Order Confirmations 4.0: the Road to the suitable SAP Add-On
Table of contents:
- Digital is faster than manual
- Six proven functional requirements from real life – and their advantages
- Cost-benefit analysis provides an overview for the right choice
Media disruptions cost staff in purchasing time and nerves. Therefore, many purchasers dream of full transparency across all purchase organizations. With electronic and automated processing of incoming order confirmation, this dream is just a decision away – the decision for the right SAP add-on.
Order confirmations are important. They correct the order process in case of deviations and thereby increase the data quality. Error sources during the order process and also the downstream invoicing process can thus be eliminated. Therefore, order confirmations have potential for automation and their processing is an indispensable standard process which needs to be handled as efficiently as possible.
Digital is faster than manual
This is confirmed by many studies including the study conducted in Germany, Austria and Switzerland by the Leipzig University of Applied Sciences (HTWK Leipzig). This study shows that an order confirmation which is mostly supported electronically is three times faster than a manual process. With 1.01€, the costs per digitally processed order confirmation are almost 75% percent lower compared to 3.74€ for the manual process! Above all, the most important thing is and remains the transparency created by digitization.
The digitization of order confirmations provides the purchasing department with a real-time overview of its suppliers including all deviations from prices, dates, quantities or incoterms. This enables purchasers to react immediately if – for example – the order material cannot be delivered on time. Delays in business processes can thus be avoided.
However, digital and above all automated processing of incoming order confirmations cannot be realized with the board tools of the SAP ERP system alone. Renowned SAP partners have discovered this gap for themselves and offer a range of solutions. But which one is the right one? What are the vital criteria for a suitable SAP add-on? Which system offers the most economical use? Often, a classic cost-benefit analysis and a simple check list help to evaluate functions and suppliers.
Six proven functional requirements from real life – and their advantages
The SAP add-ons ensure that incoming order confirmations are digitally captured and transparently processed in SAP. Generally, there are basic functional requirements that have proven themselves in practice.
Below is a selection:
- Automatic processing of paperbased as well as electronic data
Information flows into the company in different ways, e.g. by e-mail with PDF file attachment, as EDI data, by fax or paper document. Therefore, it is important that the software can cover all sorts of arrival scenarios of incoming order confirmations in order to make the data available centrally and digitally for further processing.
- Fast data synchronization by use of SAP master data
The use of SAP master data is a basic prerequisite for an efficient solution which relieves the workload of the employees. This enables a fast data synchronization between new and already existing information in the downstream processes.
- Comparison of order confirmation and purchase order in one interface
For the purpose of monitoring, it must also be possible to compare purchase order and order confirmation digitally in one interface. Deviations should be highlighted visually. This facilitates validation in the case of discrepancies.
- Fast assignment of recognized items of an order confirmation to the items of a purchase order
During digital processing, the software generally links the order confirmation directly to the order in SAP. All items from the order confirmation can thus be transferred to the SAP purchase order at the push of a button. This function is a must-have in order to simplify processing.
- Direct jump to the most important SAP transactions: info record, MD04, material master, purchase order
In the case of discrepancies between purchase order and order confirmation, decisions must be made quickly in the purchasing department. It might occur that a vendor is not able to deliver the ordered quantity of goods at the time requested for example. This is where it should be possible for the purchaser to call up information for quick decision-making from the SAP stock/requirements list (MD04) with the help of the solution.
- Smart assistants that indicate discrepancies
Not every manufacturer offers an assistant function although it safely guides users through processing and provides transparency. If there are deviations in the documents regarding dates, quantities, prices, incoterms or terms of payment for example, these should be clearly highlighted. A smart assistant visibly points out discrepancies to the user and thereby reduces the error rate.
Cost-benefit analysis provides an overview for the right choice
The functionalities of the SAP add-ons are far more extensive. As a consequence, factors can possibly be added, e.g. a necessary connection to SAP Ariba or individual programming as well as the option to adjust “odds and ends” single-handedly. For organizations to be able to evaluate their own relevant requirements and preselect suitable suppliers, they need to know which functionalities are relevant to them. In order to transparently support the decision-making process, the methods of a cost-benefit analysis make perfect sense. In this connection, relevance points or showstoppers can be defined for each function and the suppliers can correspondingly be evaluated in a clear and appropriate manner.
When facts speak for themselves, it is easy to decide on the right solution system. The vision to reduce the manual effort for processing of order confirmations to a minimum and to process them efficiently is becoming a tangible reality and the decision for the right point of time is all that remains. However, this is where the decision is much simpler: NOW!
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