Ultimus Client: The Koenig & Bauer Group (KBA)
Solution: Inquiry Request Process
The Koenig & Bauer Group (KBA) is one of the largest press manufacturers in the world and has the broadest range of presses in the industry. The origins of the company date back to 1814, when a double version of Koenig's cylinder printing press prints was manufactured for The Times in London, which through this, became the first newspaper in history to be printed on a steam-driven machine. In 2001 the Koenig & Bauer Group acquired Giori, a company that in specialized in developing the highest quality printing machines to produce the most secure banknotes. The new company, KBA-Giori remains focused on the core activity of serving and protecting the global security print market by offering a full range of services. Today, 95% of all banknotes in use throughout the world are printed on presses made by KBA-Giori.
Unfortunately, companies with such a high market penetration and success will sometimes become inefficient over a long period of time, due to a lack of competition. As a result, competitors with more streamlined processes enter the market, produce at a much lower rate and therefore put pressure on the more establish suppliers. Prior to Ultimus, this was a major threat Koenig & Bauer was faced with. KBA's customers are very demanding, and expect the quality of the products to remain at the highest possible level without failure. Reliability in respect of the printing machines and customer service plays an important role, and as a result, the company needed to be trimmed in order to become very responsive so they could satisfy customer demand in as little time as possible.
Quality and reliability of the machines are well covered through KBA's research and development department. However, the business processes within the organization left room for improvement. Besides automating the key processes, the company also wanted to be able to constantly review and improve them so it could continually discover potential for optimization. In addition, the processes needed to be streamlined so that the responsiveness to customers would be improved. As a result, KBA decided to introduce a Business Process Management platform to model, automate, manage and optimize their key processes.
After evaluating the market leaders in the BPM field, KBA chose the Ultimus BPM Suite as their business process platform for a variety of reasons. The product provides the most complete solution for business process management in the market and was ideally suited for the automation of KBA's processes. The Ultimus BPM Suite's various modules support the users in every phase of the business process life cycle; from discovery, modeling and optimization through development, integration and implementation to usage, management and measurement of business processes. The measured data and reports generated allow for even greater process optimization. KBA also needed a solution that would tie its different global operation locations together over the Internet. The Ultimus BPM Suite, a complete web based solution, not only enabled employees to take part in the process over the Internet, but also facilitated the design of processes remotely, while simultaneously meeting KBA's strict security requirements.
The chosen BPM solution also needed to be capable of integrating with KBA's existing IT environment. Accordingly, the
Ultimus BPM Suite provided a number of out of the box interfaces that enabled easy and seamless integration into the existing IT infrastructure. In addition, the advanced integration tools of the Ultimus BPM Suite allowed for the integration to be completed with minimal effort.
Finally, another main reason for deciding on the Ultimus BPM Suite was the easy to use interface for process modeling and development, as well as for end user participation, process measurement and report generation. The software has hundreds of built-in features that allow process design without the need for programming or scripting, thus enabling rapid process development and deployment.
Ultimus carefully selected one of their top partners in Germany to carry out process consultancy and development for KBA. After identifying many possible processes for implementation, the team decided to first automate the “KBA Inquiry”, a spare part request process. Because it was one of the most delicate and most relevant processes to customer satisfaction, both Ultimus and its chosen partner worked on the project from the kick off phase right through the implementation and up to the initial operation.KBA-Giori used to start off an inquiry for parts, assembly or technical analysis to KBA Würzburg by fax and the respective production site would then provide a quotation. This simple process however, had a number of drawbacks. Any communication between the different sites had to go through KBA Würzburg, even if the press had been produced in Mödling. Therefore, routes would become very complicated and bottlenecks were inevitable. Communication through fax was extremely time, and paper, consuming. After the quotation for the spare parts finally reached KBA Giori, they had to ask the transportation company for a quotation for transport, as well as for insurance, and had to add it to the existing quotation. When all of the parts were listed in the quotation, employees at KBA Giori would often have to enter up to 1,000 parts from the fax to their host system by hand and send out the quotation to the customer.
The process discovery took place in KBA Mödling with all members of the process team. During this phase, all required fields were identified, the process flow was laid out and the role of each step was defined. All possible routes were discussed along with the technology used within the process and required for the data exchange with the host system. In the implementation phase, customer and machine parts databases were centrally installed and the process was developed by Ultimus’ partner. After extensive testing, the process was deployed to the appropriate users.
All inquiries are now generated by KBA Giori. Depending on the request, the process decides who will be the recipient of the next step. Besides defining the completion and extension time by choosing the priority of the request, all mandatory fields are clearly identified as needing to be completed before submitting the process to the next step. All important information is then automatically transferred to the host system.
Through introducing groups to most of the steps, the process is made very flexible and can be handled with the minimum of delays. The system also assists the process participants by pre-populating the forms with information on the customers, the machines and the prices for spare parts. In addition, the process is automatically routed to the appropriate person and plausibility checks are carried out on the forms to eliminate human error and help employees accomplish their tasks. Signature controls guarantee the legitimacy of quotations and approvals. The benefits of the automated process are highly visible. Transparency has been improved immensely and all the process participants can track the real time status at any given time.
Quality of the quotes was improved, as human errors have been eliminated and the system now allows for continuous optimization. Above all, cycle times were dramatically reduced from a couple of weeks to hours.. The automatic form completion helps employees to finish their tasks in the minimum amount of time. Transferring the data automatically into the host system not only speeds up the process, but also improves the added value chain, as unproductive work is eliminated. This allowed Koenig & Bauer to become very responsive and extend their competitive advantage.