Case Study Messe Frankfurt

SAP Integrated External Service Management at the Flick of a Switch

Wiesbaden, Germany, June 2013

The company Messe Frankfurt handles the ordering and billing of its service assignments by using the internet platform Futura SRM provided by Futura Solutions GmbH. Thanks to its SAP integration, the solution of Wiesbaden’s software experts in planning, purchasing and billing accelerates the external service management and grants the Messe great relief during the billing process.  

By means of a few numbers Jutta Burckhardt illustrates the importance of service purchasing for Messe Frankfurt. As the SAP coordinator, Mrs. Burckhardt is working at the interface between the purchasing department and the IT.   Approximately 40,000 exhibitors from a wide variety of branches are coming to Frankfurt every year in order to present new products and the latest innovations in 10 fair halls (355,678 square meters of exhibition space and 96,000 square meters of open terrain). They have to be provided with services like fair stands and their setup, installation of lighting systems, floor fitting in the fair halls, spotlights, signposts for the halls, hostesses or security services, just to mention a few. As a whole, the procurement of services makes a difference of about 175 millions of Euro every year.

“The flexible handling of orders and the enormous facilitation of work attributable to the deep integration in SAP were the main reasons for our decision in favor of Futura SRM”, Jutta Burckhardt, in charge of the SAP coordination at Messe Frankfurt


Now, one might think that the handling of external service management could be planned just as easily as the 30 exhibitions organized by the Frankfurt-based Fair Company in their hometown (100 exhibitions worldwide). Far from close: “Those are mostly ‘unplanned’ services” states Mrs. Burkhardt. According to her, the reasons for this could be: some exhibitors suddenly withdraw from their agreement others want a larger fair stand, or more spotlights than originally planned. If the worst comes to the worst, a fork lifter will destroy a newly set up side of a fair stand. And all of a sudden, a new ‘unplanned’ service commission has become due, says Mrs. Burkhardt.  

Location-independent processing of orders  
While the Fair Trade procurement department was still using a self-made software solution, the handling of orders was “complicated and time consuming” recollects Mrs. Burkhardt.   “Moreover the capacity of the former system was limited”. And an extension would have been expensive. Therefore, Messe Frankfurt chose a new solution, namely Futura SRM, the internet platform integrated in SAP provided by Futura Solutions. The advantages are overwhelming. To use the platform, purchasing agents and suppliers need only an internet access and a browser. Users and suppliers, both appreciate the solution’s easy and clearly arranged user interface.  

Over the platform, suppliers communicate and transact their services for Messe Frankfurt. Thus, you can access orders launched in SAP almost everywhere – in the office, outdoors, at the trade fair, in short, wherever there’s an internet access. Online, over the platform, suppliers can enter their activity recordings or the measurement of already accomplished work for each order. Therefore, they refer to the items of their framework contract, which specifies the price for each and every single service item. Likewise, the contracting authorities in the specialist department verify and revise the already implemented services and can also have them cleared online. Until approval, there can be as many revision loops as necessary.  

No invoice verification  
The billing too has been highly simplified and accelerated. “Because the services settled in the framework contract are taken over with fixed prices, only quantity checks have to be made.” Mrs. Burkhardt points this out as a great advantage.   This means that the respective specialist department (requisitioner of the service) now only has to check whether the quantity schedules/measurements submitted online are correct, for instance the square meters of fitted floor or the amount of delivered spotlights. As soon as the activity recordings are enabled, corresponding activity entry sheets are being automatically created by the SAP system of the Messe. Thus, the service provider can receive a credit note in a minimum of time.  

Usually, the supplier receives the credit note within 14 days, previously, they had to wait several weeks for their money from time to time because paper invoices passed through many stations and departments. “This means enormous time saving for the purchasing and billing process” highlights Mrs. Burkhardt.

The Facts  

Messe Frankfurt, with a total revenue of 538 Million Euro (preliminary numbers 2012) and 1,891 employees worldwide, is the biggest German trade fair company. The company group holds a global network of 28 affiliated companies and about 50 international distribution partners. Thereby, Messe Frankfurt is present in about 150 countries through its customers. Events “made by Messe Frankfurt” are being held at over 30 venues all over the world. In 2012, Messe Frankfurt organized over 109 trade fairs, half of which were being held abroad.

At present, on its 578,000 square meters ground area, there are 10 exhibition halls and an affiliated conference center. The company belongs to the public sector, shareholders are the City of Frankfurt holding 60 % and the federal state Hessen holding 40%.  

The expenses of Messe Frankfurt are considerable. Each year, it is awarding service orders amounting to 175 million Euros for stand building, lighting systems, carpet floors, spotlights, signposting, security services and the maintenance of the 10 exhibition halls. Up to now, they used a self-made software solution for the awarding and clearing processes which was much too complicated and limited in respect of service.  

In 2009, out of three providers, among them SAP, Messe Frankfurt chose the SRM solution offered by the Wiesbaden-based company Futura Solutions. Main reasons: the enormous facilitation of work, the quick handling of services, the intuitive mode of operation, high flexibility and the deep integration in SAP, especially because Messe Frankfurt is employing various SAP modules (Release 4.6).  


  •   Mobile handling of orders, service contractors need only access to the internet
  •   Online verification of activity recordings, the verifier needs no SAP license
  •   Automatic creation of activity entry sheet in SAP
  •   Correct depletion of commitment for a better release of resources
  •   Invoice verification can be skipped
  •   Enabling of credit note procedures
  •   Suppliers receive payment earlier (credit note) Secure revision and billing