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Heli achieves better customer experience with SAP S/4HANA transformation

Paul Smitherman |

How Heli’s large rental construction equipment business solved its planning, scheduling and invoicing challenges with SAP S/4HANA and scheduling platform

Managing the hire, sales and service of large construction equipment requires swift and effective planning and scheduling, as well as clear financial visibility. How you prioritise your operations, manage maintenance and servicing will be critical to the success of your business.

Transforming your technology not only optimises planning and logistics and delivers considerable savings, it delivers speed and efficiency into your business. SAP S/4HANA and Ready4 Advanced Scheduling is already making this possible for many of our customers in the construction industry, but some firms are still not leveraging the full power of SAP technology to drive their business forward.

Heli, a leading company in the Belgian rental business in the segment of aerial work platforms, is one business that is successfully transforming its technology to leverage planning and logistics in its sales, rental and servicing operations. Discover how they achieved automated efficiencies and the benefits they gained.

Fast visualisation of the rental business

Heli has 1,250 units of large construction equipment in its fleet, and around 600 machines are hired out at any given time. The planning department arranges to collect and deliver 100 machines a day, using 25 dedicated trucks to transport equipment around Belgium simultaneously meeting customers’ fast and constantly changing needs.

The team of Heli planners use Ready4 Advanced Scheduling to gain visualisation of stock management, availability of resources and machines for hire. With a few clicks, they can easily schedule trucks, machines and resources, and make last minute changes if customers call. Senior management has much more operational traceability and visibility. They can see exactly what’s happening in the field at any one time, how many work orders are in progress and what is being despatched.

Integration of financial and operational data

Gaining faster and more accurate financial information and analytics was a key driver for Heli’s transformation to SAP S/4HANA. One of the challenges the firm had faced was a lack of visibility of invoices and financial data, and spare parts and warehousing were not linked.

With SAP S/4HANA, Heli has a much more advanced ERP than before and can ensure all its maintenance and support activities across the fleet are effective, cost-efficient and integrated with finance. Maintaining oversight of the ROI of all equipment and trucks, Heli ensures customer pricing is spot on and that delivery costs and planning is optimised.

Heli’s invoicing process was another key driver for change. A small customer service team handles 2,000 rental invoices each month, equating to around 100 invoices per day. The process was manual and stressful and could take until day 15 of each month to complete customer invoicing, creating stressful situations in the finance department in order to meet strict deadlines for VAT and other financial reporting.

The team has successfully reduced the month-end invoice cycle by around 15 days. 90% of invoicing is now automated and achieved within two days of the month, with customers receiving standardised bills promptly. This time saving allows a much easier and faster financial reporting and cash management.

Global financial accounting and control is transparent, and the firm can provide global invoicing to customers where required. Profit centre statements give a clear picture of the revenue and performance of the firm’s rental operations, sales of new equipment, maintenance activities, spare part and training.

Cost-effective project management

Part of Heli’s business is High and Safe, creating and installing individual and collective safety systems for rooftop working environments. Cost-effective project management is critical to its commercial and operational success and the new integrated solution gives Heli 100% visibility on the profitability for this segment of the business. Profit calculations are automated with the push of a button, and together with cost-effective planning and management help to steer the organisation.

Creating synergy within the business for a great future

Heli is seeing big improvements from SAP S/4HANA and Ready4 Advanced Scheduling. Information workflows improve collaboration and there is enhanced integration between finance and logistics, with better visibility of stock management, resources, tools and rental equipment.

The future is exciting as Heli looks to expand and become a more agile business, becoming less dependent on specific depot locations and reducing transportation costs.

The SAP platform is all about scale and efficiency. It provides the organisation with the integration, automation and visibility it needs, from invoicing, ROI on equipment through to collection and delivery.

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