Ultimus Client: Bernstein AG
Solution: Customer Product Request
Bernstein AG, established in 1947, builds and sells components and systems for industrial automation peripherals used in elevators and escalators, doors and gates. Dependable innovations from the company's main portfolio of switches, sensors and enclosures guarantee safety for operators, machines and processes. The company employs over 500 people and provides a widespread spectrum of safe solutions to its customers around the world.
Many companies try to distinguish themselves from their competition through quality and price. Though in order to remain competitive, companies must do more, aside from just providing high quality products at a cheaper rate.
Within a real-time enterprise, order placement and shipment occur nearly simultaneously. Bernstein observed that when an order is placed, the shorter the shipping time, the higher the probability of closing a deal. However for Bernstein, many of their processes had unnecessary time lags. Reducing delays in these critical business in order to conduct them ideally with zero latency, was essential for the health of the company.
Bernstein soon discovered there was additional room for improvement. They realized that not only time and money could be saved, but also the strategic competitive position could be improved, which could essentially deliver excellent customer service at minimum time.
Bernstein chose Ultimus to help them accelerate their responsiveness with customers because of its unique patented technology, making it possible to implement complex processes without the need of programming. Unlike many organizations, Bernstein focused first on its external, customer facing processes, due to the pain it was causing within the firm. With several goals in mind, they aimed to achieve transparency and control of their operations, reduction of throughput time and costs of modeled business processes and integration into existing and future systems and technologies.
One of the most important technical requirements was the universal integration of the BPM Suite into the existing IT infrastructure of the company. The landscape consists of IBM iSeries (AS/400) with a PPS system, a Windows environment with Active Directory, Microsoft Exchange, Citrix XP server farm and an extensive 34 MBit radio link system with VPN.
The interaction of the new solution with the software currently in place, such as the IBM DB2- 400 database and sales and archive solutions, was a major point of interest. More importantly, the wide variety of customer, article and manufacturing master data from the PPS system on the iSeries, had to be automatically integrated into the process - directly and redundancy free.
The numerous integration possibilities of the Ultimus BPM Suite, allowed for seamless integration into an existing, heterogeneous IT landscape.
The first process immediately implemented with the Ultimus BPM Suite, was the Customer Product Request. Bernstein mainly manufactures customer specific solutions, which are based on existing products, however they need to be customized. The purpose of the process is to check, whether the customization is feasible and which costs and delivery times are to be expected. A sales person who enters the customer request into the system, typically initiates the business process. While entering the data, plausibility checks are carried out so that errors and queries can be avoided from the beginning. This Ultimus form can either be filled out by an office employee or by the field staff over a VPN connection.
After the request has been automatically entered into the database, the priority has to be defined. Time critical enquiries are handled with a higher priority and inform the customer about the feasibility of their request on schedule. In the next step, various persons in charge are asked to give a statement in order to evaluate whether or not the project can be accomplished in their department. The results are forwarded to quality assurance and production, which then can sign off on the project. The sales agent receives the form with all relevant information automatically and now only needs approval from the customer. Once this has taken place, production automatically receives a notification and the data is transferred into the production process. Every step has deadlines according to the desired date of the customer, initiating escalation procedures once a deadline is exceeded. Through this, customer requests can be handled in the most efficient way. The in-the-box Flobots for Microsoft Word and e-mail, that create letters, faxes and e-mails automatically from the process data, permanently keep the customer up to date on the status. The benefits for Bernstein's employees as well as for its customers are immense.
Bernstein’s aspired goals were achieved in no time. Employees started to think in complete process chains instead of in single tasks. After prospective cautiousness, employees have accepted the BPM system as a real aid and they participate actively in optimizing processes on a daily basis. Additionally, quality was improved through the introduction of the BPM system, as higher transparency resulted in an improvement in accurate work. Improvements couldn't only be achieved in processes in the area of product changes and production. Also, within the customer and sales processes quicker throughput time could be attained.
Standardization of business processes with the award winning business process management technology from Ultimus generated many beneficial facets. The Ultimus BPM Suite provides all of the applications that were needed to manage business processes throughout the complete lifecycle. Deploying the Ultimus BPM Suite and systematically utilizing the comprised applications made Bernstein a Real Time Enterprise.