An attractive business culture, advanced market insight and operational excellence, typical Sibelco. As ‘Global Material Solution Company’ pursues the company, almost 150 years, value creation and perfection, with attention for human capital. This pursue is present on every level, also in business processes. If there is an opportunity to innovate or to optimize, Sibelco will grab it. This needs to happen for example for the purchase order flow. The approval of purchase orders must be more convenient. Something for Spikes.
Sibelco exploits natural resources since 1872 and is of an influential contribution in the fabrication of most varied products. You can find quartz sand of the multinational in cars, silicon, glass, solar panels and more. Not only quartz sand but a diversity of minerals is processed in one of their 200 production plants scattered over more than 40 countries worldwide. From Europe came the question for an easier way to handle purchase orders, over different devices. It was the mission of the business to have orders faster and cheaper approved. Spikes provided the strategy and solution.
Business inside of Europe specifically asked for an easier and cheaper way to approve purchase orders. “Via our ERP-system it didn’t went swiftly, and the cost per ERP license was high”, tell Wim Van Baelen, Communication & collaboration manager at Sibelco. There had been wished for a solution. The demands were clear, a user friendlier and more transparent system to work with. Sibelco did some market research and contacted companies that had experience with such integrations, this is when spikes came in the picture. We weren’t an unknown IT-partner for Sibelco. In the past, did we design a user-friendly communication and collaboration platform for more than 6.000 users, for them. This was a Microsoft Office 365 and Azure based platform (Intranet o.b.o. SharePoint and K2) supplemented by a Tasks-in-a-Box, a specialised solution that makes central task management possible on the web and mobile. This partnership ended fruitfully; it was the base of a further collaboration. Because Spikes had the know-how and tooling already inhouse, did we get the chance to be the lead for the European purchase order project.
From PoC to roll out
Time for action: the stepwise integration of the ERP-system with the ‘ourSibelco’ intranet. The lead time of 2 years started with a Proof of Concept (PoC), to proof that the plan could be generated to result. In the first phase was data from new suppliers integrated in SharePoint and K2, a necessary step. The testing of the connection and stability of the interface, introduction of M3 ERP and SharePoint and K2 platform… the users and business did 100% their bit. This interaction was needed for the POC to be successfully finished and had a better estimation of the budget.
Spikes later suggested a functional and technological analysis and devised a rule set to approve purchase orders. The rules took the size of the order in consideration. The higher the amount, the higher the order arrives to the authority inside the company. A technical ingenious solution, that works for the hundreds of end users inside Sibelco in Europe. After the beginning of 2017 when the infrastructure was created, could one start running tests. Spikes build 4 environments: one for development, one test environment, one for QA (for questions and trainings) and the final production environment.
A successful implementation, that’s what you get when you let your key users practice enough and introduce to the new workflow. Due to internal classroom trainings of key users, that could help other users on their turn, made the teams easily ready for the go-live. In the South region (Portugal, Spain and Italy) was it around September, for the Nordics in November, from the begin of 2018 followed the UK en the rest of Europe.
A praised result
The feedback of the countries and users are specifically positive! Thanks to the diligent project team and structured approach. “It wasn’t a simple route”, concludes Wim, “and despite of the technical challenge, is it a wonderful end result. We praise the project team that finished the project spectacularly. Van Steerco, decisions about bugs, approval and change requests… Spikes had everything clearly under control.” The work of the purchasing service at Sibelco considerably more simplified. The users approve purchase orders independent on which device, via mail, intranet or the app. User friendliness and transparency are the assets. Last but not least: the number of licences of the ERP-system are decreased, together with the costs. Mission accomplished.