With headquarters in Stavanger in Norway, Equinor is a global energy provider that develops energy from oil, gas, wind and sun for today and tomorrow. Equinor started more than 40 years ago by developing oil and gas on the Norwegian Continental shelf and now operates in more than 30 countries. Equinor employs 22,000 people worldwide and is listed on the New York and Oslo stock exchanges.
Our history with B2B
We were an early adopter of B2B, starting around year 2000, when Equinor and many other oil and gas operators started the Trade-Ranger industry initiative. Equinor was also early to adopt eInvoicing in 2004, and has supported multiple formats and multiple communications processes, such as point-to-point, message brokering and business networks. In 2006, Equinor identified the need for an B2B solution that did not require IT resources from the supplier side, and we developed our Vendor Portal.
As part of a market survey in 2015 to research alternative B2B options, we asked all our potential suppliers on how we should interact digitally. The result surprised us! All responses indicated that the Peppol format and eDelivery infrastructure would be the easiest and fastest way to implement improved B2B for Equinor and our suppliers.
A digital interface with our suppliers
Equinor covers a lot of different business activity around the world with differing requirements and work processes, with a substantial volume of transactions covering high values. Like all industries, our business demands simplification, automation, and cost reduction, and it was apparent that a careful selection of an B2B solution was important to support our business expectations.
In this context, our goal is to achieve a touchless digital interaction between Equinor and our suppliers, utilising electronic exchange of structured business transactions, removing outdated business activity that relies on manual, paper-based transaction flows.
The key reasons Equinor uses Peppol for our digital supplier interface are:
The benefits of Peppol
Although Peppol was originally an open standard developed by the public authorities for business-to-government procurement, it has been proven to work well between business-to-business. A key component is the Peppol eDelivery infrastructure and the ‘four-corner’ model that is fast and easy to implement.
For eInvoicing, ‘self-onboarding’ by suppliers is possible, making a positive contribution to the rapid growth in transaction volumes.
The diversity of Peppol service providers avoids any lock-in to a single service provider and makes it easy to change provider if desired.
Responsibilities: B2B via Peppol
The B2B focus with our ‘Maintenance and Modification’ suppliers during 2016 clearly illustrated that by utilising structured business messages and combining this with our ERP data, we were able to achieve the business expectations for digitalisation, with more automation at a lower cost for both our business and our suppliers.
Consequently, in Summer 2016, a letter was sent to all our suppliers in Norway to indicate that Peppol was the preferred way to receive an invoice. Note that in Norway, the implementation of Peppol is known as EHF/Peppol.
In less than three years, for Equinor in Norway, 78% of our invoice volume, equal to 81% of invoice value, billed against a purchase order is processed through Peppol. The volume of paper invoices was reduced to 2% in the same period.
Equinor learnings from Peppol implementation
- identify what business requirements you really need, not what you used in the past
- look for the potential of automation and make it a requirement
- the industry-specific solutions we thought we needed (because we were ‘so special’) have actually become unnecessary so far in our journey
- start by using basic transactions in Peppol such as invoices and purchase orders and then learn and evolve into other transaction types
- self-onboarding is much better than anything else in the B2B world!
- pre-validation of UBL messages is one of the gems with Peppol as the receiver gets much less errors than we typically experienced with other formats and solutions
Equinor already supports the Peppol Ordering, Advanced Ordering, Despatch Advice, Invoice/Credit Note and will implement Invoice Response.
Peppol for Logistics is part of Equinor’s development for the future, and we are supporting the Peppol CTC initiative.
In business terms we are covering the following exchange of business data in 2022:
Arne Johan Larsen
Lead Analyst, SCM B2B/Supplier Integration – Equinor