Based in the historic city of Bonn along Germany’s Rhine River, Stadtwerke Bonn provides gas, electricity, and water to residents, with a mission of delivering “fair and climate-friendly energy” with exceptional customer service.
Guided by their mission, Stadtwerke Bonn set strategic goals to reduce operational costs while improving customer satisfaction. Achieving these goals would require more streamlined, efficient internal processes that support continuous improvement.
A key piece of Stadtwerke Bonn’s customer service strategy is the self-service online portal customers use to self-report their meter readings, among other activities. The portal is a critical piece of meter-to-cash (M2C) operations. With 367,000 total meter readings leading to invoices between January 2020 and April 2021, it’s easy to see how delays can occur and how even small error rates can have a serious impact. Adding to the complexity, the portal is not the only contact channel used for collecting meter readings. Other methods include emailing cards, providing customer notifications by phone, using bot-supported system processing, and visiting with customers in person.
To determine where to start process improvement efforts, Stadtwerke Bonn launched a process mining initiative with Appian to get a look under the hood of its M2C workflows.
Stadtwerke Bonn turned to Appian Process Mining to identify and address problem areas where rework and manual activities were slowing progress.
Taking a look at their real-world process flows uncovered several opportunities for improvement. For example, the process mining analysis revealed roughly 75% of Stadtwerke Bonn’s plausibility checks were unnecessary. These unnecessary plausibility checks in M2C operations could account for up to 571 working days. With these problems identified and quantified, the team was able to take informed action and optimize the M2C system’s plausibility limits.
Appian worked closely with Stadtwerke Bonn to integrate process mining capabilities into its optimization projects, embedding process mining controls into its internal control systems. Process mining also helped Stadtwerke Bonn find new value opportunities by automating manual tasks, enabling them to increase the automation involved in creating settlements and documents with RPA, IDP, and other automation capabilities of the Appian Platform.And with data fabric, which provides unified and dynamic access to all IT systems, Stadtwerke Bonn can make changes to external systems such as SAP quickly.
Armed with data-driven insight, Stadtwerke Bonn was able to discover and address process inefficiencies, resulting in more efficient workflows and time-saving automation that optimizes operations, reduces costs, and boosts customer satisfaction.
"With process mining, Stadtwerke Bonn was able to consistently measure the degree of automation in its M2C process for the first time."