TIER mobility, the emerging leader in sustainable urban transportation, is working to reshape city landscapes around the world by offering accessible and affordable mobility solutions. A fully climate-neutral company, TIER is committed to reducing all charging, product, operational, and transportation emissions for a more sustainable environment.
Surpassing 500 employees in under three years, TIER needed a solution that could keep up with their growth and pace. Based in Berlin and quickly expanding throughout the EU, TIER’s procurement covers the areas of transportation, hardware, software, consultants, and more, from hundreds of different vendors.
With rapidly growing procurement operations, TIER needed to introduce a proper process for purchase requests and approvals, booking goods received, and onboarding new vendors. Initially TIER tried to build their entire P2P process on NetSuite, which quickly proved to be too technical for the many non-finance stakeholders involved. TIER had to find a better way to deploy a process that remained simple and flexible while being integrated into NetSuite ERP.
TIER’s main procurement challenges were:
1. Struggling to align a fast-growing team with multiple subsidiaries to a single process. With over a hundred stakeholders and multiple subsidiaries, TIER’s process needed to serve requesters and approvers from multiple units such as operations, marketing, R&D, and facilities, as well as stakeholders from accounting, FP&A, information systems, legal, and security, some of which needing to oversee all purchases and vendors. TIER also had a strict timeline for new tool implementation that was far shorter than most solutions could accommodate. Fast implementation, full user onboarding, and easy adoption throughout the organization were required in a matter of weeks.
2. Onboarded vendors were not approved by finance before being imported to NetSuite.
A limited and difficult-to-use vendor approval process meant employees struggled to see whether a vendor already existed in NetSuite. Too often, purchase orders were created against duplicate vendor requests before those duplicates could be denied. This required the finance team to go back and manually correct the errors of this process. Ultimately, TIER wanted more control of the data being poured into NetSuite in order to avoid this type of vendor confusion, and excess work, altogether.
3. Employee-facing procurement operations were too technical.
Without an easy-to-use procurement tool, it’s hard to get all employees operating it consistently and correctly. TIER’s employees found it too difficult to create POs directly in NetSuite. There was a need to add important criteria to these POs beyond just a department, such as specific geographical locations. NetSuite was not the right tool to accommodate all requirements properly. Furthermore, the PO approval flows were very inflexible which also led to slower approvals and manual rework.
4. Finance became involved with too much day-to-day maintenance.
Because the above criteria could not be added to the POs, more manual work became required. Employees would need to consult directly with finance team leaders in order to achieve the custom orders and approval flows they desired.
Deploying fast is important to us as a company who is growing and changing fast. We need high-quality, quick-working, and flexible tools that keep up with us as we can’t afford to be slowed down by a long deployment process.Markus Stellmach, Senior Manager Finance Systems
The new solution for TIER would also need to provide:
- An easy way for procurement-facing employees to know which vendors TIER is already happily working with
- A vendor onboarding process that allows financial approvers to be involved early on
- Streamlined and flexible PRs and POs that are adapted to their specific structure
- The ability to quickly customize PRs and POs according to subsidiary need
- Total visibility into all expenditures for both finance and procurement teams
- A system that requires very low maintenance and can easily scale with their organization as it grows to thousands of employees
“We wanted to work with a young, flexible, and dynamic company. We recommend that organizations in a similar stage understand that it’s not just about finding a tool fit, it’s about a culture fit as well.”
Markus Stellmach, Senior Manager Finance Systems
After researching many procurement tools, TIER found that Approve.com provided the speed, along with quality they needed to support their growing team. They integrated Approve.com with NetSuite, allowing users to easily submit and approve PRs and vendor requests, as well as stay on top of all past and current procurement processes with ease. Now the finance team is free from managing daily maintenance tasks and spends their time focusing on more critical business endeavors.
“The deployment process was very helpful. Approve.com had all the answers, they were ready to tell us exactly what information they needed and at what time.”Markus Stellmach, Senior Manager Finance Systems
This is a huge feat for a company of TIER’s complexity. Today TIER uses Approve.com for every employee-facing procurement operation. They have already processed an impressive volume of requests which they expect to more than double by the end of the quarter.
TIER Mobility Tips and Recommendations:
- Involve stakeholders early in the process and allow them to define requirements. TIER involved all relevant departments and stakeholders in the deployment process from the very beginning, encouraging all users to commit and participate with their own focus and responsibilities.
- Appoint an internal project manager to sync between teams and gather provided feedback. This order and structure made it easier to collaborate with Approve.com’s team and provide the necessary data outlining their new process; from direct reports, to specifications of departments, locations, and dependencies.
- Invest in a solution with a well-structured onboarding process. TIER’s commitment from the start, paired with the ease and comfort Approve.com’s onboarding team provided, eliminated the need for limited deployment and multiple iterations – ultimately expediting the process.