Supply Chain support, P2P, and ERP implementation at a Brussels mobility startup21 February 2023
A fast-growing Brussels-based startup in mobility solutions faced significant challenges amidst the COVID-19 crisis.
In combination with an Odoo ERP implementation, the pandemic situation caused a steep rise in the workload of their Supply Chain Team.
As the ERP was being implemented by MI&S project manager Julie Van Tuyckom, the company called on TriFinance again. CFO Services project consultant Caroline Maton stepped in to support the Supply Chain team in meeting their inbound logistics requirements.
Supporting the Supply Chain during the Covid-19 crisis
As the company was simultaneously searching for a logistics manager. Caroline started on an assignment limited to a duration of three months.
Initially, she focused on managing critical suppliers, ensuring that goods were dispatched on time, and on selecting cost-efficient logistics options. She coordinated with forwarders to organize transportation with appropriate documentation for customs clearance. In the volatile context that included price increases, suppliers lockdown, and quality issues, it also was crucial for her to maintain sustainable supplier relationships
Although Caroline was used to working for big international companies, she loved the start-up vibe. ‘Working for a start-up was a new experience for me,’ she says, ‘The energy of the young, international team, combined with the fast-moving environment of a relatively small business was highly invigorating.’
Working for a start-up was new for me. The energy of the young, international team, combined with the fast-moving environment of a relatively small business was highly invigorating.
Caroline Maton, Project consultant CFO Services
Setting up the Odoo ERP
In addition to external logistics challenges, the Supply Chain team was heavily involved in the implementation of the new Odoo ERP, which went live in July 2021 but was not fully operational at the time Caroline started her Supply Chain project. She stepped in to help the ERP team define standard processes, working closely with project manager Julie Van Tuyckom to improve the ERP.
‘Initially, the Supply Chain team was using Airtable,’ Caroline says. ‘A legacy system that provided database functionality through a spreadsheet platform. Because certain features were not yet fully functional in Odoo, we had to work with both systems in parallel.’
While improving the purchasing module, the TriFinance experts addressed reporting views, system bugs, and customized certain features to obtain accurate data. They also designed processes for inbound logistics options with the supply chain team. Eventually, they transitioned to using Odoo as the sole source for managing purchase orders and inbound logistics.
Following management approval of the P2P process design, the project plan was expanded to include other key activities such as educating vendors on invoice requirements, configuring various technical features in Odoo, and change management
Julie Van Tuyckom, Project consultant MI&S
The benefits of integrating P2P into the ERP
During the implementation of the Odoo ERP, Julie primarily focused on Finance processes. The TriFinance team quickly came to the conclusion that integrating further processes into the system would be advantageous.
Because no Procure to Pay process was in place, the company was using Spendesk (Company cards & spend management software) to manually approve and pay invoices. This caused a really low level of process control, a high risk of duplicate payments, and manual time-consuming work.
The TriFinance experts collaborated to build a full P2P process in Odoo, taking into consideration business and system constraints. One of the key features of the process was the implementation of PO/invoice reconciliation in Odoo. They continued with the Finance setup, established a link with the online sales Shopify platform, and eventually transitioned to the new Odoo version.
Following management approval of the P2P process design, the project plan was expanded to include other key activities. These activities included educating vendors on invoice requirements, configuring various technical features in Odoo, and addressing a significant change management challenge related to roles and responsibilities. Several workshops involving various stakeholders were organized to overcome this challenge.
‘Caroline's knowledge of P2P processes was invaluable,’ Julie says. ‘Our combined knowledge of software and processes made design, implementation, training, and documentation feasible and realistic. This procedure is still in place and will be extended to other teams.’