Integrate Your Partners into Your Business Processes Using Interactive Forms: The Case of Automotive Industry Company HEYCO

Bernhard Schindlbeck, Peter Kleinschmidt

Situation faced: The automotive industry company HEYCO-WERK Heynen GmbH & Co. KG (HEYCO) wanted to improve how it handled purchase order confirmations. Its purchase department spent a lot of time entering incoming purchase order confirmations from its vendors into its SAP system. This process had to be automated with the most suitable technology to make it more time- and cost-efficient.

Action taken: Before doing anything else, we had to choose the technology to support the process. Based on an empirical study, we developed a comparison scheme for business-to-business (B2B) technologies. We considered three types of technology, electronic data interchange (EDI), online portals, and interactive forms. Unlike the first two categories, interactive forms are seldom considered in the literature as an alternative B2B technology, but they turned out to be the best technology to support the purchase order confirmation process. Therefore, we chose them to support the process.

Results achieved: With the implementation of interactive forms as a B2B solution to process purchase order confirmations, we achieved essential efficiency gains in time and quality.Working with interactive forms is well accepted by the process owners in the purchase department, who were able to automate the recording of purchase order confirmations with more than 100 vendors within 6 months.

Lessons learned: Interactive forms turned to be a highly flexible and powerful tool in avoiding media breaks in document-driven processes. We present the results of a feedback round with HEYCO’s process owners, which was carried out 9 months after the introduction of the new procedure. Based on the input from those interviews, we discuss useful enhancements for the application to meet changed requirements and to accelerate technology adoption.

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