Blog| Model of a new building with quote Heike Barbian on digital order entry
Digital Order Processing
Schöck Builds on Digital Efficiency in Sales Order Processing

Schöck Builds on Digital Efficiency in Sales Order Processing

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"We launched the AFI solution for digital processing of customer requests on the first of March 2020. The first lockdown began shortly thereafter. Prior to the solution rollout, it would not have been possible for us to work from home. After two weeks with the AFI solution, the first employees were able to work from home without any problems. That's what I call a real precision landing,"
says Heike Barbian, Head of Inside Sales at Schöck Bauteile, enthusiastically about the perfect timing of the solution rollout.

The introduction of the digital solution for processing incoming sales orders in SAP had already been a done deal at Schöck a year ago. Due to internal shifts in priorities, the solution was implemented at the beginning of 2020 and, as it turned out, not a day too soon.


»Dependable by design«

In pursuance of the company's claim "Dependable by design", Schöck Bauteile provides its international customers with high-quality building solutions for the sustainable improvement of construction quality. The use of the new SAP add-on also proves that the claim has substance, as Heike Barbian explains:

"We are very proud that we were able to emphasize the practiced nature of our claim ‘Dependable by design’ with the implementation of the digital solution for incoming orders. While many other vendors were not prepared at the beginning of the pandemic, our customers noticed one thing in particular: it's business as usual. To be more precise, even better, because digitally we benefit from more transparency, an even lower complaint rate and information on demand."


Out goes the paper and in comes digital efficiency

Before the introduction of the digital solution, Schöck's order entry processes in SAP were dominated by paper. Although 80 percent of sales orders reached the company by e-mail, they still ended up in the printer at the time in order to avoid time-consuming manual archiving. The rest of the sales orders came in by electronic faxes, which were printed out automatically. Staff then had to distribute all the printed documents to the sales areas manually. This is because inside sales at Schöck is divided into different sales areas in order to ensure optimum customer loyalty.

Saving mountains of paper / increasing digital efficiency

The entire process created additional work and prevented the direct and transparent processing of customer requests: nine order entry clerks in the back office process around 60,000 documents per year. With all staff accessing one e-mail inbox, it is hardly surprising that duplicate entries occur every so often and that there is no overall view of the processing status of all customer orders.

"Order entry was definitely a sticking point. It was clear to us that paper had to be eliminated and a solution had to be found so that orders could enter the system digitally. We wanted value-added and lean processes. Boring tasks such as paper storage should be completely removed, so that we gain time to focus more on strategic issues that will help us in the long term," says Heike Barbian, summing up the goal of the digital solution for customer orders.

After thorough research, Schöck found the right solution for SAP, explains the division manager: "AFI Order convinced us because, on the one hand, the solution operates directly in SAP which is our preferred working environment. On the other hand, the handling is user-friendly and the clarity is excellent."


Initiating the value chain with OCR

In the first step, Schöck selected optical character recognition (OCR) technology for data capture within the solution. Whereas staff in inside sales previously had to look up customer, material or order numbers as well as delivery data and contact persons manually, OCR now takes care of this. It captures the inbound documents, recognizes data such as the customer address and automatically compares the information with the master data in SAP. As a result, the digitized sales order ends up safely in the virtual box of the responsible area manager.  

Currently, in-house staff has a transparent overview of worklists and the corresponding processing progress and can also display a complete overview of all order entries if required. Original documents such as the customer order can also be accessed directly from SAP, so that customer inquiries can be addressed quickly.

Happy internal sales representative at Schöck Bauteile
Happy internal sales representative at Schöck Bauteile

Schöck's customers continue to place purchase orders in the familiar way and now also benefit from faster information and better data quality, as Heike Barbian emphasizes: "We have saved pallets of paper, which has saved us a lot of time and increased our data quality. Before the changeover, the manual effort required to process quotations and orders naturally led to errors which no longer occur today. As a result, inside sales has managed to reduce an already low complaint rate from 0.7 percent to 0.5 percent."

Smooth project management

Arrangements were also made remotely during project planning and implementation. Since the team was small, this worked perfectly. Heike Barbian also emphasizes employee motivation and satisfaction: "Our people were and are very motivated because they would have preferred to have the solution sooner rather than later. One of our most experienced employees in the area even said that he had never experienced a project that worked as smoothly as the introduction of the digital solutions for order entries. This is comprehensible, as the solution quickly made our work noticeably easier."

From OCR optimization to EDI

Staff now sees all incoming sales orders transparently in the solution Monitor and processes them conveniently in the so-called AFI Order Center. And yet, each process can be continuously optimized further. Although OCR recognition reads out all the relevant data of the incoming sales orders, it often stumbles over the material number transfer, since many customers order without a material number.

3 Ways to Enter Your Sales Orders Digitally in SAP: OCR, EDI, Webshop

In order to make the process even more seamless, inside sales has now asked its top customers to transfer Schöck's material numbers into its own system as well: "For most customers, this went quickly and smoothly, so that in such a case, the order confirmation now comes back seemingly the moment the customer order was sent," adds Heike Barbian.

In the future, Schöck would like to work even more efficiently on a digital basis. The company already uses the completely electronic data interchange EDI for sending invoices. In the meantime, some customers have also been integrated into the new SAP add-on AFI Order via EDI: this is working smoothly and is to be expanded even further.


Schöck Bauteile GmbH

Schöck Bauteile GmbH, a company of the Schöck Group, is a leading provider of reliable solutions in thermal and acoustic insulation. With own products and services, Schöck sets international standards in the various companies in Europe, Russia and North America. The components supplier employs around 1,000 people around the world.

Bye-Bye, Monotonous Capture! Hello, Digital Sales Order!

Would you like to learn what to consider when looking for a solution to digitally process customer orders in SAP? If so, the guide "How to work smoothly with digital sales orders in SAP!" provides you with the optimal knowledge base.

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