Normfest Poland is part of a German company trading in chemicals and automotive accessories. The whole Normfest Group, in turn, belongs to the Würth Group, a world leader in the distribution of products for the industry. A corporate ERP solution for the whole Würth Group is Microsoft Dynamics AX integrated with the SAP system. To put it simple – Dynamics manages logistics in all group companies, and SAP is used for financial management and controlling. A common corporate template in this area allows reporting the results for the management board in a consistent, scalable system.
To meet the requirements of management reporting for its owner, Normfest Poland decided to change the accounting management model and to implement SAP FI features.
Until then, the company had used the services of an accounting office, which had kept Normfest’s accounting in its proprietary application. It was quite a comfortable solution, because the external accounting and its IT system flexibly adapted to the customer’s requirements, providing reports or data in the required breakdowns and layout.
When the information is too slow
However, over time it became clear that not all reporting needs could be met. Delays in the flow of data on the current status of settlements with customers were also a problem. And those Normfest has many. The customer file has more than 25,000 records, of which over 8,000 are active. Most of them are small garages and automotive shops. The company issues an average of about 3,000 customer invoices per month.
With such a large number of transactions and such a customer profile, the up-to-date information on the current balance for each customer and the ability to prompt customers to pay their arrears is a key. In this area, the previous solution did not meet the requirements.
Customers were informed about the status of their accounts for a specific calendar month, but not about the total backlog. Sales representatives and customer service center employees had limited access to data, information reached with a delay, and in addition, the report reflected the status on a given date, rather than the “here and now”. In this area,the need for a change was clearly visible.
Quick decision, fast implementation
In addition to corporate requirements, the aforementioned conditions were also arguments for the earliest possible implementation of SAP FI.
A desire to work with the new system from the beginning of the next year was a great impetus for action. Therefore Normfest, which made the decision at the end of 2012, was looking for a solution and a provider which would be able to quickly prepare the business blueprint and run the system as early as from January the following year.
“The work schedule was very tight, because the project priority was the start of the financial year 2013 in the new system. That is why we were looking fora partner with experience in quick SAP implementation projects. Hence the selection of 7milowy” – says Marcin Szyszka, Financial Director, Normfest. “We evaluated that SPRINT ERP, the SAP Business All-in-One solution offered by 7milowy, is very well suited to our needs.”
7milowy specializes in SAP system implementations for midsize companies. It offers the SPRINT solution which was developed based on many-year experience and includes a package of core SAP functionalities, a proven deployment methodology, and organizational and IT tools which are helpful in the implementation project. SPRINT ERP is the only certified SAP Business All-in-One solution in Poland.
However, even with such an approach of the provider as well as the solution designed for rapid deployment and limited only to the financial functions covered by the project, the launch of the system just after four weeks is truly a record pace.
According to the expectations of Normfest, the system was launched with the beginning of 2013.
Financials and controlling in SAP
Now, the financials and accounting of Normfest are kept in SAP. The sales invoices and bank statements (supported via a bank interface) and cash payments from customers effected through sales representatives are posted in the system on an ongoing basis. Periodically, each district of the company receives the complete information about the status of settlements with customers serviced in the region.
Withup-to-date access to the current information about the status of settlements with customers the company has achieved its primary goal. Prompting the customers to pay their arrears has become easier and more transparent. The dunningprocedure used in SAP resulted in a change in the approach in the current debt collection methods.
Normfest Poland, as part of a bigger German company, is obliged to report its results in accordance with the requirements of the headquarters. To meet these reporting needs, a functionality is used in SAP to enable the presentation of this data in accordance with the chart of accounts layout used by the group.
In addition tofinancial and accounting functions, Normfest also uses the controlling tools of the system.
The SAP COPA functionality allows analysis of sales results by individual branches and sales representatives, which is used for example for the calculation of bonuses.
Exchange of data with Dynamics AX
The data exchange interface developed by 7milowy ensures integration of financial and accounting functions with Microsoft Dynamics AX. New customers and sales documents are recorded on an ongoing basis in the Dynamics system. This data is transferred to SAP every day.
In the first step, the interfaceverifies the customer base and in case of new customers their data is entered into the SAP FI. Then, sales invoices are posted based on not only all the necessary accounting and VAT information, but also any additional information necessary for controlling analyses (branch, representative).
Outsourcing – chance for development
The implementation of SAP led to the reorganization of accounting services. Before, the company outsourced the accounting services to an accounting office. Now, it employs an accountant.
But outsourcing, as a proven method of purchasing services, continues to be widely used.
The SAP systemis hosted in the Outsourcing Centerof the SNP Group to which 7milowy belongs. In addition, SNP provides system administration. Marcin Szyszka comments on this system maintenance model: „The hosting by SNP is a guarantee of access to a modern and efficient platform which will be scaled to our needs, without having to invest in additional hardware. Moreover, we will not develop and maintain the competence of SAP. The outsourcing of SAP administration is in our case the only reasonable solution”.
As Marcin Szyszka underlines: „Because of the time pressure we focused on the most important matters during the project, putting off the development of improvements or useful but not necessary features. Now that we understand capabilities of the system better, it’s time to polish what we already have and to develop. We plan to implementa so-called virtual client in collaboration with our bank which will enable automation of posting of bank statements and improvement of a customer dunning process.”
These development tasks will be carried out as part of the SNPs application support.