Online shopping is enjoying an unprecedented boom – just a few clicks and the object of our desires (or just a fridge full of groceries) is on its way to our door, without us even needing to get up off the sofa. Online procurement – the online shopping of the business world – has been steadily increasing in the maritime industry too, as ship owners look for ways to streamline their operations and digitalise supply chains.
Traditionally, procurement was a long, slow process. There were a lot of forms that needed filling in by hand and parts codes had to be cross-referenced multiple times to ensure mistakes weren’t made. Moving from manual to automated processes was an obvious response – saving time on procurement meant saving money, not to mention reducing the risk of costly human errors.
Online procurement (or e-procurement) has been around for over 20 years, and after a slow start it’s now being used by the majority of companies for common business-to-business processes such as purchase orders, invoices and bulk shipping. The number-one benefit is better efficiency – by removing paper-based processes you can streamline and speed up purchasing. Transparency is also improved because every step can be tracked online, giving better visibility over the whole process. Another big benefit is that speeding up the process means your teams can focus on strategic issues instead of being weighed down by mountains of paperwork.
At Wärtsilä, we’ve seen more and more of our customers wanting to order online, with numbers growing significantly each year. While we have long been available 24/7 for online orders through our webstore at Wärtsilä Online, we want to make procurement even simpler for our customers so are working to integrate our service into the industry’s most commonly used procurement platforms, systems and processes.
Marine enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems and e-procurement platforms work to streamline internal processes and reduce operational costs across fleets. Supplier interaction such as requests, price checks and purchase orders can all be made using simple digitalised workflows, giving a fast, easy and automated route to purchasing.
In recent years, Wärtsilä has taken steps to simplify maintenance planning for our products and solutions. As a result, all necessary manuals and catalogues are available online for the benefit of our customers. Now the focus is on simplifying spare parts procurement with the help of digitalisation. New integrated B2B procurement possibilities promise to bring speed, automation and reliability to the spares procurement process. To help remove unnecessary manual steps and make the most out of customers’ existing systems, Wärtsilä is now fully integrated into six e-procurement platforms – SERTICA, Procureship, SIS Commerce, SeaProc, Kinnetik Solutions and ShipServ – with more systems being added all the time. This direct integration simplifies the purchase process and makes it even smoother, speeding up the time it takes to reply to quote requests and purchase orders and automating several key processes, which reduces the risk of manual errors and non-conformities. Full integration also increases transparency across the whole purchase process.
For example, Wärtsilä is working on a comprehensive B2B procurement integration project and a new spare part identification model together with Royal Caribbean Group. These latest efficiencies, scheduled to be rolled out in 2021, are intended to further reduce operational costs and simplify day-to-day transactions, as well as empower Royal Caribbean with greater visibility over data analytics and cross spare part utilisation between vessels.
“Our target is to fully digitalise the procurement process between Royal Caribbean and Wärtsilä so we can collaborate in a streamlined, proactive, cyber-secure and transparent way,” explains Jyri Kulmala, General Manager, Customer Applications, Wärtsilä. “All commercial transactions, including invoices and shipment notifications, are included in the scope, promising to speed up, simplify and significantly improve the customer experience.”
Anshul Tuteja, Associate Vice President Global Fleet Optimization within the Royal Caribbean Group, agrees. “The work we do with Wärtsilä to integrate the procurement system is essential to free up resources from manual tasks and improve the quality and speed at which interaction is done in the procurement process,” he says.
By helping customers to buy from Wärtsilä using their own procurement systems we can offer an even better customer experience. "These new integration capabilities bring big benefits in terms of enabling our customers to buy their Wärtsilä parts using the e-procurement platform they are already familiar with,” points out Kulmala. “This simplifies the process and reduces manual work and errors, giving customers a better overall experience.”
For customers using other procurement systems, we’re working to be able to support full integration soon, with the aim that you will be able to order Wärtsilä parts directly through most of the major marine ERPs and e-procurement platforms in the near future. If you don’t have your own procurement system, the Wärtsilä Online webstore is also available 24 hours a day for parts, support and expert advice. Wherever you choose to buy Wärtsilä spare parts, we aim to make it as fast, easy and convenient as possible.
Get in touch to find out if your marine ERP program or preferred e-procurement platform is already integrated – switching on is quick and easy.