Reduced time and increased accuracy – streamlined procurement between Bernhard Schulte Shipmanagement and Wärtsilä

3 min read

09 Aug 2021


Amanda Thurman



3 min read

09 Aug 2021


Amanda Thurman



The procurement process at Bernhard Schulte Shipmanagement (BSM) for buying Wärtsilä parts and equipment was manual and time consuming, with some orders requiring hundreds of prices to be individually entered into smartPAL eConnect, BSM’s ship management software. Manual data entry is inefficient, complex and prone to human error, so BSM turned to Wärtsilä to discuss integrating BSM’s digital procurement system with Wärtsilä’s Digital Procurement Platform. The project resulted in an automated procurement process between the organisations, delivering greater efficiency and accuracy.

Bernhard Schulte Shipmanagement (BSM) is an integrated maritime solutions provider and one of the world’s top-ranking ship managers, managing a fleet of 600 vessels. Improving procurement efficiency and digitalising processes is one of BSM’s top priorities.


The downsides of traditional procurement

“The procurement process between Wärtsilä and BSM was very traditional and time consuming,” explains a group manager at BSM Supply Chain Management. “Our system can’t read or convert PDFs so every price sent by PDF would need to be manually added to our system. When it was ten or so prices, that’s not too bad, but we could be specifying for a whole vessel with hundreds of line items. Not only does that take a long time, it also risks manual error – just one wrong decimal point or extra zero creates a lot of problems. The most obvious way to reduce this manual work was to have all the data go directly into our system.”


Tailored for a unique customer-specific solution

Wärtsilä worked with both MariApps and BSM to integrate Wärtsilä with smartPAL eConnect so the company would have one familiar system to use for their Wärtsilä procurement. “Generally the marine industry uses Marine Trading Markup Language (MTML) for e-commerce applications, so we used this logic to integrate smartPAL eConnect with Wärtsilä’s Digital Procurement Platform,” explains Kevin Vanderkerff, Online Manager, Customer Applications, Wärtsilä.

“Because the smartPAL eConnect software was customised, we had to make some changes to the MTML logic. This is something we’re happy to do for our customers – we use as much of the standard logic as possible, but then customise the solution to meet the needs of the company and the chosen procurement software.

- Kevin Vanderkerff, Online Manager, Customer Applications, Wärtsilä




Thorough testing leads to optimal results

Throughout the process testing was done on both sides to ensure the solution meets BSM’s needs exactly. “We tested all scenarios so we’d foresee any challenges that could come up in actual use,” explains the group manager at BSM Supply Chain Management. “Real-life testing of genuine scenarios is very important – often testers will just test individual procurement lines, but we told our testers, who at the later stages were the purchasers who would end up using the system, to imagine they were purchasing for an entire vessel and to match it to a real-life scenario. We checked if the results were what we expected and that the data and prices all matched. From a system building point of view it’s users that see the small things that may have been overlooked, so having our purchasers test the system was essential. Once this was done Wärtsilä made some final tweaks so the result was just what we needed. Cooperation with Wärtsilä was very easy, and the team were highly responsive to our queries and requests.”


Reduced effort for better results

BSM is now benefiting from a streamlined procurement process that removes unnecessary steps and repetitive manual tasks, saving time and effort and reducing the number of manual errors. “The results have been fantastic,” shares the group manager at BSM Supply Chain Management. “Purchasers can now procure parts for a whole vessel using a single channel and interface, and we get quotes back from Wärtsilä within 24 hours. This single vendor concept considerably reduces the effort and hours needed; it also makes everything easier to track as all information is available in the system no matter where people are in the world.

“I believe automation is key to optimising procurement and reducing manual labour. Integration has made procurement faster and easier because almost everything is automatic, saving us both time and manpower and allowing our staff to concentrate on other tasks.

“The value of the new process has been appreciated by all our users because their job has been made easier. We have reduced inefficiency and increased flexibility. We would recommend integration to any other companies in our position – it is definitely our intention to continue this partnership with Wärtsilä long into the future

- Group Manager at BSM Supply Chain Management



Read more at Wärtsilä Online 

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