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Daimler

The road to an integrated e-invoicing strategy

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  • Industry:
  • Regions:
    • Global
  • Solutions:
    • E-Invoice Receiving
    • E-Invoice Sending

Discover how Daimler has managed to establish and roll out an integrated e-invoicing strategy by introducing Basware.

Daimler AG is one of the world’s most successful automotive companies. With its Mercedes-Benz Cars & Vans, Daimler Trucks & Buses and Daimler Mobility business segments, the vehicle manufacturer is among the biggest suppliers of premium and luxury passenger cars and one of the world’s biggest producers of commercial vehicles.

Daimler Mobility offers financing, leasing, fleet management, investments, insurance brokerage and innovative mobility services. The company’s founders, Gottlieb Daimler and Carl Benz, made history with the invention of the automobile in 1886. For Daimler AG – as the pioneer of automobile construction – making the future of mobility safe and sustainable is both a motivation and an obligation. Accordingly, the company focuses on innovative and green technologies as well as safe, high-quality vehicles that fascinate and enthuse its customers.

Daimler invests consistently in developing efficient drive systems – from high-tech internal combustion engines via hybrid vehicles to purely electric drivetrains, either battery or fuel cell – to enable local zero-emissions mobility in the long term. 

In addition, the company is relentlessly pressing ahead with intelligent networking of its vehicles, autonomous driving and new mobility concepts, because Daimler considers it a requirement and an obligation to meet its responsibility to society and the environment.

Daimler sells its vehicles and services in virtually every country of the world and has production centers in Europe, North and South America, Asia and Africa. Alongside Mercedes-Benz, the world’s most valuable luxury car marque (source: Interbrand study, 20.10.2020), Mercedes-AMG, Mercedes-Maybach, Mercedes-EQ and Mercedes me, the brand portfolio includes the commercial vehicle marques Mercedes-Benz Lkw, 

key takeaways

Daimler suppliers using Basware Network

Transactions per year: these suppliers can use Basware PDF e-Invoicing

data transfer via the Basware network

How Daimler and Basware work together

Developing and successfully implementing an integrated e-invoicing strategy requires first of all a globally active organisation within accounting and management support as well as clear responsibilities. Here, Daimler AG can call on its shared service centers, which take a service-oriented approach to meeting the needs of both internal and external customers.  

Within the framework of the e-invoicing strategy, the company utilises different invoicing channels to ensure the greatest possible take-up of e-invoicing. The key channels are:

  • Self-billing/ERS procedure (Evaluated Receipt Settlement) for production materials with high invoice volumes
  • Structured procedures e.g. EDI (VDA 4938)
  • Flexible e-invoicing formats via Basware for suppliers with medium and smaller transaction volumes, to provide simple and efficient connectivity from a supplier perspective
  • Intercompany e-invoicing via Basware using a standardised technical platform with the widest range of options for receiving and sending structured and unstructured billing data within the Daimler Group

The collaboration started with electronic exchange of invoices for individual factories. The implementation proceeded step by step, subsequently enabling both a global rollout and technical upgrades.

The current status, taking Germany as an example, can be summarised as follows:

  • Several thousand Daimler suppliers use Basware Services to submit their invoices to Daimler.
  • Suppliers with an invoice volume over 500 transactions per year use Basware’s PREMIUM solution to send structured billing data.
  • For suppliers with smaller invoice volumes, up to max. 500 transactions per year, Daimler AG offers Basware’s PDF e-Invoicing solution. This provides a straightforward way for suppliers to send machine-readable PDF invoices by mail, or the invoice can be submitted using the Basware Portal (Invoice KeyIn).
  • The roaming procedure with VER-certified partners is another option enabling use of central service partners.
  • The data are made available to the Daimler companies 24/7 in the agreed format via the Basware network.

This wide variety of ways to send and receive invoices has helped achieve buy-in for e-invoicing among Daimler suppliers.

The collaboration was taken to a deeper level in the context of a group-wide project to optimise financial statements.

Sending hard copies of intragroup invoice documents via several countries and continents often caused delays in document capture and discrepancies in the statements. To resolve this issue in a sustainable manner, Daimler worked with Basware on a sub-project (Any-to-Any) to develop and implement a joint solution to facilitate 100% electronic intercompany exchange of documents. The goals for this project included making processes faster and more efficient, and eliminating large volumes of paper, with an incidental reduction in costs.

Results

DIGITALISATION AT INTERCOMPANY LEVEL

Having Basware as service provider has made it possible for all companies associated with Daimler worldwide to send/receive vouchers via a range of channels. Electronic exchange of invoices – not only with the parent company but also among the individual companies – takes place via a central Basware e-invoicing portal. 

For all Daimler companies, this is an important lever for increased automation in financial accounting.

Further suppliers to additional companies are currently being linked to Basware. The clear goal, as far as is technically and legally feasible, is for all Daimler companies globally to receive only electronic invoices.

E-INVOICING PORTAL FOR SUPPLIERS AND CUSTOMERS

The e-invoicing portal is the key element for the exchange of invoices via Basware, offering maximum transparency and traceability.

Using the Basware portal has deliberately been made simple, i.e. the Basware portal offers various solutions to maximise the benefits of switching to e-invoicing for suppliers.

SUCCESS FACTORS

A long-term, strategic roadmap and clear definitions of goals are essential to the success of an e-invoicing project of this order of magnitude. For Daimler, as a major global group with a large number of companies and shared service centers, it was important to prioritise and then adapt the process step by step.  

The relevant activities and rollout plans for the shared service centers were identified and planned in close collaboration with the Basware team. It was absolutely essential that both parties had the necessary resources available for the planned activities and that there was regular reporting to management.  

Using Global Business Services to handle central coordination and governance for the individual projects, including defining communication channels, has proved its worth for Daimler. Global competences, the project structure and implementation steps were standardised. These investments enabled Daimler to implement its integrated e-invoicing strategy successfully. 

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