Case Study Insights


Code Expert was engaged to develop a comprehensive solution for bringing capital projects information that is normally resident in EPC (Engineer, Procure, Construct) systems into SAP. The solution is a comprehensive application of process management and process monitoring designed to address the question of how to capture the information about project materials in SAP for projects that are engineered, procured and constructed by contracting firms.

Process Redesign /

Throughout the project a complete de-engineering of the processes of engineering, sourcing, asset redeployment, purchasing, receiving, expediting, fabrication, quality assurance, commissioning, construction, logistics and hand-off to operations was completed. The key data required to allow the process to flow smoothly from the outset was identified and processes to ensure the quality of that data were established. This resulted in improvements in the overall procurement functions, the visibility of materials and the tracking and monitoring of all processes. The project was by all accounts a major success:

Business Processes Covered /

Material Master Data; Vendor Master Data, Requisitions, Purchase Orders, Outline Agreements, Goods Receipts, Goods Movements, Progress Payments, Project Stock, Fabricated Items, Vendor Evaluation, Surplus Management, Quality Management, Damaged Goods and Vendor Classification, Progress Tracking and Expediting, Construction Work Packages, Logistics, Spools Management, Ship Loose, Vendor Documentation, Lump Sum Projects and Project Hand-off to Operations.

Governance and Compliance /

The solution has nearly 2 dozen process specific monitoring dashboards with over 125 calls to action (process alerts) that deliver a governance and compliance capability across the entire capital projects cycle. Much like a distributed control system for processing plant, there is a distributed control system for a set of business processes. The business processes and sub-processes are monitored for adherence to the process design. If a step in the business process or sub-process is going to lead to problem downstream an alert is triggered. 

The solution has been adopted for global use and has seen a return on investment of 3 months with $6M to $11M annual savings in the first business unit to adopt it.

/ Electronic Invoicing: A 15 Hour Analysis /

* This case study was conducted at a prominent oil and gas firm in Canada

Background /

Our client had 3 vendors consistently complaining their invoices were being paid late. The analysis was intended to determine where the problem was: was it with the eInvoice process and system, or somewhere else in the process? The project involved one consultant from Code Expert, and the oil & gas firm did not need to provide any additional resources.

Data extracted from SAP was from January 1, 2013 to June 10, 2014 for the business unit having the issue. The statistics for the overall averages were compiled to establish a benchmark. Then, the averages for each vendor were compiled.

Results /

Following a detailed statistical analysis, Code Expert concluded:

  • Further vendor education was required to ensure the 3 vendors understand the submission process and the timing of payment relative to the date of their invoice and the date of submission to the eInvoice system.
  • The internal processing of eInvoices for these 3 vendors should be reviewed and streamlined.

/ Automated Process Modeling /

* This case study was conducted at a prominent oil and gas firm in Canada

Background /

A prominent global oil & gas corporation was investing in a large capital project and wanted to implement SAP as a footprint extension. As the project proceeded, the SAP team grew and the organization wanted to determine if the SAP footprint extension would have the desired impact on the business processes.

There were two operating units in the mix:

- Capital projects team

- Operations team (operating the new facility)

The operations team was working with the project SAP team to implement new SAP design elements in the current operating facilities, prior to the new facility being built.

The SAP project manager wanted to show the new changes were going to have a positive effect on the business. In particular, he wanted to model the existing processes and changes. In parallel to the SAP project, the operations team was improving business processes and enhancing master data to improve the efficacy of the operational processes in SAP. All of this work was to come together in the existing facility and be ready for the new facility.

The organization wanted a fact-based approach to process modeling that was not subject to interpretation, was rigorous and sustainable. They wanted to do the analysis now and then again in the future. Repeatability was key.

The oil and gas firm was shown the Automated Process Modeling (APM) tool from Code Expert. They ultimately selected the tool for the analysis process. APM is an advanced operation research-based analytics tool that performs off-production analysis of existing business processes. Providing visualizations of typical flows, repetitions, and loopbacks, APM identified process inefficiencies and bottlenecks where they exist, and highlights the right processes for improvement and optimization

Pilot Project /

After selecting APM from Code Expert, the oil and gas firm began the project. The project focused on the Enterprise Asset Management and Procure to Pay processes. Key processes were identified and the business looked for answers to the following types of questions:

EAM (Enterprise Asset Management)

- How long between status changes on work orders

- Show notification business processes by notification 


- How often do we change field data: functional location, cause code, work center, cost schedule date, etc?

- How often do we reverse work order complete status to process invoices?

- What data is missing on work orders: maintenance item, symptom, cause code, priority, breakdown indicator, etc

P2P (Procure to Pay)

- How many times after a PO is created do we change it? How long do users take to complete a requisition from the time they start it?

- How long does it take to assign vendors to PO’s?

- How many PO’s have been created automatically from a requisition?

- How much time does it take to chase down a GR for a blocked invoice?

- How does cross business unit efficiency compare for supply chain processes?

APM showed that for each notification created during the period, there were an equal number of notifications from previous periods that were being changed. This resulted in over 100,000 changes to notifications in one year. Of those the SAP system automated completed, 12% of those were changes. 88% of the changes were completed manually.

The evaluation also showed when work orders were completed in SAP, the KPI for work order closure was driving user behavior to close work orders quickly. Cascading down the process line from the work order closure, APM showed evidence that invoice payment was blocked and work order closures were being reversed. APM also showed that downstream processing of invoices was delayed up to 25 days. The culprit appeared to be a combination of work order closures and delayed goods receipts.

APM also revealed that when buyers were involved in the assignment of vendors to a purchase order from a requisition, the process of creating a purchase order took 3 to 6 days longer than when the SAP vendor selection was automated. The analytics were essential to identifying potential training needs and to help refine process emphasis.

Expanding APM’s Role /

The pilot project took 7 weeks to complete. Subsequent to the results of the initial process, modeling, the oil and gas firm engaged Code Expert for 300 additional days to complete the follow-up work and expand the use of APM. Once the follow-up analysis was completed, the oil and gas firm purchased a software license and uses APM’s dashboard to continuously monitor this process.

What’s Next? /

As part of the overall project, Code Expert demonstrated the ability of the Automated Process Modeling tool to provide a scientific basis for process improvement. The process models created in APM can be locked down and utilized in a production version of the software complete with alerts, charts, dashboards and ongoing automated process monitoring that result in a visual representation of the business process that can be acted upon. APM provides a standards-based modeling environment and tools for refining existing processes.

Code Expert is working on modeling EAM, P2P, contracts management, material master quality and process management, along with transaction quality monitoring. Discussions are underway with the oil and gas firm for extension of the models to include additional facilities and plants throughout North America.

As part of the ongoing discussions, the oil and gas firm is considering APM for master data quality management and profiling, real-time transactional quality management and monitoring and business process flow monitoring with alerts and charts.

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