Optimises order processing for trade customers and international subsidiaries
Achieving more together – this could be the motto for our 25-year cooperation with TMD Friction. Time and again, the brake pad specialist has contributed its ideas for the further development of our solutions, providing valuable industry know-how. The new online portal Entry Supply Web is based on a request from TMD Friction; it enables the optimisation of order-to-invoice processes for TMD subsidiaries. Based on individual requirements, TecAlliance has developed an industry solution so that all spare parts suppliers can access the entire customer base of the Order Manager in an easy and cost-effective manner.
TMD Friction, one of the world’s largest manufacturers of friction materials, is a founding shareholder of TecAlliance. The Certified Data Supplier’s aftermarket brands are listed in the TecDoc catalogue, and TMD Friction has been using the Order Manager B2B platform for order processing for almost twenty years.
Today, TMD Friction automatically processes more than 95 per cent of all orders electronically via the Order Manager platform. From the availability request to the dispatch of tax-compliant electronic invoices, all processes are controlled through full integration in the company’s own SAP system – a transparent, efficient and continuous process.
In addition to the Order and e-Invoicing modules, two other Order Manager modules are currently being launched: the CMD (Collaborative Managed Data) module provides part distributors with targeted and personalised article and price information as well as material master data; the Warranty & Returns module simplifies the processing of claims and returns.
Implementing innovative ideas together
During the many years of cooperation, TMD Friction has always actively contributed to the development and optimisation of our solutions. One example is the development of the Order Manager App, which is based on racing sports requirements. It enables any Order Manager user to fill his shopping cart from any location and transfer it to the Order Manager account for further processing.
Another example of the joint realisation of innovative ideas is the cloud-based Online Portal Entry Supply Web, which we launched in mid-2019. Sarah Schwarz, Global Business Process & Project Manager at TMD Friction, was looking for a way to optimise business relationships with TMD’s international plants. “In recent years, we have had so many positive experiences with Order Manager with our trade customers while continuously optimising our order processing,” explains Sarah Schwarz. “But when we received an order and passed it on to our international supplier network, it was a completely different story. Our partners often do not have the necessary IT infrastructure to create transaction documents such as order or shipment confirmations electronically or to process data records of orders. Here we saw an important opportunity to shorten our time to market and make our processes more efficient,” says Sarah Schwarz.
“In recent years, we have had so many positive experiences with Order Manager with our trade customers while continuously optimising our order processing,”
From individual requirements to industry solution
“We received an order confirmation or delivery notice from the subsidiary factories, but everything ran on Excel sheets. We had to download them, compare and transfer the contents and then upload the lists again,” reports Sarah Schwarz. “That involved a lot of manual work, which of course was prone to errors. We wanted an Online Portal where our partners could enter or upload confirmations and feedback messages so that we could forward them to our customers in an automated process.
With this idea, TMD Friction turned to Bryan Marschall, Product Lead Order Manager at TecAlliance, who expressed great interest. “We had been planning for some time to implement a simple and fast connection to the Order Manager platform via WebEDI for smaller suppliers. When TMD Friction approached us with this idea, it was the right time for us to develop a solution based on their specific requirements,” recalls Bryan Marschall.
In the agile organisational structure of our Order Manager business unit, developers, testers, product managers, consulting and sales departments work hand in hand. Our customers are actively involved in the sprints and planning meetings. “Thanks to our agile work style, our customers can participate directly and intensively in product development. No customer is like any another and each company has its specific requirements. Having said that, we do not want to develop individual solutions, but we always keep the needs of the international automotive aftermarket in mind. During development, we make sure that we offer standard solutions that are suitable for all market participants and add value to the entire sector,” explains Bryan Marschall.
Achieving your goal quickly and successfully
Christian Drexler, Senior Technical Consultant Order Manager, took over the project and led the new product from idea to market. “In the beginning, we took up TMD Friction’s requirements and had them explain to us exactly where the difficulties in the existing process lie. We then compared them with our on-going considerations for developing an EDI-based online solution. And from there it actually took off pretty quickly. Throughout the entire process, from the initial discussions to the roll-out of the finished solution, we kept gathering feedback from TMD Friction, its partners and other customers and incorporating it into the development,” reports Christian Drexler. The integration into TMD Friction’s SAP system was implemented successfully.
“Our experience during this joint development process has been very positive. The coordination was very efficient and the TecAlliance team quickly delivered good results,” says a delighted Sarah Schwarz. “It was important to us to repeatedly and consistently reconcile the interim results with our international partners. When the solution was introduced in June 2019, it was no longer new – they already knew that it totally met their and our requirements”.
TMD Friction is currently using Entry Supply Web with a partner who supplies the plants in Dubai and Moscow and the headquarters in Leverkusen. The experiences in the initial weeks are very promising so that Sarah Schwarz comes to a positive interim conclusion: “We have really increased our efficiency because all manual steps from the receipt of an order to the completed delivery have been eliminated. Emails and Excel spreadsheets are a thing of the past. Everything is faster and automated and all processes are running through our central SAP system. We have more time for our retail customers and can always offer them the best possible service. We are now in the process of scrutinising which other partners will use Entry Supply Web. We see great potential here, especially in countries outside Europe.”
Connecting with new international markets
Smaller and medium-sized parts suppliers can easily use the web-based Entry Supply Web solution to use our international B2B Order Manager platform in a cost-effective manner. They can directly access a customer base of more than 35,000 wholesalers worldwide.
With Entry Supply Web, suppliers can receive and export stock orders from all trade customers connected to the platform. Integration into one’s own IT systems and other implementation efforts are unnecessary. The standardised message formats for data transmission ensure seamless and smooth cooperation. The administration effort and the risk of errors during order entry are greatly reduced. For wholesalers, greater availability of goods and faster deliveries translate into more turnover and satisfied customers.
Are you interested in optimising your order-to-invoice processes with your trade customers or suppliers? Do you want to tap into new markets? Get in touch with us so that we can work together to find the best possible solution for you.