From 70 employees to over 750, from one location to a total of nine: The speed of growth of the automotive service provider ASAP over the last five years is breathtaking. To stay on course with such rapid development requires "the basics of the company have to absolutely work", emphasizes CEO Michael Neisen. Two of the basics used for cost control -the invoice approval process and the ordering process - are now controlled by the JobRouter® digital process automation platform.
Searching for the right solution for creating a management "cockpit"
The management duo of Michael Neisen and Gürsel Sen had searched extensively for a solution for their management “cockpit”. CFO Gürsel Sen, who is responsible for the finances, was focused on creating a paperless office, while Neisen wished for a multi-functional tool with the qualities of a perfect assistant. Or, maybe a better analogy and one more fitting to the automotive sector would be an “all-knowing driver assistance system” or cockpit for the manager.
No matter at which site Neisen is located, the ideal solution should show him all necessary information with just a few clicks. At the same time he wanted to centrally manage and track things like appointments, tasks he delegated via a dashboard, and deal with the day-to-day business. But, until now, Neisen was disappointed. Many times. Finally the right solution was found. A model typical for the automotive sector has won. A self-developed application with purchased external components - including JobRouter® - form the whole picture.
- ensures an investment and order size dependent approval hierarchy
- provides an overview and control over budgets and costs by cost center, even for decentralized purchasing
- reduces throughput times and administrative effort
- allows utilization of early payment discounts due to automatic order/invoice matching
- displays order history on the screen with one click
- reduces the need for paper
- simplifies inventory and inventory-taking lists
- facilitates future budget planning
- ASAP Holding
- Automotive supply industry
- 750 employees spread over 9 locations
- 35 orders / day
- Microsoft SQL
- Ongoing processes
- E-invoice, task distribution process, ordering process
- Planned processes
- Vacation process, master data, employee entry & termination/ exit ///////// Characteristics: Connection to the project controlling, intranet, DATEV Project duration: Electronic invoice approval 5 months, ordering process 3 months
Bird's eye view of the automotive future
The dimensions and details of the picture become clearer when seen from a bird's eye view. Headquarters of ASAP Holding and the subsidiaries ASAP Electronics and ASAP Engineering are located in the city of Gaimersheim, Germany while nine additional engineering sites and plants are located in other cities across Germany.
The ASAP Engineering business segment is focused on development services aimed at the automotive future: lightweight car bodies, E-mobility, chassis control systems, electrics and electronics. The ASAP Technical Service business segment offers technical services in the areas of production and assembly. The company’s General Services provides manufacturers and system suppliers with support in cross-departmental functions, for example in project and quality management. The independent test center measures and validates a multitude of electronic and mechatronic components and systems.
Fine-tuning the approval process
For the engine of a business to run smoothly, "the operative business can’t be burdened unnecessarily by administrative processes," says Neisen, who has a degree in automotive engineering. His to-do list is informed by his close contact with the managers and heads of all sectors.
When the invoice approval process was being implemented with JobRouter® in 2014, the largest challenge were the interfaces to the project controlling the individual locations and DATEV, according to Neisen. Every location has its own accounts receivable and payable process and a defined approval path. Above a specific limit, invoices and orders have to be approved by the CFO or CEO, as well. The data flows to the central accounting department of the holding company, which in turn executes further processes. Once the invoice approval process was running smoothly with JobRouter®, the ordering process was implemented. As a new functionality, apart from the standardized process flow, central entry is also now possible.
The ordering process starts rolling
In general, an ordering process is a simple matter. One knows what is needed, looks for the right thing, compares offers, decides and orders. If the order value is above a certain budget, the supervisor has to sign off. Or the supervisor of the supervisor. The holding company's management decides on investments such as; infrastructure projects, extensive furniture procurements, test facilities, CAD equipment, IT goods and vehicles. According to Neisen, not only are checked boxes important for the approval process, but the speed of execution of central tasks, traceability and stringent implementation are also very important.
What the ASAP team is going to appreciate even more towards the end of the current business year: The electronic ordering process using JobRouter® is not only faster and better to control than a conventional paper-based one. It also helps the organization to stay on budget and provides reliable intelligence for future budgeting.
Order in cockpit
If the gears crunch, the error can most often be found in the engineering or the mechanical part. But if it crunches in administration, the error is often the fault of the driver, the human. Neisen has a pragmatic view. "If I implement processes electronically, potential sources of errors during the forwarding of paper documents are eliminated." Like a board computer in the car, the reminder functionality of JobRouter® displays important parameters. The digital process automation platform receives and provides data and documents and ensures that all connected systems have what they need.
Growth on track
Michael Neisen has more ideas to keep the growth of ASAP Holding on track. The automatic onboarding and separation process for employees is just one of them. The aim is to integrate the individual components of the system environment in one seamless entity. This applies to the job application management, for which a custom program was written, as well as for the project controlling software that banished the old Excel spreadsheets. The intranet had to be integrated, as well as the DATEV connection and the CAD system. The first steps toward harmonizing the components have been made. Now it is time to set our eyes on the next obstacles.
Short profile ASAP Holding
ASAP Holding is a service and development partner to the largest German car manufacturers. The automotive service provider with business offerings in Engineering, General Service and Technical Service delivers services for all stages of the automotive life cycle and also operates an independent test center for electric and electronic car components and systems. The holding company was founded in 2010 by Michael Neisen (CEO) and Gürsel Sen (CFO). The foundation for the ASAP group was previously laid by Sen in September 2007 with the founding of ASAP Engineering. Headquarters of the holding company is located in Gaimersheim near Ingolstadt. More than 750 employees work at nine locations. In 2014, ASAP Holding was recognized as a "Finalist for the Grand Prize for Small and Medium-sized Businesses".