Building a highly automated, user-friendly monitoring and reporting system for complex project invoicing is possible. This was proved by the joint SAP Fiori project by Wärtsilä and Cerion. This new functionality enables transparency on a global level.
There are only a few weeks left before the usability of Wärtsilä’s cash management of deliveries changes. Power BI will be introduced to create reports of the data related to the company’s project invoices and payment terms.
A great deal of background work, where the collection and processing of the necessary data have been automated, is needed for the reports. Cerion built customised Fiori applications on Wärtsilä’s SAP data reserves that make the necessary key performance indicators available as automatically as possible.
Wärtsilä is a global supplier of maritime solutions with complex delivery projects that often involve several different companies and both internal and external invoicing. Typically, these projects also include a payment security for Wärtsilä, such as a bank security or a letter of credit.
“Project invoicing in our environment is probably one of the most challenging entities that can be modelled for Fiori applications. There are so many different kinds of variables,” says process development manager Joni Pennanen from Wärtsilä.
Customised to the customer’s needs
Preparations for transitioning to the new management tool of project payments were started two years ago in Wärtsilä. The reference model used was the former used legacy Pro Cash tool. It facilitated getting necessary information of project invoicing, but it also required a great deal of manual work.
“The traditional SAP is very clumsy when it comes to project management. If you need to know the project’s payment terms or what has been invoiced already and what has not, finding this information take a long time. Additionally, this information needs to be transferred to Excel and then edited there” says General Manager Marika Puutio, who oversees Wärtsilä’s trade finance and cash management operations of the Marine line.
“In this renewal, the starting point was to get similar information but as automatically as possible.”
When Cerion joined in, the Wärtsilä team had already defined quite clearly what they wanted from the new solutions.
“The default SAP solutions were quite far from what the customer needed. SAP is more focused on cost monitoring and even has default applications for this. Our solutions complement the existing SAP. It is kind of like patching up holes in a cheese,” says specialist Stefan Olli who was in charge of the project at Cerion’s end.
More efficient and user-friendlier
As a result of Cerion’s development work, Wärtsilä’s enterprise resource planning system was completed with Fiori Project Cash Management, Fiori Cash Management Task List and Fiori Payment Estimate apps. The first app collects data of the different payment times and terms as well as the opening days of letters of credit and securities. Fiori Payment Estimate app enables a more specific, monthly estimate of the incoming cash flow.
“We also receive personal task lists. I can filter the list with my own name and see for which projects a letter of credit needs to be opened during the month and I can contact the customer,” Puutio demonstrates.
When asked about the project’s progress, Puutio and Pennanen state that the complexity of the entity to be modelled posed a challenge.
However, according to Puutio, even the difficult challenges related to functionality were solved before the final commissioning, which will take place soon.
“Cerion have quickly understood our ideas. We have also quickly received their proposal on how the implementation could proceed,” Pennanen praises.
The new applications will be run in parallel with the old one for a few more months, according to the plan. Before leaving the old system completely behind, it needs to be ensured that the data modelling for the Power BI reports is also completed.
“We were looking for automation and efficiency, as well as the ability to get more out of all the data we accumulate. And we also got all this,” Puutio summarises.
“The added value for our business comes from this new functionality that enables process transparency on a global level. Our expectation is that the automation and user-friendliness of these applications will facilitate their introduction in most of our locations,” she says.