Celonis Special Part 5: Tracking Down Inefficient Processes
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Celonis Special Part 5: Tracking Down Inefficient Processes

Every specialist department’s processes has its weak spots. Process Mining enables users to exploit this slumbering potential.

This E-3 Special is available for download at the bottom of the page.

A good example for use of Process Mining is the classic processes in Purchasing – after all, these cover a wide variety of transactions. Approvals, deadlines and internal regulations result in a lot of complexity, further increased by the quantity of suppliers and their individual terms and conditions of business.

Only by end-to-end analysis and optimization of the purchasing process, companies can deal with this complexity.


Done right, users can for instance avoid work duplications like those resulting from subsequent changes to prices or quantities.

In the supply chain, shorter product cycles, a reduced level of depth of production, but also the trend towards outsourcing more and more steps in manufacturing, all lead to a greater dependence on external suppliers and service-providers.

The challenge in this context is to improve these processes’compliance level and efficiency. Another requirement is to unequivocally identify the causes of inefficiencies such as delays in delivery or high stock levels.

Celonis Process Mining here puts customers into a position to reliably fulfil promises regarding deliveries and shorter deadlines. An analysis of the actual processes helps in assessing various players involved and in purposefully directing all flows of material and information.

Users can see at a glance whether the material and personnel resources are readily at hand, with at each stage in the supply chain, or if bottlenecks could occur.

In IT Service Management, it becomes possible to cut the tickets’throughput-times and to avoid ’a game of pingpong’. This can obviously significantly cut cost.

Yet Celonis Process Mining is also used by subject-specialist and IT departments, on projects aimed at process harmonization. This is done to determine project status and to continuously measure the level of progress.

Auditing departments and certified public accountants deploy Process Mining to identify irregularities and breaches of compliance regulations. The software is used to set up audit plans, to conduct the check, and for the follow-up work. What is often underestimated is the need to cleanse the processes prior to a migration.

For instance, if a company switches to S/4 Hana, that could be a good moment for correcting processes’ inefficiencies. That way, a more optimum ROI can be attained for the new solution.

In example, possibly an uncontrolled growth of special cases and patches has established itself over the years, favoring process variations. In some companies, several instances of SAP were used.

This increases the likelihood that unwanted process variations have taken shape in the various ERP systems. Celonis tracks down all these deviations. It can benchmark them and unify the system prior to the consolidation, creating a better starting point for the migration.

Examples From Practice

Process Mining yields results. Across all areas of its use, companies achieved a process-costs reduction of up to 30 percent – merely by reducing process loops or manual activities.

Company-critical processes are often analyzed by using millions of runs, for instance in a supply chain. This is why improvements that fine-tune individual and decisive ’adjusting screws’ in the process can already lead to major cost optimizations.


In principle, Process Mining can be applied to data from all data-source systems. For instance, the Bayer group uses Celonis technology to analyze data from its (more than ten) SAP systems. Siemens analyzes data from more than 70 SAP ECC systems globally, on a central SAP Hana platform.

Celonis Process Mining comes into play directly on this platform with over 2000 users. Now more than 30 different processes are analyzed, for instance purchase-topay or order-to-cash.

Schukat Electronic

Also medium-sized companies benefit significantly from Process Mining. The best example of this is Schukat Electronic in Monheim, a distributor of electronic components with 25,000 products in its portfolio.

Schukat has been using SAP since 2009. In 2012 it was one of the first companies to deploy Business Warehouse based on Hana. Initially Celonis was deployed in Purchasing, to evaluate suppliers.

A pilot project on the existing Hana infrastructure proved that Celonis is the tool for the job. This included requirements in speed, transparency created, and the possibility to draw conclusions quickly from the analysis. It even meant that the effect of the measures taken could be observed rapidly.

Within only two weeks, the first assessments were presented. Now Purchasing knows exactly who supplies reliably, within what stated lead-time; it can conduct follow-up negotiations and can award orders in an even more targeted way.
To improve the throughput of goods, Schukat followed up by analyzing the warehouse data. This is where the genuine added-value is located but also where the delays were presumed to be.

Based on data from an SAP Extended Warehouse Management system, Celonis supplies information on orders, from the registration of the delivery note in the warehouse, right through to the actual supply – bit by bit.

The analysis produced a positive surprise. In that department, hardly any time was lost. Recent years’steps aimed at optimization were successful.

With the help of Celonis Process Mining, it was clearly proven that the actual bottlenecks had emerged on the sales side. There were media breaks and self-created obstacles, e.g. supply-stops to a specific client, or credit management. In addition, not all orders were worked-through, start to finish, on an automated basis.

Celonis was able to create end-to-end transparency, presenting the management with many points of approach for optimization. As a bonus, the required resource commitment for the analysis was limited.

Furthermore, a process-mining assessment in Celonis is built up on a one-off basis.

After the first assessment, the data is continuously and automatically updated in the background. Thanks to Hana, the updates happen quickly enough for a user not to notice while always providing the user with the latest data.

Within each process step, the decision-makers can analyze precisely what has happened in the given case. Now Schukat has insight, an overview and process transparency, everywhere.

Von Ardenne

The mechanical-engineering company Von Ardenne achieved similar results. In 2013, Process Mining was deployed as part of introducing SAP and bringing together what previously had been a very heterogeneous system landscape.

The technology was initially used in the purchase-to-pay (P2P) process, specifically in supplier monitoring and in the strategic and operational product purchasing. The results were so convincing that the Service department also declared its wish to use it.

Today, Service uses the software for analyzing the service process, spanning the SAP and CRM systems respectively. Further analyses are in the pipeline, for instance in Quality Management, ITSM or in Project Management.

Von Ardenne has also recognized untapped potential in Production: from placing the order to product delivery, the plan is to use Process Mining to analyze throughput-times and data. In doing so, the goal is to plan better and more efficiently and to use the insights in business-analytics procedures.


E-3 Magazine (German) - April 2017

About the author

Benedikt Friedl, Celonis

Benedikt Friedl is Business Analytics Manager at Celonis and responsible for the Data Sience department.

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