Celonis helped RATIONAL AG eliminate 120,000 manual process activities and cut their cycle time by 40% for blocked orders. Spurred on by their success, RATIONAL was a co-innovation partner in the creation of the Celonis Order Management Execution App.
With a history spanning almost five decades, RATIONAL AG provides the best cooking equipment to the most exacting food professionals all over the world: chefs in restaurants, hotels, hospitals, schools, kindergartens, and even the Oktoberfest kitchens.
The German manufacturer prides itself as a technology-driven partner that innovates and delivers reliably for its customers. “Our main goal is to have happy customers. Customer satisfaction is our highest priority and the basis of our entire DNA. If we make sure our customers get high-quality goods, on time, with a positive experience at every contact, then we know we’re on track,” says Robert Munday, EVP Marketing & Customer Solutions at RATIONAL. And to be successful in this endeavor, their customer-facing processes need to be impeccable.
As part of their Sales excellence initiative that kicked off in Jan 2019, RATIONAL aimed to increase process efficiency across Sales and Customer Service, speed up sales cycles, and ultimately deliver a perfect customer experience. “But as we started to dig deeper into our process management, we quickly realized we had a very static view of our processes, and that our documentation didn’t reflect reality,” says Martina Biegler, Director of Global Customer Operations, at RATIONAL.
The search for a tool to help RATIONAL achieve true transparency and process excellence led them to Celonis.
Starting their process mining journey in 2019, RATIONAL ran three pilot projects in the US, France, and Japan. In user workshops with process owners and business leaders, they explored the Order-to-Cash process. “Seeing all the process variations in O2C was a real jaw-dropping 'aha' moment. The reaction was: is this really what our process looks like?” adds Michaela Gebhart, Project Manager, Global Customer Operations. Armed with this unprecedented transparency, the first process improvements quickly followed, which convinced them Celonis could accelerate their Process Excellence goals company-wide.
RATIONAL took a centralized approach to rolling out Celonis and looked for other cross-functional opportunities for improvements. By building targeted analyses identifying the most crucial pain points, they quickly gained traction within the organization. “When we started to introduce Celonis, everyone got excited because they could immediately see what was going on in their processes. It was really easy to get the stakeholders on board,” says Biegler.
The 'aha' moments kept coming as RATIONAL used Celonis to identify and attack the process gaps hidden deep in the business. With Celonis, Martina Biegler and her team discovered a multitude of manual, inefficient workflows in Order Management. In a single team, people were processing orders in several different ways.
Uncovering manual changes even in so-called 'standard' fields in SAP, RATIONAL quickly identified how to clean up and to standardize their master data — and control its use by employees. “We immediately saw the impact, which was amazing,” says Biegler.
Motivated by the insights Celonis provided, RATIONAL was aiming to go one step further — helping everyone involved in Order Management optimize their day-to-day work. “The analytics and insights Celonis provided were great, but we wanted an operational solution to support our users on a daily basis,” explains Gebhart.
In the past, RATIONAL’s Order Management specialists processed orders on a first-in-first-out basis, using manual workarounds. That’s why at the start of 2021, RATIONAL embarked on a co-innovation project with Celonis, leading to the implementation of the Execution Management System (EMS) and, in particular, the Order Management Execution app.
Leveraging the world’s leading process mining technology, alongside AI and automation, the Order Management Execution app has helped RATIONAL gain full control over open orders. Role-based views help customer service managers steer the process and track progress towards set outcomes, while Order Management specialists can take decisive action in line with company goals.
Team leads can use the app to get a complete overview of open tasks seeing KPIs such as open and delayed orders, and orders with tasks that need attention. “This enables our team leads to quickly identify bottlenecks and execution gaps — and take swift action if necessary,” says Gebhart. They can also see how order volumes are distributed over the coming days, and how orders and tasks are balanced within the team. The app helps them create better forecasts using customized filters.
On the operational side, the Execution app intelligently prioritizes orders depending on their urgency and recommends next best actions for RATIONAL’s Order Management specialists. Each team member has an intelligent overview of their own open orders, and the wider teams’. Alerting specialists about orders due the same day, Celonis ensures no order slips through the cracks.
The app also enables Order Management teams to not only focus on the right orders, but get work done faster. Instead of switching back and forth between Excel sheets, Outlook, and SAP, the teams now have one intelligent platform to get their work done. “They can either directly trigger actions, jump to SAP or create a pre-filled emails with a push of a button to notify the right people, without having to leave Celonis,” says Gebhart.
Being able to monitor their Order-to-Cash process end-to-end and resolve issues in real time has completely transformed the way RATIONAL works. “Our colleagues in local markets tell us they can focus more of their time on the customer,” says Robert Munday. He adds: “With Celonis, we’ve become proactive instead of reactive, we’ve improved forecasting and performance, and we’ve accelerated digital transformation.”
In the world RATIONAL operates in, a missing piece of information can lead to a delayed customer shipment. In the old days, issues like this would often be spotted too late. With the Order Management Execution app, RATIONAL has set up actions for more than a dozen different use cases to notify the team before issues like this cause real problems.
As well as the automation and process excellence gains in Order-to-Cash, RATIONAL has seen improved collaboration between departments, specifically with production and dispatch teams in Supply Chain.
"Celonis helps us measure the success of all our Process Excellence initiatives across the organization. With the EMS, we can see exactly where we are and what gaps we need to close,” says Gebhart. A good example is their Sales Excellence initiative. By accelerating approval processes in sales, they’ve reduced their cycle time for blocked orders by 40%.
In the past two years, the team was alerted 3,300 times to take action. "These signals help us get hold of missing information at a very early stage, so we avoid delays. Additionally, we sustainably improve data quality in the source system and eliminate root causes of the gaps,” explains Gebhart.
Taken together, these process improvements have resulted in tremendous customer benefits. By improving the first-time-right rate by up to 30%, RATIONAL customers can be sure they get their orders on time. “Celonis helps us create a better customer experience. It makes us faster, more innovative, by revealing the optimization opportunities and allowing us to have a fact-based discussion about process performance,” Biegler sums up.
RATIONAL’s goals for the future are clear. “Our vision is that every customer service employee works with the Order Management Execution app on a daily basis and our Order Management is automated as much as possible,” says Biegler.
RATIONAL also intends to use the app’s integrated actions more extensively, with SAP and other systems, for example. “All for delivering great experiences for our customers, on time, every time,” adds Biegler. And with the Order Management Execution App, they are well on their way.