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First Class Relationship Management Highly Commended: thyssenkrupp AG

Photo of Marcus Kiene, Serrala, Ridoune El Azizi and Arkadius Stroda, thyssenkrupp AG

A first class relationship between thyssenkrupp and its technology vendor helped it revolutionise its disparate and complex IT infrastructure and build a best in class IT infrastructure.

Photo of Marcus Kiene, Serrala, Ridoune El Azizi and Arkadius Stroda, thyssenkrupp AG.

Peter Kellner

Group Processes and Information Technology

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Duisburg and Essen, Germany

thyssenkrupp AG is a German multinational conglomerate and one of the world’s largest steel producers. Based in Duisburg and Essen, Germany, the business is divided into almost 500 subsidiaries worldwide.

in partnership with

First-rate vendor relationship revolutionalises thyssenkrupp’s technology infrastrucutre

The challenge

Diversified industrials major thyssenkrupp was blighted by a disparate and highly complex IT architecture comprised of over 100 SAP ERP systems and over 150 non-SAP ERP systems. To make matters worse, these different ERPs had their own interfaces with over 2,000 bank accounts around the world.

Complexity, lack of standardisation, lack of connectivity and lack of automation created many problems. This included a lack of visibility over the company’s cash positions, the need to conduct many processes manually and an extremely lengthy and painful process whenever they needed to change anything.

A group-wide project – codenamed daproh – was launched in 2015. Focusing on data and process harmonisation, it provided the catalyst for treasury to begin to solve these issues and build a global payments platform.

With the company looking to move to a single instance of SAP, the treasury team had to devise a way of creating a central platform that would enable it to standardise, warehouse and utilise all the data on the disparate ERP systems. Spotting an opportunity, Peter Kellner, Group Processes and Information Technology, also wanted to move away from ad hoc host-to-host (H2H) connectivity with the banks, instead of using EBICS or SWIFT to communicate with the Group’s banks from the central ERP.

The solution

To achieve its objectives, thyssenkrupp has adopted a host of Serrala’s modules. One of the key components was the payments solution which gives thyssenkrupp the ability to seamlessly connect its disparate ERP systems to the new central ERP whilst these are phased out.

To do this, the solution takes the data from the old ERP systems and converts it into a standardised format that is compatible with the latest version of SAP S/4HANA the company is using. In the next step it converts the data in the global CGI format (ISO 20022) that will now be the standard for the interfaces from the central ERP to all banks. This has enabled thyssenkrupp to optimise existing processes without having to wait for the full company-wide migration to be completed, and the bank interfaces could be optimised by using the global CGI standard.

“Winning an Adam Smith Award is an external confirmation and distinction for this small team and shows them that they achieved excellent work that can now become a model for other global companies.”

Peter Kellner, Group Processes and Information Technology, thyssenkrupp AG

Whilst the payment management solution has allowed thyssenkrupp to knit together its technology infrastructure internally and for outgoing bank interfaces, the use of the Account Statement Manager, AutoBank and eBAM solutions has driven standardisation and efficiency in how it works with its banking partners. Today, all bank statements sit centrally in the ERP and are processed and reconciled automatically, based on different rules set up by thyssenkrupp. Finally, they also now have central administration of bank accounts, including signature authorisations for all group companies.

Best practice and innovation

Thyssenkrupp AG embarked on a comprehensive project to centralise finance processes to achieve increased efficiency, standardised processes and better central visibility. With the company looking to move to a single instance of SAP, the treasury team had to devise a way of creating a central platform that would enable it to standardise, warehouse and utilise all the data on the disparate ERP systems. On this basic installation thyssenkrupp has now started the implementation of additional central treasury management processes.

“We were once again very impressed with how smooth this process was – it took place without any major issues,” says Peter Kellner, Group Processes and Information Technology, thyssenkrupp AG. “Indeed, throughout our partnership with Serrala, we have been very impressed with its ability to meet our wishes quickly and efficiently, even when we have bespoke in-country requirements in markets like Brazil, for instance.”

Key benefits

  • Standardised processes.

  • Increased efficiency.

  • Centralised visibility.

First Class Relationship Management Overall Winner

Merck KGaA

Merck KGaA

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Portrait of Peter Kellner

Peter Kellner

Group Processes and Information Technology

Peter Kellner joined thyssenkrupp in 2014. He is responsible for optimising the global financial supply chain management. He has more than 30 years of experience in optimising processes for finance and accounting in the manufacturing and the telecommunication industry and has previously worked as head of financials and logistics management at Vodafone Germany. He graduated from the University of Essen (Germany) with an MBA equivalent in finance, taxes and IT.