Success Story


Request Process for Purchased Parts

Based on the XFT Add-on Suite, TRUMPF GmbH + Co. KG, manufacturer of machine tools, laser technology, medical technology, and electronics, implemented a new process for requesting new purchased parts. This process is standardized throughout the company and fully managed and documented in SAP.


Starting point

At TRUMPF GmbH + Co. KG, all purchased and standard parts are entered in the SAP system. In the past, however, requesting and approving new parts took place outside the SAP system. This meant that new parts were often requested, even though they were already in stock. This mainly affected purchased parts, which, unlike standard parts, could not be fully classified according to DIN (German Institute for Standardization). As a result, increasing numbers of duplicates accumulated in the material masters over time, with many requests proving to be redundant.

The ordering process was inefficient. For each order, long forms that varied from part to part had to be filled out and checked. Even when the part had been approved, the data still had to be entered manually in the SAP system – this alone took a good half hour for each new part.

To simplify and speed up the process for requesting and approving purchased parts, while also improving the quality of the requests and the entered data, the project „New Request Process for Purchased Parts“ was launched in 2009. The aim was to establish a standardized process, fully managed and documented in SAP, with clear responsibilities, and compliant with the quality standards.

  • Name: TRUMPF GmbH + Co. KG
  • Headquarters: Ditzingen, Germany
  • Products: machine tools, laser technology, medical technology, electronics
  • Industry: tool making and mechanical engineering
  • Employees: 8,500
  • Sales: €2.02 billion (2010/11)
  • Integrate all locations
  • Consolidate about 20 different request procedures and forms into one standardized process
  • Tight budget; high pressure to succeed
  • System: integrated with the existing SAP system, SAP ERP ECC 6.0 with enhancement package 5
  • xft components: xft queue manager, xft task manager
  • SAP components: ArchiveLink, SAP ERP Folders Management
  • Extremely short project runtime (summer 2009 – March 2010)
  • Increased efficiency; about 200 hours saved per month
  • Improved data; duplicates reduced by more than 5%

The project

Why XFT?

It was clear from the outset that the issue of data quality could only be resolved with a solution in SAP. Since other XFT solutions for integrated document and process management were already up and running successfully at TRUMPF (including digital personnel file and contract management), the use of components from the XFT Add-on Suite was a natural choice for this project as well.

Project approach

With the financial crisis of 2009 taking hold shortly after the project was given the go-ahead, the budget for the project was very tight. At the same time, the project was under high pressure to justify itself and succeed. Thanks to the flexible, modular approach of the XFT Add-on Suite, many of the existing components and functions could be used for the new request process for purchased parts. To bridge any functional gaps, XFT provided additional logic and structures that the IT team at TRUMPF could then bring to life thanks to their existing experience with the XFT Add-on Suite. This helped create a comprehensive and powerful solution, without running over budget.

The first prototype was available in fall 2009, a good quarter of a year after the project started. The functions were further enhanced and refined based on this prototype, and go-live tests began in January 2010. In March 2010, the global rollout was completed within the space of a few weeks.

The Solution

The solution is based on the two XFT basic components: XFT Task Manager and XFT Queue Manager. XFT Task Manager provides the infrastructure for setting up the request process and the related purchased part file. XFT Queue Manager ensures that the individual steps are processed correctly in the background.

An SAP transaction takes the requester straight to the screen for requesting a purchased part. Using the class structure (valid throughout the company) or the search function, he or she selects a template material that is similar to the required purchased part. This allows requesters to become familiar with searching in SAP and enables them to find similar or identical parts before proceeding any further.

Next, the system displays the form for entering master data, which is also standardized throughout the company. The fields are automatically filled with the values from the template material, so the requester only has to enter information that is different. In the meantime, a background job checks whether the system already contains a part with the same data – if found, it is proposed to the requester. This, along with the efficiency of being able to select a template material, prevents the unnecessary creation of duplicates in the system. The classification of the part is also copied from the template material. If the part is not a standard part – as determined automatically by the system based on its classification – the requester is asked to attach a datasheet to the request. Other documents can also be attached to the request. Finally, the requester has to assign the plant for which the purchased part is being ordered, before sending the request. Confirmation of the request is sent to the requester by e-mail.

Based on the class and plant assignment, the system can identify the technology expert team responsible and automatically send the request to this team by e-mail. A link in the e-mail takes the approver straight to the request, where he or she has direct access to the entered data and the attached documents. Alternatively, the approver can use the SAP workflow inbox, where the request is also sent. The approver can now approve the request, reject it, or send it back to the requester with questions or comments (for example, if more information is required). Both the approver and the requester are informed about the decision by e-mail. If the approver does not respond within 2 working days, the system sends a reminder e-mail to both parties (approver and requester). Once the order for the purchased part has been approved, the corresponding material master is created automatically in the SAP system based on the data already entered.

“I‘ve worked in the SAP environment since 1996, and this was one of my most efficient projects. Achieving such a good solution in such a short period of time would have been impossible without the flexibility and strength of the XFT components. And I‘ve never seen a process be so well accepted by everyone involved. There was nothing but praise from all sides!”
Romain Haeck Quality Manager F&E for SAP/PLM at TRUMPF


High levels of user satisfaction
The new ordering process was well received by all involved. Everyone found the standardized and automated approach to be an improvement on the previous complicated process. The fact that the order can be quickly accessed straight from the e-mails sent by the system promoted acceptance even more, convincing even those employees who are usually reluctant to work in the SAP system.

Improved process efficiency
There was a significant reduction in the effort required to order purchased parts and create materials in the SAP system. Previously, each part had to be entered manually in the system after it was requested, which took about half an hour for each new part. With a monthly average of 350 to 500 parts, this meant time savings of around 200 hours per month. As a result, the standardized ordering process could also be extended to operating supplies (such as office supplies, marketing materials, and so on) without the need for additional personnel capacity.

Enhanced data quality
Although impossible to quantify financially, the improved quality of the material masters in the system is noticeable on a daily basis. The entries are more complete and accurate, while the proportion of duplicates dropped by 5%.

More appreciation
The project‘s success had an unexpected but particularly satisfying side effect for the teams responsible in IT and quality assurance: They are now more widely accepted and recognized as process designers within the company.

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