Efficient charging cost billing for companies: why connecting to the ERP system pays of
Efficient charging cost billing for companies: why connecting to the ERP system pays off
In times of climate change and increasing electricity costs, charging electric vehicles has become an increasingly important business factor. Whether it's companies with charging stations in their company car park, hotels and restaurants, or owners of multi-party houses with their own car park and charging stations, they all want to offer their customers, employees, and tenants an easy and cost-effective solution for charging electric vehicles.
In the past, charging electric vehicles was often free due to lower demand. However, companies can hardly afford this today. As more and more employees and customers drive electric vehicles and electricity costs continue to rise significantly, companies, hoteliers, and landlords are now looking for efficient and cost-effective ways to pass on the charging costs to the users, either in full or with a discount.
This is where connecting the charging stations to the existing enterprise resource planning system (ERP) of the company becomes a good option. In this way, operational processes for charging electric vehicles can be optimized, costs reduced, and customer and employee satisfaction improved. The prerequisite for this is that the charging stations are able to accurately measure the charging processes.
## The benefits of connecting charging infrastructure to an ERP system
Connecting charging infrastructure to an ERP system greatly simplifies the billing of charging processes. For example, employees only need an app or an RFID card to start the charging process. In the background, the charging processes are synchronized with the ERP system and the incurred costs are automatically deducted from the monthly salary.
Hotels and restaurants can also benefit from connecting charging processes to the ERP Hotel Management System. Guests can easily charge their vehicles in the hotel or restaurant car park, and the charging costs are automatically included in the hotel bill. Owners of multi-party houses with their own car park and charging stations can also synchronize the charging data of the tenants with their own ERP system. This saves costs, creates new sources of income, and increases the attractiveness and value of the property.
## Webasto efficiently connects charging stations to ERP or management software
Technically, this works as follows: "The charging stations on the company car park are connected to our Webasto ChargeConnect Cloud via the OCPP communication protocol. The charging stations and wall boxes are controlled cloud-based via the 'Charging Backend'. Webasto ChargeConnect is, in turn, connected to an app and a web-based portal," explains Felix Jost, product manager for digital services at Webasto.
With the Webasto ChargeConnect app, users start and stop the charging process on the company car park. Through the web portal, operators can monitor the status of the charging columns at any time. “The special thing about our solution is that we can automatically output the incurred charging data per user to the existing ERP in a compatible 'Charge Detail Record' (CDR) format”, says Jost.
## Even technically challenging and complex ERP systems can be connected
It sounds easier than it is in practice: "From the start, we wanted to find a solution that would allow us to connect even technically complex ERP systems to our charging stations and the Webasto ChargeConnect cloud. We, therefore, chose the SAP ERP system as a special challenge - also because we at Webasto work with a SAP system and wanted to connect our own charging stations to the SAP system first," explains Jost.
However, the integration of the charging stations does not only work with SAP's ERP. Other ERPs and management systems can also be connected to the Webasto charging stations and Webasto ChargeConnect. Jost says, "Our technical team is able to connect the most common ERP and management systems to the charging infrastructure in close cooperation with our customers."
## Automating charging processes: the future is already here
Charging stations on company parking lots, in hotel and multi-family house garages are no longer gimmicks. Customers, employees, guests, and tenants already selectively choose where to park, work, sleep, or live. Now, it is worth investing in a future-proof charging infrastructure from Webasto and efficiently connecting it to the existing ERP system to avoid being burdened with the costs of charging processes. At the same time, it can exploit competitive advantages and intensify customer, guest, and employee loyalty.
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