KHS is a purchase association for sanitary, heating and air-conditioning technology from various affiliates or crafts businesses. The aim is to get the best conditions for each affiliate by bundling the purchase volumes. As part of the the order processing and the subsequent invoicing processes, KHS relies on the JobRouter® digitization platform.
Goodbye paper flood
Approximately 35,000 analog outgoing invoices and 250 filled Leitz folders per year - that was the outcome in 2017 for Dirk Briesemeister, general manager of KHS, and his team. KHS is a purchase association for sanitary, heating and air-conditioning equipment of 46 affiliates or crafts businesses, which are spread nationwide and combine different corporate structures, creating a complex structure with also complex order processing and invoicing process structures, executed exclusively in an analog way until 2017. The time for changes had come – as many members of the association agreed.
You can imagine the work processes at KHS as follows: If one of the affiliates needs a certain amount of material, such as washbasins and radiators, it turns to KHS. The purchase association compares offers and sends them to the affiliate. If the affiliate accepts the offer, KHS informs the supplier and hands over the order confirmation to the affiliate. Within this process there are several storage steps to record the process. When the material is delivered a similar invoice processing procedure is executed: The supplier sends his invoice to KHS, the employees of KHS check the document and forward it to the affiliate. The invoice is booked in an external financial accounting system. After the settlement of the invoice, the association will pay the supplier.
- KHS Haustechnik Großhandels-GmbH
- Sanitary, heating and air-conditioning technology
- 3,310 employees nationally
- More than 40,000 instances / year
- Ongoing processes
- Order processing, invoice control, editing of incoming and outgoing invoices, central archive
- Planned processes
- credit notes and credit memo requests, connection of invoice processes to the crafts business software of the affiliates, connection of the online-shop
Advantages of JobRouter®
- Transparency with regards to the current processing status
- Secure archiving and fast access to documents
- Acceleration of workflows
- Minimization of sources of error
- Reduced workload for the staff and thereby increase of employee satisfaction
- Professionalization of the company
- Cost-saving by paper document reduction
Analog processes impede transparency
The challenge: Al storage steps were analog. This means: Before the change, requests and offers were filed by the KHS employees in Leitz folders. The placement of the order was performed by handwritten faxes. The situation was not much different for the accounting processes either: The invoices arrived by post and were sent to the affiliates in the same way. Due to this time-intensive, analog approach, the process was not transparent for the affiliates.
Briesemeister remembers: “One partner described it to me most comprehensibly as follows: “If I order something from KHS, it is like throwing something in a dark hole without knowing, when something will come out of it again. This means, for example, that I do not know neither if the order arrived nor when I will get the delivery.”
That is why a digital system was needed, that depicts all instances to all persons involved transparently and traceably. Another requirement for the system was to depict the processes, which go hand in hand with a corporate structure that has grown over 25 years, adequately.
The selection process – three suppliers, one decision
Everything started in the beginning of 2018. Together with his purchase manager and authorized signatory Dirk Kohrs, Dirk Briesemeister collected offers and compared systems. In the summer of 2018 the team put wood behind the arrow:
“In the end, three providers were still on the shortlist, and the ultimate winner was JobRouter®”.
Of all the systems inspected, the JobRouter® digitization platform met our requirements best. That was when we could finally get started on working future-orientedly. The fact that we can't go two ways and make the digital step 100 percent was a high priority when selecting the system.” Briesemeiter explains. For this reason, KHS has first of all raised the awareness of all shareholders to digital contact. From then on, requests and orders, arriving via fax or mail, were solely processed via JobRouter®.
In a further step, as of January 2019, the aim was to process the invoices of the suppliers solely digitally. One difficulty was the financial accounting system used, as initially no interface could be established. After an intensive processing phase, however, it was integrated together with the IT service provider bk systems, so that since the summer of 2019, incoming and outgoing invoices have also been digitally processed in JobRouter®. The view of the current working status and the central archive provide transparency for all persons involved.
But standstill is no option for KHS - so we are already looking for further instances to digitize. Our plan is to connect our online-shop to JobRouter® and provide invoices for the crafts business software of affiliates. Additionally, the processing of invoice credit notes in JobRouter® should be a further milestone.
As a tip for companies facing similar challenges, Briesemeister gives the following advice: “When deciding on a suitable system, not the most cost-effective but the most sustainable solution should be chosen. A system must be able to grow together with the company.” And JobRouter® meets exactly this requirement.
Standstill is not an option
Meanwhile, more than 85% of the invoices arrive by e-mail – with increasing tendency. The forwarding of invoices is also performed by e-mail to almost half of the connection houses. “These are the results of the introduction of JobRouter®”, Briesemeister states. Additionally, 20 up to 25 percent of costs and time can be saved. “We also notice that employee satisfaction is growing. Thanks to digital processes, our employees have a better overview and can now work more efficiently. Paper floods are part of the past now. All this ultimately provides us with sales increases.”
Short profile KHS Haustechnik Großhandels-GmbH
KHS Haustechnik Großhandels-GmbH is a purchasing association for sanitary, heating and air-conditioning technology founded in 1975 with its headquarter in Schneverdingen. Currently the association consists of 46 affiliates with 3,310 employees worldwide. Each affiliate is also a shareholder and becomes a co-owner through the acquisition of one share. By bundling the purchasing volumes of the KHS shareholders, the best conditions can be achieved for each of them. The activities include, among other things, conclusion of framework agreements with suppliers to achieve discounts, bonuses and del credere agreements, as well as providing an intranet platform for simplified purchasing with current prices, a simple ordering system, and the storage of information on all suppliers.