Automated Procurement at the Austrian Federal Railways

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The Austrian Federal Railways (ÖBB) is Austria's largest transport service. Recently, the ÖBB purchase department set a milestone. The group implemented a large-scale project and automated all steps of its procurement process. 39,500 employees now have access to an electronic platform, regardless of whether they are office or mobile workers. One of the most important steps was the go-live of the system-based order function for workwear and protective clothing.

jCatalog, a part of OpusCapita, was selected to realize this project for the ÖBB. Anton Bruckner, ÖBB, Category Manager IT, ÖBB-Holding AG, describes the result as follows: "We feel very well supported in our efforts to reduce bureaucracy and to improve the usability for employees. jCatalog has provided us with a well-suited platform to implement this ambitious project."

Situation in the Procurement Department

Within the ÖBB the procurement department coordinates and controls all procurement processes and purchasing activities. The following facts and figures illustrate the scope of this task: The supplier management includes about 10,000 suppliers and 2,500 contracts. The employees are provided with 650,000 different order items in more than 750 product groups.

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The Solution

With the new platform, the procurement of the equipment for all employees has been simplified and accelerated, for example, by automating and standardizing the multistage approval steps. The biggest challenge was the presentation and ordering of complex product groups, especially uniforms and protective clothing, which are available in 30 categories, and also in different sizes and colors.

The changeover from paper-based to system-based handling was communicated to every employee in a vivid way. Short videos explaining how the operation works were shown in all areas that are frequented by the employees. This effort has paid off, as the system-based order volume shows that the workforce have welcomed the platform very quickly.

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The Realization

jCatalog has implemented its web-based Online Product Catalog (OPC), the central portal for products and services. All contract-compliant orders are subject to a consistent process. In addition to the approval process, the signature process has been standardized. The dynamic search, filter and sorting options and the menu display support the intuitive handling. ÖBB employees can order their uniforms conveniently and also on mobile devices at any time. For this purpose, permissions are stored in the system so that uniforms and protective clothing can only be ordered in conformity with the work and the quota of the employee, removing the authorization requirement. OPC supports the selection by targeted search results and indicates differences to previous orders, so that, for example, an incorrect size selection can be corrected immediately.

The orders are automatically signed on a signature platform and transmitted directly to the supplier. After receiving the order, the employee confirms the goods receipt with just one click. After this the transmission and the goods receipt are done automatically in the SAP system. There are also stock-held items that need to be available frequently and quickly. For these products, the billing takes place internally.

Even purchasing employees are supported. The large number of relevant documents includes, in addition to contracts and catalogs, delivery confirmations, invoices and credit notes. The electronic availability of these documents reduces the administrative work, and automated analyses mean purchasing volumes can be bundled and the contractual compliance of suppliers can be controlled with less effort.

The Result

The simplified procurement in complex and richly varied product groups has significantly reduced process costs. Employees can procure all uniforms and work equipment with considerably reduced costs and quicker delivery time. Synergies and the pooling potential of suppliers and orders, identified by obtained data, optimize internal business processes.


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