions.
Short implementation period
Within 12 months the SAP integrated parts catalog and ordering system was implemented. The implementation phase involved the following steps:
1. Specification of process cycles (data sources, data flow)
2. Definition of interfaces
3. Set up of the data model/configuration of the catalogs:
PARTS-PUBLISHER offers the opportunity to set-up catalogs individually with only a few mouse clicks. The configuration includes for example the visual appearance of the viewer, the designation of data fields for the parts lists (e.g. serial number, description, price etc.) and the fixing of the parts list column order in the catalog. Also the languages that are to be incorporated into the catalog are defined. The language selection can be effected separately for database, Workbench and catalog viewer. Even the definition of search fields and terms, ordering fields and the filter takes place in the context of the configuration. The filter function controls for example, which data is accessible for which catalog user. During the system implementation a Docware project manager supported KAESER in configuring the catalogs. New catalog templates can be created by KAESER employees without external help or programming skills anytime.
4. Customer-specific adaptations:
Programming of KAESER-specific access to the system (access for dealers or service technicians)
5. Definition and programming of the fully automated import
Integration in SAP
The KAESER spare parts catalog and ordering system comprehends the following software systems that are operated as a fully integrated solution:
- SAP R/3
- SAP Portal
Catalog creation directly from SAP
The spare parts catalog creation is effected fully automated and is controlled by SAP R/3. When KAESER delivers a new product or a new plant an according status is set in SAP R/3. This status initiates the automated creation of an associated spare parts catalog. SAP R/3 automatically generates a parts list, that is directly imported in the Workbench of the parts catalog software PARTS-PUBLISHER. An automatic import program runs as a so called service. This means that neither for starting the catalog production nor for processing catalog data manual interventions become necessary. Parts list data, related drawings and descriptive documents are automatically linked and processed with the PARTS-PUBLISHER Workbench and put out as a catalog. The descriptive documents like the parts lists are transferred from SAP R/3. The drawings are incorporated from SAP DVS. The information which drawing and which document has to be assigned to which assembly derives from SAP R/3 as well.
Access to plant- and user-specific catalogs via SAP Portal
The parts catalog system PARTS-PUBLISHER is embedded into a SAP Internet Portal. The user administration of the SAP Portal differentiates two user groups: “Dealers” and “Service Technicians”. According to affiliation to one or the other group different catalog views and information are displayed after the login. The system provides machinespecific catalogs with linked spare parts information, drawings and descriptive documents.
Orders can be placed directly from the parts catalog system. Ordering parts for regular maintenance tasks is simplified by so called maintenance kits. These are “order packages” in which all parts are contained that are needed for defined maintenance tasks.
The orders are transferred to KAESER by e-mail. Orders received by KAESER are entered into SAP R/3 for further order processing. The integration of the catalog system in an SAP Internet Shop with direct transfer of the orders to SAP ERP is previewed in a next upgrade step.
Catalog administration by dealers
When released in 2008 the catalog system contained spare parts and service information for about 35,000 plants. For plants that had already been delivered before the implementation of the catalog system KAESER offers the following possibility for data administration: via the Service Portal dealers can register plants not yet contained in the catalog system. The registration of a new plant releases a corresponding message to the KAESER SAP R/3 where instantly the creation of the appropriate catalog is started. When registering the plant the dealers can indicate to whom this plant was delivered. The customer data is then also integrated with the catalog system.
Catalog system with additional benefit
The catalog system provides features that exceed the pure catalog and ordering function. A special filter mechanism enables for example dealers to search for customers in their sales area that run a specific type of plant. This function may be used for optimising the scheduling of service tasks.
The electronic spare parts ordering system was well accepted. In 2008 about 225 internal employees and 250 dealers in 12 countries work with the system. Operating the spare parts catalogs in 30 countries is previewed.
With the introduction of the Internet Service Portal KAESER KOMPRESSOREN has modernised and improved its after sales service. Dealer and service organisations benefit of this electronic purchase solution.
Users worldwide can use the system as source of information or for fast and easy ordering twenty-four-seven. Information and data that could not be more up-to-date are available in the particular national language. Identifying and ordering spare parts could not be easier. Unambiguous parts information and ordering directly from the catalog system led to a significant decrease of faulty orders. Also call backs for orders declined noticeably. In long term this will lead to an important reduction of operating costs for the after sales service. The complete automation of the catalog production reduced the effort for production and maintenance of the spare parts catalogs to about zero. The continuous use of data of the ERP system avoids redundancies. Catalogs integrated in the portal can be updated quickly and anytime.