How RATIONAL serves a better customer experience and drives automation in Order-to-Cash

Celonis helped RATIONAL AG eliminate 120,000 manual process activities and cut their sales cycle time by 40% for blocked orders. Co-innovating the Order Management Execution App with Celonis, the technology-driven manufacturer now spreads data and intelligence across their global Order Management.

Rational Customer Story Image 2
Rational Customer Story Image 2

With a history spanning almost five decades, RATIONAL AG provides the best cooking equipment to the most exacting food professionals all over the world โ€” chefs in restaurants, hotels, hospitals, schools, kindergartens, and even the kitchens at Oktoberfest.ย 

The German manufacturer prides itself as a technology-driven partner that innovates and delivers reliably for its customers. โ€œOur main goal is to have happy customers. Customer Satisfaction is our highest priority and the basis for entire DNA. If we make sure our customers get high-quality goods, on time, with a positive experience at every contact, then we know weโ€™re on trackโ€, says Robert Munday, EVP Marketing & Customer Solutions, at RATIONAL. And to be successful in this endeavour, their customer-facing processes need to be impeccable.ย 

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. โ€œBut 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 didnโ€™t reflect reality,โ€ says Martina Biegler, Director Global Customer Operations, at RATIONAL.ย 

The search for a tool to help RATIONAL achieve true transparency and process excellence led them to Celonis.

Martina Biegler RATIONAL
โ€œCelonis helps us create a better customer experience. It makes us faster, more innovative and enables us to focus on customer benefit.โ€
Martina Biegler
Director Global Customer Operations,

Bringing full visibility into Order-to-Cash

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. โ€œSeeing all the process variations in O2C was a real jaw-dropping aha-moment. Our reaction was: Is this really what our process looks like?โ€ adds Michaela Gebhart. Armed with this unprecedented transparency, first process improvements followed quickly, which convinced them that Celonis could accelerate their Process Excellence goals company-wide.ย 

RATIONAL took a centralized approach in 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. โ€œWhen 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,โ€ says Martina Biegler.

Finding and fixing hidden execution gaps

The โ€œaha-momentsโ€ kept coming as RATIONAL used Celonis to identify and attack the execution gaps hidden deep in the business. With Celonis, Martina Biegler and her team discovered a multitude of manual, inefficient workflows in Order Management. In one team alone, people were processing orders in several different ways, for example working with Excel.

Uncovering manual changes even in so-called โ€œstandardโ€ fields in SAP, RATIONAL quickly found the right spots to clean up and standardize their master data โ€” and control its use by employees. โ€œWe immediately saw the impact, which was amazing,โ€ says Martina Biegler.

Spreading data and intelligence across teams

Motivated by the insights Celonis provided, RATIONAL was aiming to go one step further โ€” helping everyone involved in Order Management optimize their day-to-day work. โ€œThe analytics and insights Celonis provided were great, but we wanted an operational solution to support our users on a daily basis,โ€ says Michaela Gebhart.ย 

In the past, RATIONALโ€™s order management specialists processed orders on a first-in-first-out basis, using manual workarounds. Thatโ€™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.

2 hours
shorter process throughput time per day
manual activities eliminated
process conformance for order releases, up from 70%

Leveraging the worldโ€™s leading process mining technology, alongside AI and automation, the Order Management Execution App has helped RATIONAL gain full control over their 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. โ€œThis enables our team leads to quickly identify bottlenecks and execution gaps โ€” and take swift action if necessary,โ€ 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 to 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 RATIONALโ€™s order management specialists. Each team member has an intelligent overview of their own open orders, and the wider teamsโ€™. Alerting the specialists about orders that are due the same day, Celonis ensures that no order slips through the cracks.ย 

The app also enables their 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. โ€œThey can either directly trigger actions, jump to SAP or create a pre-filled email with a push of a button to notify the right people, without having to leave Celonis,โ€ says Michaela Gebhart.ย 

Being able to monitor their Order-to-Cash process end-to-end and resolve execution gaps in real time has completely transformed the way RATIONAL AG works. โ€œOur colleagues in the local markets tell us that they can focus more of their time on the customer,โ€ says Robert Munday. And he adds: โ€œWith Celonis, weโ€™ve become proactive instead of reactive, weโ€™ve improved forecasting and performance, and weโ€™ve accelerated digital transformation.โ€

Shorter Sales cycles, better customer experience

In the world RATIONAL operates in, a missing piece of information can lead to a customer shipment being delayed. 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.

โ€œCelonis 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,โ€ says Michaela Gebhart. A good example is their Sales Excellence initiative. By accelerating approval processes in Sales, theyโ€™ve reduced their sales cycles for blocked orders by 40%.ย ย 

In the past two years, the team got alerted 3,300 times to take action. โ€œThese signals help us to act and to 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,โ€ says Michaela 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. โ€œCelonis 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 the process performance,โ€ Martina Biegler sums up.

Up to 30%
higher first-time-right rate
reduction in sales cycle times for blocked orders

Ramping up automation at RATIONALย 

When it comes to the future, RATIONALโ€™s goals are clear. โ€œOur vision is that every customer service employee works with the Order Management Execution App on a daily basis and that our order management is automated as much as possible,โ€ says Martina Biegler.ย 

RATIONAL also intends to use the appโ€™s integrated actions more extensively โ€” with SAP and other systems. โ€œAll for delivering great experiences for our customers, on time, every time,โ€ says Biegler. And with the Order Management Execution App, they are well on their way.


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