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#SAPRunsSAP: How We Saved €340K Per Year

Recently, I was reminded once again how ‘SAP Runs SAP’ happens everywhere even driven by individual colleagues. I’d like to share with you a story exemplifying how anyone can make a difference and greatly affect our workforce to Run Better.

SAP’s idea management program is the idea hub for SAP employees. Submitting a winning idea – one that is implemented – strengthens SAP processes and innovation efforts.

To give you some perspective, in 2013:

• 733 ideas submitted

• 214 ideas implemented

• €70 thousand paid out to idea submitters

• €20 million saved over the past 5 years for business benefit

What is referred to as ‘Idea No. 16926’ (submitted in 2012 by Sven Schrothe, Sales Support Expert, SAP) organically demonstrates how SAP runs SAP. Using the SAP® Customer Relationship Management (SAP CRM) application, mail room employees can now efficiently process returned mail and constantly update customer data. What is the result of this? Higher data quality, improved compliance, and reduced cost of redundant mailings with outdated addresses.


Strictly talking numbers, there is a benefit equal to €340,000 savings per year. SAP communicates with customers across a broad set of media channels. Promotional mailings are an important part of those efforts. Customers are targeted proactively with campaigns that include imaginatively constructed teasers and exclusive gifts. Keeping mailing lists up-to-date is a key to the success of these campaigns. In the past, however, change-of-address information from postal returns often never made it past the mail room at SAP headquarters. Accountability had not been assigned, either at a global or local level. Since the mail room staff could not simply throw the letters away, mail started to pile up – waiting to be processed. With minimum postage of €0.45 per postcard and return postage of €3, costs began to soar. Campaign effectiveness was reduced. Out-of-date CRM data caused customer service issues. Mail continued to be addressed to defunct customers. Meanwhile, other customers still received mail, despite requests to opt out, and new contacts were unable to add themselves to lists. Ultimately, all this threatened to negatively impact SAP’s reputation. Yikes!

Sven Schrothe, Sales Support Expert at SAP, had experienced negative feedback on this issue from customers. He was determined to implement an “SAP Runs SAP” solution, to put SAP CRM in the mail room, and to capture incorrect address information at the source. Sven presented the idea to assessor Carsten Danner, Head of Sales Applications and Data for SAP’s MEE region, who fully endorsed the idea. In the meantime, Dirk Gerlinger, Mail Room Service Coordinator at SAP, had long been ready to explore solutions in his role on the front lines.

“At last, we had the solution,” says Sven. “Now mail room personnel can supervise the mail return process using SAP CRM. Errors can be corrected right at the source in a cost-effective, timely, and efficient manner.”

The learning process for mail room staff was also highly efficient, taking only an hour per employee. Extensive reference documentation was also prepared. The greatest benefit of all though: “Our staff was excited to become part of the efficiency initiative,” says Dirk. “When they understood the potential of SAP CRM to solve this problem, their eyes lit up.”

Mail room staff can now immediately process at least 80% of all returns – completely eliminating the backlog. SAP CRM is running with clean customer data. Redundant mailing – and with it, environmental waste – has been reduced by about 30%. And returned mail is down. Marketing can better target its campaigns. Efficiency has improved, and effectiveness has increased. With SAP running SAP in the mail room, our company is now an ambassador for its own customer service. If there is a lesson to learn from just this one story, remember to think, “How can we Run Better?” We just might in more ways than you can imagine.

Thank you, Sven!

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