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thyssenkrupp Rasselstein + Celonis

“Celonis acts as an orchestration layer for our processes that clearly creates value for our company.”

Mario Kossmann, Head of Digital Solutions, thyssenkrupp Rasselstein
Industry - Manufacturing Process - Supply Chain Region - Europe
Double-digit millions
In working capital savings committed
4,500 tons of CO2
Reduction potential identified
“Extremely precise”
On-time delivery prediction
10 processes
Linked to Celonis in 18 months

thyssenkrupp Rasselstein uses Celonis to gain full transparency and tighter control over their end-to-end supply chain, helping them manage material shortages at speed, predict delivery dates more accurately, shorten lead times, and improve their cash position.

Context: Digitizing a 250-year-old manufacturing giant

Steel producer thyssenkrupp Rasselstein is embracing change with a bold motto: “Don't ask for permission, ask for forgiveness.” This mantra is steering their ambitious digital transformation journey that’s aiming to modernize the group’s 250-year-old process and system landscape. 

Renowned globally for delivering high-quality packaging steel, thyssenkrupp Rasselstein serves over 400 customers in over 80 countries, making it Europe’s largest packaging steel manufacturer. The main chunk of their products can be found in the packaging sector, as they produce food and pet-food cans that offer 100% protection against light and air and ensure long shelf life, without any chemicals or additives. 

Challenges: Complex steel production comes with several hiccups

For the past few years, the company has set its sights on digitizing steel production. By creating a connected supply chain across the entire thyssenkrupp Steel Europe group, Rasselstein is hoping to better serve their customers, further shorten lead times, and improve their cash flow.

No easy feat, given that their steel business is extremely cash-intensive, as Mario Kossmann, Head of Digital Solutions, explains. “The thyssenkrupp Steel Europe supply chain is very long, as we produce our steel solutions across numerous plants. It could take several months after order intake to receive the customer’s payment. That’s a real problem.” 

“It could take several months after intake to receive the customer’s payment. That’s a real problem.” 

Mario Kossmann, Head of Digital Solutions, thyssenkrupp Rasselstein

A lack of visibility into their end-to-end supply chain also made it tricky to keep customers posted on the status of their orders: “We were not as precise as we’d like to be in predicting delivery dates for customers, especially at the early stage of production,” adds Dominik Heinz, Head of Sales Planning and Logistics. Lead times of up to seven weeks were normal, but not a number the company was proud of.

At the same time, driving change at the 250-year-old corporate giant like thyssenkrupp would often feel painstakingly slow. “We are from the old economy”, Kossmann says. Which means teams were all-too often trapped in their old ways, and not necessarily open to change. “So it was incredibly important for us to find a solution that combines insights and action”, says Heinz. Celonis made sure to deliver. 

Solution: Streamlining the supply chain to better serve customers

The market leader in process mining helped the company not only bring full transparency into their end-to-end supply chain, but also better serve their customers: Using Celonis Process Intelligence – powered by process mining and AI – they’re now able to proactively act on potential material shortages to avoid stockouts, drastically improve the prediction of delivery dates, reduce inventory, and consequently improve their cash position by unlocking. In fact, thyssenkrupp Rasselstein is forging their path to unlock a double-digit million amount in working capital over the coming months.

“The impact on our performance has been significant”, says Kossmann. “Celonis acts as an orchestration layer for our processes that clearly creates value for our company.” 

“The impact on our performance has been significant.” 

Mario Kossmann, Head of Digital Solutions, thyssenkrupp Rasselstein

Dive deeper into Celonis success stories in supply chain: 

With a robust Center of Excellence in place and strong support by their CEO and CFO, Rasselstein has become a driver of innovation within the group. The team integrated Celonis into nearly ten process areas in just 18 months – with nearly 50 use cases across Procure-to-Pay, Order-to-Cash, Inventory and Warehouse Management, Accounts Receivable, and more. At Celosphere 2023 in Munich, the company, represented by Kossmann and Heinz, presented two of their strongest use cases:

1. Managing stockouts more intelligently

By tailoring the Celonis Material Shortages App to their needs, Rasselsteins’ supply chain team can proactively manage stockouts by visualizing dependencies and forecasting stock levels on an article basis. Combining the power of process mining with AI and contextual process knowledge, the app helps them:

  • Combine current material inventory with planned orders and planned replenishments to determine potential future stockouts. 

  • Track key KPIs such as stock forecast on article basis, number of open orders, days until stockout, and the missing quantity on the day of stockout at a glance. 

  • Visualize dependencies across materials, production stages, and plants to identify alternative sources of supply to either avoid a stockout or soften its impact.

“We can manage stockouts and customer deliveries much more professionally than we were able to in the past.”

Dominik Heinz, Head of Sales Planning and Logistics

2. Predicting delivery dates with greater accuracy

The Rasselstein team has also developed an “on-time-delivery dashboard” that reliably predicts delivery dates. A self-built ML algorithm tracks every material movement across Rasselstein’s production process, including all rework that’s taking place. The algorithm, says Heinz, uses that data to “very precisely predict stock access dates, which helps us manage stockouts and customer deliveries much more professionally than in the past.”

This has helped to significantly reduce the manual effort required to handle ad hoc customer requests dealing with expected delivery of their ordered products. 

From ‘old economy’ to high-speed change

Their key to success is a strong focus on community building. While the Center of Excellence sets the product roadmap and the targets, they’re working closely with the company’s process owners to accelerate transformation. “Celonis is not just an IT topic or a single department topic. You have to set up a strong organization that drives this forward centrally”, says Mario Kossmann, Head of Digital Solutions.

Company events like the “Rasselsteiner Digital-Tage” play a key role in getting more people on board. During the 2-day annual hackathons, teams with diverse backgrounds from Procurement, Order Management, Warehousing, or Inventory Management are competing with each other to build low-code solutions to their challenges and present them to C-level. “In the past, we’ve often heard from teams that they don’t have time to improve their processes. Now, they come and have a lot of fun improving their own process performance.”

At their most recent hackathon, the business has developed ten tangible solutions, such as the “Shipping Emission Reduction” App they co-innovated with Celonis to optimize their truck logistics and improve their scope 3 emissions. By analyzing 49,000 truck movements, they identified the potential to save more than 4.500 tons of CO2.

Kossmann’s advice to make a small team of five become a driver of innovation within a big corporation? Be persistent. “You will have to have hard discussions with the business, but at some point you need to push and to say: ‘Just do it.’ Make your business better and don't wait for other opportunities.” 

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