User Story: How thermondo optimized cross-divisional processes with the Hivebuy eprocurement tool
With many years of experience and finance expertise in very different industries, e.g. Native Instruments GmbH, Berlin Brands Group, Heineken and Medneo. His current focus is clearly on the digitalization of Procure2Pay and accounting processes in order to significantly support the scaling of the heat pump in the company.
Did the interview with Dennis Aschoff arouse your curiosity?
Hello Dennis, what does thermondo do and what is your role in the company?
Founded in Berlin in 2013, thermondo is Germany’s largest heating installer with almost 35,000 heating system replacements in detached and semi-detached houses and over 750 employees nationwide. Since June 2022, we have been accelerating the switch to heat pumps in Germany and enabling the heating transition as a partner for climate-neutral living. In my role as Head of Accounting, I am responsible for all of the company’s accounting activities, from invoice receipt to invoicing the customer. I am particularly fascinated by my work whenever we succeed in shortening or completely automating processes with the help of technology.
What prompted you to introduce procurement software?
With the current German government’s sustainability efforts and the energy transition that has become inevitable, thermondo is benefiting from a sharp increase in demand for climate-friendly heating systems on the market and we are experiencing rapid growth. To meet this demand, we decided in August 2021 to develop an all-encompassing ERP solution tailored specifically to the company. This was primarily intended to map the direct purchasing processes, i.e. the physical goods and heating systems involved in the value creation process, including warehousing. Originally, the project was also to cover all indirect processes. However, due to increasing complexity, we then decided to use a standardized software solution for indirect purchasing processes, especially for services and integrated catalog connections. In this area, some documents were still being processed in analog form at the time and approvals were sent by email. Our processes urgently needed to become more formalistic and follow a standardized requirements process that was to be set up as simply and cost-effectively as possible.
Why did you choose Hivebuy?
For us at thermondo, it was important to find a tool that could be introduced without involving the IT department and without a major consultancy project. It had to be a tool that employees could use intuitively and enjoy using. With Hivebuy, we found a smart system that we were able to tailor to the organization’s processes ourselves thanks to the no-code approach. It solves the mapping of the procurement process for us, including all relevant approval chains and compliance guidelines, and can be easily integrated with other tools, such as DATEV or our digital invoice receipt tool from another manufacturer. Hivebuy’s solution is also financially attractive for us because its modular structure allows it to be flexibly adapted to the requirements of our processes, which are still growing.
What was the integration process like?
We opted for an agile approach and started almost immediately with the very advanced prototype of Hivebuy, which we integrated within a few days. We then adapted this system step by step to the specific requirements of our company. Conversely, we also changed our internal processes to meet the standard of the solution and common practice in the market. I am convinced that such a system introduction should be used to adapt to established cross-industry processes. In addition, further relevant features were gradually integrated into the solution. This allowed us to gradually develop a suitable system and train directly on it.
What are the benefits of implementing purchasing software for the finance department?
Its many points of contact with other departments and various service functions make the finance department a central interface within the company. However, this is also where many business processes end. If these are poorly set up beforehand, they lead to enormous challenges for everyone involved at this point at the latest. We therefore heard a call from the finance department for a digital solution that would also cover our indirect procurement processes. Hivebuy offers us an all-in-one solution for this: standardized order catalogs enable us to design our purchasing processes for services quickly and efficiently. This enables us to prevent maverick buying – uncontrolled procurement outside of standardized channels. We use integrated workflows to ensure that purchasing guidelines are adhered to and approval chains are followed. Of particular interest to the finance department are the budget analyses and expenditure reports, which can be used to identify trends and provide budget managers with in-depth insights into the most important cost drivers. From a financial perspective, this is now ideal: we specify a process chain, all orders match the corresponding invoices and the system makes liquidity management easier for us. This saves time for everyone involved because processes are transparent for everyone and coordination and approval loops are kept lean.
How has the introduction of the software solution influenced the interaction between the purchasing and finance departments?
I am currently in charge of accounting, but have a strong affinity for supply chain management issues due to my professional background. All departments that purchase services in particular have the same requirements. In addition, there is naturally a clear demarcation from physical goods in terms of inventory management and warehousing. With the introduction of Hivebuy as purchasing software, we have managed to formalize indirect purchasing and the associated processes in the purchasing and finance areas. As it simplifies the processes for all stakeholder groups in the company, acceptance is high – I have even noticed that the introduction has brought a real boost in motivation in individual areas.