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thyssenkrupp Materials Services: Transforming online sales and the company mindset

Explore thyssenkrupp Materials Services’ journey with SAP

thyssenkrupp Materials Services runs the implementation of a widespread digital transformation strategy to put its customers front and center. One aspect of this is enhancing its existing e-commerce portals and driving the omnichannel approach with the SAP Commerce Cloud solution by integrating e-commerce channels with SAP software systems.

increase in revenue from the e-commerce portal.

customers using the business-to-business portal.

customer quotes delivered per month on the CBS portal.

Information technology is a core element in the holistic transformation of our whole company. In our projects, we put a lot of emphasis on learning and building know-how within the company, to the end that technology becomes a core competence of our business. This way, we see the implementation of e-commerce as a driver for the transformation of our business.

Ilse Henne
Chief Transformation Officer, thyssenkrupp Materials Services GmbH 

The Challenge

Transforming organizational business models, working methods, and IT

What does e-commerce mean for the traditional materials business? This is what thyssenkrupp Materials Services asked itself in striving for high delivery performance and quality. The company sought support in aligning itself to a three-prong modernization and digital transformation strategy that prioritized customers through its value streams and business models, organization and working methodologies, and IT systems.


It had already supplemented its traditional modus operandi, in which sales agents work exclusively with customers via telephone, fax, and on-site visits, with an integrated, digital, omnichannel approach for customers to choose from – all the while keeping in close contact with them. This approach has been deepened and further developed by the company. To boost e-commerce capabilities, the company enabled agile work methods, flat hierarchies, and cooperation across teams. Scalability of technical solutions and the supporting organization is very much in the focus to enable future business growth. Solutions are an architecture based on “security by design” principles to ensure the safety of data and applications.

By expanding our e-commerce capabilities through SAP Commerce Cloud and positioning IT closer to the business, we can strengthen our 150 years of heritage with strong brands, excellent customer relations, and dynamic data.

Ilse Henne
Chief Transformation Officer, thyssenkrupp Materials Services GmbH 

The Solution

Expanding e-commerce capabilities

thyssenkrupp Materials Services set about enhancing a legacy e-commerce platform to scale sales and introduce more products, different payment methods, and off-site and on-site marketing capabilities. Learnings from this lead project in the U.S. were leveraged for the omnichannel initiative in Europe, and test-driven design was used early on in both.


The company created new digital touch points – a business-to-business (B2B) customer portal for order placement and account management, as well as a portal with product and content catalogs. It employed the SAP Commerce solution to develop three portals, with SAP Commerce Cloud to manage build and deployment activities.


SAP Integration Suite helped integrate the channels with the ERP landscape, specifically with SAP ERP Central Component. SAP Process Integration technology and SAP Process Orchestration software secured the integration with third parties. Finally, SAP Services and Support offerings supplied implementation and deployment guidance.

The Result

Serving customers in an integrated and convenient way

thyssenkrupp Materials Services is pursuing a holistic approach to digitalization. Within this approach, it uses the omnichannel method for customers to easily access its multimaterials and services portfolio. In creating omnichannel capabilities, the sales force can serve customers in an integrated and augmented way. For their part, customers can choose their preferred method of engaging with the company.


The smooth interaction between the customer portals and the front-end and back-end sales functions is a significant advantage over the more common e-commerce approaches.


The digital solutions help ensure efficient and resource-saving processes for customers, providing the basis for sustainable action. And while it may not be the case that large quantities of materials are sold only online in the future, the customer experience is nonetheless digitally enhanced.

Future Plans

Building on over four decades of technology developments

In Europe, the business has begun a third stage of the omnichannel project. The goal is to decouple the back and front end with a “headless” approach, so that a common back end is able to serve different front ends dedicated to specific brands and country requirements.


Meanwhile, a pan-European solution that integrates with SAP software and brings a maximum of standardization while supporting several very different business processes is also in development.


thyssenkrupp Materials Services and its predecessors have been SAP customers for more than 40 years. It’s little wonder that it has one of the biggest and most complex SAP software landscapes in operation worldwide. What once started out with SAP R/3 software and lots of in-house developments will continue into the future with a new approach to working with SAP S/4HANA.

SAP helps thyssenkrupp Materials Services run better

Key business outcomes and benefits

  • A new robust platform, allowing for scalability and added functionality
  • Scaling of e-commerce business and revenue, with IT as a stronger enabling factor for growth
  • Improved way of working for quoting and pricing, accessing customer history, and consulting with customers due to freed-up time
  • Buildup of internal resources and know-how in the United States, Europe, and India
  • Synchronization of employee mindsets across functions and cultures, with increased idea generation and quicker adoption of responsibilities and roles

Featured solutions and services

  • SAP Commerce Cloud provides a trusted e-commerce platform that can help you innovate at scale and tap enterprise-wide data to boost profits and customer satisfaction.
  • SAP Integration Suite allows you to combine on-premise and cloud-based applications and processes with tools and prebuilt content.
  • SAP Services and Support encompasses service and support offerings, which provide a simplified engagement, delivery, and overall experience with SAP.
  • SAP Process Orchestration supports everything from simple workflows to complex practices by developing custom process applications.

About thyssenkrupp Materials Services

thyssenkrupp Materials Services is the largest mill-independent materials distributor in the Western world, serving industry sectors including automotive, construction, mechanical engineering, and aerospace. With 380 branches in more than 30 countries, it provides high-quality raw materials, materials, technical services, and the development of intelligent processes in automation, extended supply chain, and warehouse and inventory management.

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