Case Study Thüga

Inviting for a tender - faster and at higher quality

Wiesbaden, December 2008

The holding company of the largest network of municipal energy suppliers in Germany, Thüga AG in Munich, will carry out its whole future procurement process with the eSourcing solution myFutura from the software company Futura Solutions GmbH, Wiesbaden, Germany. "We made the decision in favour of myFutura because of the already current and standardised integration into the existing SAP system from Thüga", said Ralf Winter, head and official representative of the Thüga procurement department.

This will finally end the times of what Ralf Winter describes as "manual implementation in procurement". In the future, Thüga will also show the benefits of the procurement solution myFutura to its affiliates, true to the company motto: persuading rather than overruling. Major partner companies such as Mainova in Frankfurt, badenova AG & Co. KG in Freiburg, ESWE Versorgungs AG in Wiesbaden, Stadtwerke Hannover AG and N-ERGIE AG in Nuremberg have already chosen myFutura. Ralf Winter estimates that 30 to 40 Thüga partner companies have such large purchase volumes of materials and services, that they may consider using the eSourcing platform myFutura.

In the Thüga Group, the roles between the partner companies and Thüga as the core of the group are distributed synergetically. The affiliates work actively for their local and regional markets, while Thüga assumes the networking features such as the attraction of new partners, giving expert advice as well as the coordination and presentation of procurement projects for the group.  Thüga has the task to fulfill the so-called mandate shopping for its affiliates by bundling, tendering and awarding A-materials such as cables, pipes, transformers, electricity meters and gas meters. In addition, civil engineering and installation services for energy networks are advertised for many affiliates on a single standard service specification.

The aim of joint purchasing: scale and synergy effects, to achieve better conditions and to avoid redundant procurement processes. According to Ralf Winter “the cost of construction and maintenance of mains power supplies is determined significantly” by the procurement of A-materials as well as construction and installation services. Beyond mandate shopping, partner companies have significant additional procurement volume, e.g. for their own power plants in operation. What is more, many affiliates provide a purchasing service for other municipal companies, such as waste disposal or transport companies. The implementation of the procurement solution myFutura can be useful for inviting tenders for this kind of procurement groups.

In total, Thüga alone invites about 400 tenders per year, "Europe-wide", emphasises Ralf Winter. Between 20 and 50 suppliers would participate in service calls respectively, in materials an average of ten companies. In the past they received the tender documents as an Excel spreadsheet via email, fax or by mail delivery. The disadvantage of this "manual practise": "We never knew whether the recipient had received the documents, whether he had taken a look at them and whether he would participate in the tender", says Ralf Winter. Since the Thüga uses myFutura, the nine Thüga buyers automatically receive status reports on the state of things.

Even more problematic, according to Ralf Winter, was the evaluation of the tenders. To merge around 30 offers with 500 items into one price comparison list meant considerable manual effort. "Instead of obtaining and preparing information laboriously by hand, we now invest our time without the potential for error in a sound evaluation", says Markus Anthofer, as the project manager responsible for the introduction of the myFutura solution.

One year after introducing myFutura, Thüga already carry out a third of all calls on the platform. In three years at the latest it should be 100 percent. The reason: many valid frame contracts with contract periods of two to three years will only then be due for renewal. On the strength of past experience Thüga buyers confirm the decision in favour of myFutura. "The entire bidding process has become much faster, with better quality", says Ralf Winter. Today the first price comparison list is already available shortly after the end of the bidding period. And finally, the buyers have "transparency in the entire tendering process of sending and receiving". Merging the offers is now more comfortable.

The existing and standardised integration with SAP was decisive for choosing myFutura: "The solution of Futura Solutions was the most developed", says Ralf Winter. He and Markus Anthofer also speak highly of the easy interchange of file formats. It allows their suppliers to deliver their offers in GAEB (a German construction file format) or Excel format. What is especially important for purchasing professionals is that a procurement solution creates a bridge, rather than a barrier. "We want to offer the bidders, including small companies, a comfortable bidding process", says Ralf Winter.

For good reasons there is no lack of recommendations for the eSourcing platform myFutura.

About Thüga AG
In Germany, Thüga AG is affiliated with some 110 companies mainly as a minority shareholder. More than 100 of them are energy providers, forming the Thüga Group. It is the largest network of municipal suppliers, amongst others Mainova in Frankfurt, ESWE Versorgungs AG in Wiesbaden, the N-ENERGIE AG in Nuremberg and Stadtwerke Essen AG. Thüga Group supplies 3.9 million customers with gas and 3.5 million customers with electricity. Its approximately 20,000 employees lastly generated sales of EUR 15.5 billion.

About Futura Solutions GmbH

Futura Solutions provides companies, who have complex planning, procurement and maintenance tasks across departmental boundaries, with integrated software solutions to increase efficiency and control of supplier relationships. Futura
´s solutions can be embedded into existing IT systems such as SAP and are being used by companies such as Bahn AG, BASF, Bayer, GSW, RWE and Salzgitter Flachstahl AG.