"COSMO CONSULT has a wide product range, extensive expertise in all relevant disciplines and the corresponding number of staff. This was important for us, because we wanted to avoid further project delays at all costs".
Stefan Beyerlein, operational management / wheel technology at DBV Würzburg GmbH
The economic miracle of the post-war period was blackened with soot. Coal was blazing in kitchen stoves and tiled stoves in most houses and apartments. In Würzburg and the surrounding area, DBV Würzburg GmbH, founded in 1953, ensured that the fuel did not run out. As the number of coal stoves steadily declined later, the company switched to the heating oil business in the 1970s. Lubricating oils, wheels and tyres were added in the following period.
It has long been impossible to buy heating oil from DBV. Today, the company is part of the Alcar Group - a trading group specialising in steel and light alloy wheels - and is an established player in B2B trading with tyres, rims, lubricants and self-assembled complete wheels. It sells to workshops and dealers throughout Europe, mainly in German-speaking countries.
What sets the company apart from the competition is its wide range of products tailored to the automotive trade - the tyre selection alone comprises 30,000 different items. DBV develops aluminium wheels itself and has them produced worldwide. The company's own lubricant filling facility in Würzburg supplies customers from a wide range of different container sizes.
Special attention is paid to the web shop, which was developed in-house and is the central sales platform. "We invest a lot of money in IT in order to convince our customers with a positive shopping experience. A good example is the multi-stage configurator, which allows customers to put together suitable tires and rims based on the vehicle's key number. Impossible combinations are excluded from the outset. Similar configurators are also available for lubricants, batteries, car parts and tyre pressure monitoring systems, all free of charge for registered customers. All these measures guarantee short delivery times and stand for uncompromising customer orientation," explains Andreas Sperber, IT manager at DBV.
The company's IT team knows how to use web technologies for business. The self-developed webshop platform is technically state-of-the-art and is even used as an integration platform to control business processes. With regard to the ERP system, the company worked for a long time with a version of Microsoft Dynamics NAV that had become obsolete in the meantime and was bursting at the seams in view of the rapidly increasing data volumes. "We always had to compress data to make space. This led to limitations: Our employees could retrieve figures, but not the details. As a result, they spent a lot of time researching old archives. Nevertheless, we processed over 100,000 orders a year," explains Sperber. Even with the increasing market requirements, the old software could no longer keep pace: Because interfaces were missing and the logistics could not be digitally controlled, real-time data had to be dispensed with. As a result, customers could not be presented with current product availability in the web shop.
Good reasons to migrate to the latest version of Microsoft Dynamics NAV. Together with the software partner at the time, the ERP project was set up, the company-specific requirements were implemented and the functions were checked in a test environment before the start. When the switch was flipped on day X, the company was caught off guard: the new system still had many bugs, so in the first few days the company was severely restricted in areas such as delivery or billing. "That's when the blow hit us first. We weren't prepared for this at all", remembers Stefan Beyerlein, operative management / wheel technology at DBV. The problem areas spread throughout the entire company: In wheel assembly, the delivered tyres could not be brought to the production orders in the correct sequence, in article management, the cost prices could not be regulated and the necessary target cost postings - with which delivered but not yet invoiced goods were delimited in accounting terms - were completely missing. The idea and configuration of classifying articles from direct deliveries as resources proved to be a misjudgement. "Resources are not taken into account in the Intrastat declaration, which is why we produced wrong values here", explains Sven Baumann, commercial manager at DBV. The European authorities use the Intrastat declarations to record the movement of goods within the EU. Within four days, the company's own IT team succeeded in getting the system up and running, at least rudimentarily, with workarounds. After 14 days, the system had reached approximately the old level. However, there was little support from the partner at the time. Because there was apparently a lack of capacity, improvements took months - until the DBV pulled the rip cord. In the end, many tasks remained open and the efficiency of the new system could not be exploited.
In order to check processes, requirements and necessary measures exactly and to prioritize them, the COSMO CONSULT Group entered the project with an ERP audit. Experts analyzed the project status, identified the tasks still to be done and presented a concrete roadmap for the implementation. "The whole thing appeared structured and professional. We suddenly saw light at the end of the tunnel and were able to quickly gain confidence", remembers Beyerlein. Above all, DBV's technical expertise and strategic approach of accompanying complete business processes with end-to-end solutions was well received by the company. "COSMO CONSULT has a broad product range, extensive expertise in all relevant disciplines and the corresponding number of staff. This was important for us, because we wanted to avoid further project delays at all costs", he explains the immediate award of contract. Together with the software and consulting company, the company succeeded in working through almost 40 critical - in some cases very comprehensive - points in just a few weeks, thus improving the processes at the decisive points. The project and support team also found an efficient and economical way to solve the resource/article problem during ongoing operations in such a way that Intrastat declarations can now be sent directly without any tedious post-processing.
Today, DBV benefits from the seamless interaction between the web shop and the ERP system: When new tires are ordered, the web shop first initiates an order with the supplier and then transmits the data to Microsoft Dynamics NAV via web service. There a purchase order with sales order is then created. When the tires are shipped, the supplier then transmits the package number. The order is then marked as delivered in the web shop, the parcel number is stored in the customer account for tracking purposes and the invoice is generated in the company software - all without manual entries. For complete wheels, the parcel numbers of the tire order are stored, so that a simple scan is all that is needed at goods receipt to assign the goods to the assembly order. The next steps are then picking, mounting and shipping. "It is crucial that our employees are informed as early as possible. They know which fitting orders are coming up when and plan them well in advance. In this way we react quickly and deliver in 1-2 days", Sperber emphasizes.
The close cooperation between ERP and web shop also benefits the company in other areas: Incoming invoices are immediately digitalized and assigned to the respective creditor. This is followed by a workflow that compares the invoice data with the recorded orders from the web shop. If the corresponding goods have already arrived and prices and quantities match, another workflow instructs the company software to post the invoice. "In the past, our employees often sat until late in the evening during the peak season to process the high volume of invoices. Thanks to automation, we are now able to check up to 100,000 individual items per month and be available to our customers by telephone. This was previously only possible to a very limited extent. Our employees are thus noticeably relieved," emphasises Beyerlein. Digital processes also ensure transparency and reliable decisions in purchasing. Here, production partners notify the dispatched quantities via a web tool. In the logistics and assembly departments, delivery dates are informed at an early stage and, when goods arrive, the delivered quantities can be compared with the notified quantities using a scanner. With cc|crefodynamics and cc|workflow DBV also uses two additional modules of COSMO CONSULT. While cc|crefodynamics provides up-to-date information on the payment behaviour of new customers, cc|workflow can be used to trigger automatic processes, functions and tasks in case of certain events - for example field changes.
DBV uses the business intelligence software QlikView for reporting. The focus is on sales analyses. "We want to know how the sales figures of a changed rim design develop, what average margin we achieve, what the contribution margin of individual orders is, or which factors are responsible for declining sales," explains Sperber. With a view to group reporting, it is also important that QlikView can be used to merge different data sources and to implement changes easily.
With the migration to the current version of Microsoft Dynamics NAV and the close system integration, DBV has created a solid basis for further process optimization. "Now we have a flexible system that allows us to quickly set up interfaces and further improve workflows. With COSMO CONSULT we have also found the right partner for this", Sperber is pleased.