Case Study: Ferrari North America
Providing the IT expertise needed to develop a highly effective application for purchase order workflow automation
About the customer
Ferrari North America in Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey oversees importation, distribution and sales of new and pre-owned Ferrari automobiles in the United States, Canada and Mexico. They host high-profile motorsports events such as the American Le Mans and Ferrari Challenge series. In addition, the Ferrari Club of America is the largest Ferrari club today with 6,000 members.
Slow, manual, inefficient purchase order process
Lacked visibility into purchase order request workflow
New automation technology planned — but months down the road
The purchasing process at Ferrari North America was a little less than a well-oiled machine. Various operating groups procured products and services without automated technology to issue, route and approve purchase orders. With a formal solution from their Italian headquarters too far off, Ferrari wanted an immediate way to automate their purchase order workflow.
Having previously worked with Ricoh, for application support and SharePoint® expertise, we were the natural go-to partner to develop a interim solution that leveraged Ferrari's existing SharePoint intranet portal.
Automated purchase order request workflow
Built-in dashboard for visibility and accountability
Transparency to track purchase orders
Notifications generated and routed automatically
Enthusiastic user acceptance and adoption
With its interim purchase order request workflow application developed by Ricoh in place, Ferrari North America was able to shift its culture toward greater accountability and streamlined procurement.“
I expected a little more push-back from our business groups with this change, but Ricoh built the application with an intuitive design and user acceptance was very good,” said Grissom. “Within two months, everyone was very ingrained in the application.
”Ferrari North America’s purchase order request workflow application also provided a dashboard that Grissom visited several times a day to see all the orders that had been submitted, what was lingering and what needed to be approved. Before the application, he had to send purchase orders to the CEO or to Italy if a certain dollar level had been reached. Through the application, Grissom was able to simply send screen shots from the dashboard via email and convey information much more quickly and concisely.“
The dashboard really brought visibility and accountability to our procurement process,” said Grissom. Running up to eight Ferrari Challenge events kept the Ferrari North America staff on its toes. Being able to create separate purchase orders by event—and specific requests for hotels, events, tracks, etc.—made its procurement processes much more transparent.
“It’s a great way to provide a capsule of what it takes to do our races,” said Grissom. “All the costs were broken down and we knew exactly what we were approving.
”With several development projects now complete, Ricoh has become Ferrari North America’s go-to partner for applications. Down the road, if the luxury sports car importer needs a solution implemented quickly and done right, they know who to call.
“If we need an add-on piece, we know we can get exactly what we need from Ricoh to make our company more efficient and shore up our processes,” said Grissom. “If you’re looking for a specialized module for some functionality that you’ve been missing, I’d recommend enlisting the expertise of Ricoh.”
How We Did It
Custom application development and integration with existing general ledger application
Clear understanding of unique procurement challenges
Conducted user acceptance testing to streamline onboarding
To make the right recommendation, Ricoh first needed to fully understand Ferrari North America’s business challenges to define how automation could be achieved through better purchase order request workflow. For example, what approval gates were needed? What dollar amount thresholds could be approved? The Ricoh team also needed to understand how to extract information or place information into another general ledger line of business application, Masterpiece®.
Ricoh worked with Ferrari North America and representatives from Masterpiece to develop a clear picture of what needed to be done. They presented their solution to Ferrari North America—leveraging the company’s existing SharePoint intranet portal to build an automated purchase order request workflow.
“From a development standpoint, Ricoh really understood the technology aspects of what we needed— dropdowns of all our suppliers, cost centers and key data,” said Grissom. “They also understood what we didn’t need because we weren’t going to be using this application for the next 10 years.
”With full buy-in from Ferrari North America, Ricoh proceeded to create the automated purchase order request workflow. They developed the custom application and conducted user acceptance testing. After successful user testing, Ricoh then went into full production of the application and finished with stabilization so the application could be maintained.
Once up and running Ferrari North America’s new purchase order request workflow pulled suppliers and account data directly from Masterpiece so authorized employees could automatically generate purchase order requests. Through the application, the purchase orders were routed to a requestor’s manager, the controller and Grissom for approval and then saved to the Masterpiece shared folder. Once a purchase order request was approved, the requestor received an email along with a unique purchase order number.
If a new supplier needed to be added, the application automatically routed a request to the requestor’s manager and the controller for approval. If approved, it was then sent to accounts payable to create a new Masterpiece vendor ID, which was then imported daily to the portal so purchase orders could be generated. The requestor automatically received an email notification if the request was rejected. In turn, they were notified via email after an approved request received an ID number.
“The application worked really well and we saw the benefits from using it,” said Grissom. “It gave us absolute accountability for our business groups in terms of what they were requesting and why. They were no longer bringing us manual purchase orders that were difficult to track.”