“Short process”

Oehler’s World of Purchasing – The column

Faster process, less mess – Using whiteboards as an order list? Definitely a fatal blow to lean processes. Scene of the crime–Hotel: 10 kilograms of salmon, 2 boxes of photocopier paper, vinegar, window cleaner, bin bags, eggs, beef fillet… A whiteboard hangs in the corridor. The kitchen and everyone else writes down order requests centrally here. In the late eveningthe boss then places the orders by fax, by mail and by telephone for each supplier. Always one order at a time. Whatever is on the whiteboard is ordered. The goods arrive. Sometime. And somehow on time. Everything is OK. But what exactly has been ordered? In which quantities? At which quality level?


The whiteboard has now been wiped clean and the next orders are on it. Crime date: 25th April 2018. Many individual manual stages, handwritten notes and orders, no specifications for the products, superficial invoice checking – these remain common features of the hotel and catering industry.


Of course there are establishments that are ahead of the game, which have structured and maybe even digitalised all procurement and invoicing processes. And of course there are establishments bringing up the rear. But then there is still the great expanse in the middle. And it is precisely here that a great deal is still done “by hand”


The solution? Digital transformation! Investigations show that the time and effort is reduced fourfold if manual procurement and invoicing processes are digitalised. There is already a range of web-based and market-proven solutions. Multi-supplier shopping baskets, cross-supplier one-click orders, multi-stage order approval, electronic invoice processing including item-precise accounting and purchase price change notifications.


Current highlight: the automated comparison between delivery note and invoice. Thanks to the digital solutions, the process is made short, the costs optimised, the transparency increased and above all a great deal of valuable working time is released for core tasks. “If you digitalise a rubbish process, then you have a rubbish digital process”, says Torsten Dircks, Ex CEO of Telefonica Germany.


The digital transformation to the “short process” is successful if the decision-makers are open to questioning existing processes with an open mind and prepared to give them up in case of doubt.