How are requirements defined? In what format are the services integrated into the procurement system? And how should they be settled? Depending on the type of services that are to be processed digitally, these questions focus not only on planning and verification, but also on the consistent use of (multi-level) service specifications. FUTURA is thereby extending the classic purchase-to-pay approach to a comprehensive plan-to-pay solution.
The linchpin of planning is a structured list of service specifications based on the GAEB standard which is implemented in FUTURA. This facilitates an in-depth description of the required services. In other words, service specifications with a multi-level structure of up to four levels can be created in FUTURA or imported from an Excel or GAEB file (e.g. from an external planner). The entire range of sources can be used to create requirement definitions in a convenient manner: In FUTURA, service specifications can also be created and managed as master service specifications or service master files.
FUTURA follows the GAEB conventions when defining requirements. Users can create requirements for small-scale measures very quickly and easily. It is helpful that they can draw upon master service specifications or contracts to create the required items. Service specifications created by external planners can be imported via GAEB or Excel.
Requirements destined to be requested or put out to tender may be priced and calculated in FUTURA for a later price comparison.
Master service specifications can be created manually in FUTURA or imported via GAEB or Excel and can be used to define a requirement.
Service specifications can be put out to tender via FUTURA in the form of a percental surcharge or discount process and automatically created in SAP as a contract. To process purchase and call-off orders with contract reference, the contracts are synchronized with FUTURA: Thus, when ordering an unplanned measure, service providers may access their contract to create billing specifications.
In FUTURA, any requirement can be linked to an SAP purchase requisition to determine the organizational data and account assignment. This purchase requisition can be either created and approved in SAP and then imported into FUTURA, or it can be created directly in FUTURA and then transferred to SAP. Owing to the seamless system integration, it has become possible to produce different workflows with FUTURA even in this context.
GAEB (Gemeinsamen Ausschuss Elektronik im Bauwesen) is the standard used in the German building trade to exchange service specifications, quotations and measurements. For example, an external planner can create the service specifications in the GAEB format and relay it to his client who can use it as the basis for a tender.
Both the project and the framework agreement business can be handled via FUTURA – consistently system-integrated and based on the GAEB conventions. All functionalities required for collaboration in the operational process of service procurement are brought together on the collaborational platform. In other words, it includes a comprehensive e-sourcing solution that handles requests, tenders and awardings as well as orders and call-off orders.
A wide variety of use cases, from investment projects and maintenance work based on framework contracts through to the handling of small-scale measures, are thus covered by FUTURA. Suppliers and service providers are integrated online via FUTURA and can benefit from a convenient proposal submittal and a simple activity recording.
A request may be addressed to a supplier or service provider with or without reference to a framework agreement.
In addition to the usual procedure (initiator specifies the required service) the service provider can also compile the service from his master service specifications or contracted framework agreement and add his quantities and prices to the offer. This is especially beneficial in the case of unplanned services or maintenance and repair works, if the scope of the services to be commissioned is unknown in advance.
Regardless of whether the requirement has been planned in-house or created by an external planning office, it can be put out to tender via FUTURA. Again, the focus is on the GAEB format, which can be converted from Excel or into Excel. The tendering process is standardized and runs to a great extent fully atomically.
The purchaser keeps track of the status of the tender at any time. Status displays for each bidder indicate whether the bidder has activated the tender, read or confirmed attachments and if they have already submitted their offer. As a result, the purchasers obtain a price comparison list, which they can adjust according to their requirements via individual filters.
The focus of FUTURA lies in conducting tenders subject to private law.
The legal requirements for public tenders are fulfilled by FUTURA within the framework of a two-stage awarding procedure with competitive bidding: At first, the call for tender with competitive bidding gets published on an e-procurement platform, e.g. SIMAP. In the second stage the call for tender is made available to the applicants via FUTURA. That way, all seamless advantages of FUTURA (GAEB format, price comparison, SAP integration) can also be used for public tenders.
Via the online platform FUTURA, suppliers and service providers are integrated into tendering, ordering and billing processes of the initiator. They need only an internet connection and a browser to use the platform. Requests or calls for tender can be viewed and processed directly on the platform. In case of extensive requests, suppliers can use the up- and download options via GAEB- or Excel files.
Incoming offers can be automatically converted into a price comparison list at the push of a button in FUTURA. Manual import – a potential source of error due to incompatible file formats – is not necessary. The price comparison list can be adjusted according to the requirements of the purchasing department by using individual filters. It can be also exported to excel for further processing.
Besides conducting requests and calls for tender, FUTURA can also be used to hold auctions. Various auction types such as Reverse or Dutch auction are available. Each auction type can be adjusted individually by using variable parameters.
Planned, unplanned and mixed services can be ordered and settled via FUTURA. These variants of ordering are used, depending on the use case. A planned order for example, can follow a requirement definition provided by the consumer or an offer put together by the service provider, i.e. the contractor.
Call-off orders can be triggered and settled via FUTURA, if framework agreements have been contracted.
Unplanned services are often used in case of repair works or incidents, when the scope of the service to be provided is unclear at the time of commissioning. In this case, the purchasers usually release a blanket purchase order with reference to a contract or a framework agreement, and the service provider uses the corresponding items from his framework contract to create the billing specifications.
The advantages: this way of ordering relieves of the consumer; it brings transparency in the billing of the service provided and offers the opportunity of evaluating the underlying framework agreement according to the frequency of the items contained.
Freely definable approval workflows play an essential role in the verifying and accepting the services rendered. The easier it is to amend the online activity recordings entered by the service provider, the more streamlined the process will be.
Amendments and correction loops are easily possible in FUTURA. The verification procedure can be set up individually via workflows: Depending on the user role and for instance value limits, the principle of multiple assessors can be applied to verify and approve activity recordings or to carry out the sampling procedure.
The approver is location-independent and can verify, amend and approve services wherever an internet connection is available – that means, for example, on the spot at the construction site.
The issues concerning service delivery and acceptance require a close collaboration with the consumer, who must first confirm the proper billing with the approver – which is often a time-consuming manual process. Compliance with payment deadlines and the opportunity to benefit from early payment discounts often fall by the wayside.
In FUTURA, the verification of services rendered is done BEFORE the invoicing process. This is possible due to the online activity recording carried out by the service provider, which initiates the process of clarification and agreement on the service provided – the subsequent invoice only needs to be posted in SAP.
An even higher degree of automation in invoicing can be achieved by setting up of a credit note procedure with the service provider. In that case, the posting of invoices can be dropped.
In the case of automated invoicing, incoming invoices no longer need to be verified after the service has been delivered, since it has already been accepted and released in advance. The invoice only has to be posted. And in SAP this can be achieved by the ‘MIRO’ transaction (traffic light display). The invoice approval process is decisively streamlined.
The highest level of automation can be achieved when initiators agree upon a credit memo procedure with their suppliers and service providers. FUTURA creates the basis for this by verifying and approving the provided service BEFORE invoicing.