The starting point
Frank Merbecks, Contract Manager at OSRAM, on the requirements for the new contract management: “Being a company with international operations, many of our customers also work internationally. They are supported by IKAMs (International Key Account Managers). Since there are not only global but also local contracts, we have been looking for a way to make these contracts available to IKAMs at any time. Namely, without having to ask for the existence and content of the contracts locally.”
OSRAM was looking for a way to manage and make these contracts available in one system worldwide. The requirement was for the contract management system to become a component of the OSRAM Contract Management (= OCM) process, according to which OSRAM develops contracts. In a second step, a system-based contract development (e.g. electronic workflow) via the OCM was planned.
At OSRAM, contracts are stored regionally. In the past, however, this led to very long response times. In queries about the existence or content of such contracts, for example. This particularly happened if the contact persons were not clearly defined, on vacation or sick. Or if sales staff needed information outside normal working hours.
The screening process
Using classic Internet research, OSRAM’s IT unit also came across “PSC Portal Systems Consulting GmbH” and its contract management pscContract (since October 2017: Shareflex® Contract). Of the three other potential providers, ” with pscContract, Portal Systems was the only one offering a kind of “out of the box” solution,” according to Frank Merbecks, Contract Manager at OSRAM.
The fact that Portal Systems was able to show OSRAM’s requirements “live” was particularly convincing. A decisive advantage that the other selected providers were unable to meet, since most of them had only highly customised solutions on offer.
A rough concept subsequently formed the basis for the submission of bids by the four manufacturers. Based on the requirements, a corresponding implementation concept was to be developed. In subsequent workshops, the feasibility of the practical implementation was demonstrated.
Since Portal Systems was the only provider who could show the concept instantly in operation, the favourite was quickly found: “Our questions were answered using the live system. And we were shown actual examples of how certain requirements can be met. That was very convincing”.
There was no test operation due to the short launch period. The system went live immediately in January 2011. Frank Merbecks: “Our test system, where we can now develop and test new functionalities and change requests, is also available to OSRAM affiliates for review and testing during the roll-out process”.
OSRAM was very pleased with the roll-out of the software and the subsequent support. Any technical or conceptual errors that occured, were usually fixed at short notice. And due to the high demands in terms of data security and data volumes, several site collections were used to manage the data.
Shareflex® Contract now serves as a global contract archive for customer and internal contracts. The main users are contract management, sales and distribution controlling. As well as this, the “Finance and Accounting/Tax” division, which is responsible for internal contracts, is also involved. In addition, Quality Management uses the system to archive quality agreements with customers.
Shareflex® Contract is in operation at OSRAM, OSRAM Opto Semiconductors and Traxon (Germany, Slovakia, Austria and Hungary). After the roll-out in a number of other European countries, the Asian country organisations followed in spring 2013. And after some legal issues have been resolved, the system is now also being deployed in the NAFTA countries.
Contract management – The roll-out
During the roll-out, users got advance access to the test system and the user documentation created by OSRAM. A workshop (which lasts ½ day per country/area) then served to clarify questions and requirements. Following this, the system went live after a training session, at the end of which the users uploaded the first real contracts into the system. All in all, OSRAM planned four weeks per country or area for initial supervision.
In the initial phase of the project, around 1200 contract folders and around 5000 documents were managed in the system of the more than 100-year-old company. And right from the start, a good 300 users used the contract management system Shareflex® Contract. Following the worldwide roll-out, there are now about 1000 users. Frank Merbecks: “We already had a SharePoint farm in-house for other applications. Thus, the effort for integrating into the existing IT system was manageable”.
The contract management expert regards the worldwide availability, the short search time and the simplicity of the search as the main advantages of Shareflex® Contract. An improvement in customer satisfaction is noticeable if the system also supports contract development, for example via an electronic workflow. Frank Merbecks: “We were able to optimise the processes exactly as we originally planned. In collaboration with the Portal Systems team, we are now focusing on system-supported contract development and audit-proof archiving”.
Frank Merbecks states: “Especially for the contract managers at OSRAM, the effort was definitely worth it. We can analyze the status of contracts much more quickly than before. And the implementation of a template library led to a reduction in the number of requests. Since now, sales users are able to download the current templates from the system at any time, without having to make any further enquiries”.
February 2017 update: The desired solution for a complex, system-internal contract development has now been successfully implemented, too. Besides Germany, OSRAM today relies on Portal Systems’ contract management solution in all major European, Asian and American countries. The OCM currently manages around 11,000 contracts for OSRAM clients in around 37 countries.
More information about Osram
OSRAM, headquartered in Munich, Germany, is one of the world’s two leading lighting technology providers. With its portfolio, the company covers the entire value chain of components: Including lamps and optical semiconductors such as light-emitting diodes (LEDs). And from ballasts to complete luminaires, light management systems and lighting solutions.
OSRAM generates more than 70 percent of its sales with energy-efficient products. Thus, for more than 100 years, business activities have focused on the subject of light and therefore quality of life.