BVG Berlin Transport Services
Well On Their Way: The BVG Gets Berlin Moving
Tourists exploring Germany’s capital by bus, tram, and subway, professionals who prefer to read the newspaper on their way to work instead of listening to traffic jam reports, night owls who need to get home late: they all rely on the Berlin Transport Services (Berliner Verkehrsbetriebe = BVG). Since 1929, the municipal service provider has been ensuring all its guests reach their destinations at the right time. Doing so requires perspective and flexibility – not just in handling traffic, but in corporate organization as well. An integrated solution based on nextPCM opened the path to more efficient contract management at BVG.
Berlin Transport Services (BVG) hits the road with EASY contract management for SAP
We can clarify questions on conditions or empirical values in a flash.”
Project manager Daniel Kühnle (L), here with Jacqueline Rada
Elaborate Route Network – If you’d like to take a 2,200 kilometre journey, you don’t have to travel from Berlin to Sevilla. Perhaps you’d prefer to not even leave the capital – if not, you can also cover this distance on the BVG: the municipal service provider, with 183 bus, streetcar, and subway lines, offers around 2,200 kilometres of routes. The roughly 3,000 trains and buses in Berlin travel an equivalent of almost 16 trips around the planet every day. With 13,600 employees, 400,000 subscribers, and more than a billion guests a year, the BVG is the largest municipal traffic operation in Europe.
It’s a good thing, too: Berlin is growing by leaps and bounds. Accordingly, the capital city depends on having highly capable local transportation options. Due to this need, the public agency is continuously modernizing its vehicle fleets and train stations, building new lines and tunnels, and consistently searching for potential areas of optimization.
Without the Berliner Verkehrsbetriebe (BVG), the national capital would quickly come to a standstill as far as public transportation is concerned. Annually, almost a billion people hop on one of the roughly 3,000 Berlin buses, streetcars, and subway trains. They reach their destinations around the clock on 151 bus routes, 22 streetcar, and ten subway lines. They even get there on time – when it comes to punctuality, the BVG has recently been performing even better than required. The institution is also doing well financially: since 2014, Europe’s largest municipal transportation organization has been in the black.
Source: BVG in numbers (2017)
Strategically Valuable Contract Management
As part of its work on optimization, the BVG put company-wide contract management under the microscope. Their goal was to manage contracts above a certain volume or with strategic importance more efficiently. This area may be concealing major efficiency reserves. At the BVG, more than 3,800 agreements meet these defined criteria, and 500 new ones are added annually. The vast majority of contracts are controlled in a decentralized manner through professional divisions. “Earlier, if someone wanted to view contract details from another division, they always needed to request a physical copy of the file in question. This was enormously time consuming and complex,” Jacqueline Rada from the BVG Legal and Compliance staffing division remembers. Legally conforming contract design, and reliably adhering to deadlines and terms, was also anything but simple. Resubmissions and written correspondence was not centrally managed, and therefore often wasn’t accessible right away. Because of this, there was great interest in digital contract management. “We wanted to create more transparency, take advantage of efficiency reserves, and accelerate processes,” project manager Daniel Kühnle from the BVG Business Development staffing division explains.
Deep Integration, Outstanding Price/ Performance Ratio
Using the integrated contract management solution nextPCM Contract Management from EASY SOFTWARE AG, the BVG has come much closer to meeting these goals. It links existing contract data from the transportation organization’s ERP system to additional documents and correspondence, and seamlessly integrates into the existing SAP landscape. “The deep integration into our SAP ERP system and the SAP certification of the solution were important factors in our decision when we awarded the contract,” emphasizes BVG attorney Jacqueline Rada, who worked on the introduction from the beginning. The functionality, user-friendly nature, and, last but not least, the good price / performance ratio of the solution also impressed the BVG.
After the starting shot for digital contract management was fired in 2013, a six-person BVG project team got to work right away. There was quite a bit to do, after all: they needed to map a total of 20 different contract types, implement checklists and testing routines, and establish text building blocks and workflows. Advisors from EASY SOFTWARE AG helped actively. “Above all in programming the interface to SAP real estate management and in formulating and demarcating the large number of text building blocks, the EASY experts really created a masterpiece,” Rada said, praising the high level of commitment from the implementation partners.
Contracts Available at the Touch of a Button
Today, a large number of different contracts are available to the different BVG professional divisions at the touch of a button. Contract history and associated documents are also transparent, as is contact data for responsible contact persons.
“We can clarify questions on conditions or empirical values in a flash,” praises project manager Daniel Kühnle. Administrators can insert e-mails and documents directly into digital files via drag & drop, or effortlessly link additional information on orders or specially financed contracts with the appropriate SAP data.
“The integrated contract management provides all relevant information in a clear and easy to understand way. No one has to wade through the depths of the SAP system anymore,” Jacqueline Rada is pleased to report. A polished reporting concept also ensures that employees are only allowed to view or edit the content relevant for their work.
Vacancy Levels Reduced
Thanks to automated reminders, deadlines and terms can also be observed in a reliable fashion. “It all adds up. It means the responsible processor always has upcoming termination deadlines, options, and discounts right there on the screen, since they get e-mails to inform them of these,” Jaqueline Rada says. Checklists lead employees through the process of contract creation step by step, informing them when approvals and documents are required. A selection menu allows them to effortlessly insert pre-defined text building blocks. This provides a foundation for greater legal security. “This helps avoid potential errors in transferring text or due to unclear formulations,” Jacqueline Rada says.
This speeds up contract conclusions and amendments enormously, for instance in real estate management. “Above all, managing the more than 150 store locations in our train stations and on the streets of Berlin is an extremely dynamic process,” as project manager Daniel Kühnle knows. After all, this project requires the efficient management of around 2,000 rental contracts plus invoicing for utility costs.
No More Headaches
Thanks to EASY nextPCM, the Berliners can save themselves the headache. Digital contract management is interwoven with the SAP real estate solution (SAP Real Estate Management) through an interface. If master data or contract details change in the SAP system, the integrated solution completes the adjustment immediately, making it possible to initiate any other necessary steps. This smooths the path for more efficient processes. For example, the solution automatically reviews conditions and utilization concepts at the end of a contract, and initiates renovation and reconstruction measures as needed.
Overall, integrated contract management is today creating clarity, transparency, and smooth collaboration across division boundaries at Berliner Verkehrsbetriebe. “Thanks to EASY nextPCM, we’re able to share available information in the blink of an eye,” says Rada. This is a major advantage – as we all know, two heads are always better than one.