Issue: Mar 2008


AI speaks to Mark Dendinger of VSS and Oscar Valdes of the VTEC Group



by Malcolm Babbin

In February of this year, VSS, a leading SAP software and services firm, announced that it was offering the SAP All-in-One solution for midsize vehicle component suppliers. Called the Just in Time (JIT) Supplier Automotive® solution, it meets the auto industry’s needs – especially small and medium size companies. Based on the SAP Best Practices for the auto industry, this solution was designed specifically for midsize component manufacturers. The solution helps them improve performance and business practices.

Developed by the VTEC Group in partnership with SAP America, Inc., the JIT Supplier Automotive® Solution provides auto manufacturers the affordability and efficiency of the SAP All-in-One solution combined with the industry expertise of VSS and the VTEC Group. The solution fully supports the key business processes of midsize auto component manufacturers and enables them to eliminate redundant processes, reduce cost, and implement lean practices. This includes electronic data interchange (EDI) demand management, operation planning, repetitive manufacturing, on time deliveries, and total inventory visibility along the supply chain

“Automotive innovation is a major North American priority. The powerful combination of SAP All-in-One software, the JIT Supplier Automotive® Solution, and the industry and SAP expertise of VSS provides automotive suppliers with a reliable solution to accelerating industry demands,” said Michael Doane, industry analyst and author of “The New SAP Blue Book” during the launch.

The company said that the JIT Supplier Automotive® Solution deals with issues such as supplier integration. The automotive industry maintains tight supplier integration. For this reason it is necessary to have a solution that is focused on the critical requirements and processes within this industry.

Says VSS: “With the power of JIT Supplier Automotive® and SAP, VSS enables auto parts manufacturers to increase performance and respond to the increasing challenges of the automotive industry. The product model integrates the functionality required by the automotive industry in an agile and simple way that enables a business practice approach for providing aggregated value for parts suppliers to the entire automotive supply chain,”

Some of the common problems facing auto firms include the failure to deliver products on time to customer assembly lines which leads to loss of business. Companies also tend to carry high inventory levels to avoid penalties or failures. Unbalanced customer demand versus plant capacity is common as is poor integration leading to inaccurate planning, accounting and costing which in turn leads to management distraction from production. If the focus is on damage control, a firm cannot succeed.

Other problems include large, obsolete inventories due to unsynchronized engineering modifications and difficulty in tracking increasingly demanding supply-chain requests.

What is required by auto firms:

 manufacturing for subassemblies, components and OEM parts
 JIT, sequencing and PPU (product at point of use) parts supply to auto makers’ facilities
 long and short-term planning for manufacturing and capacity plans and end-of-year model supply-chain management

 correct management of engineering changes and total inventory-ownership management along the supply chain

 lean manufacturing management and automotive EDI management.

VSS says that auto clients can help solve these issues by using the JIT Supplier Automotive® Solution. The solution helps increase internal resource productivity and reduction in product shortages. It offers reliable, on time and accurate inventory information and increased effectiveness in manufacturing and materials planning. It offers mirroring (Plant–SAP) of materials flow and operations and improvements in cost, quality and information. Solution deployment leads to a dramatic reduction of cycles from new car designs to go-to market and total logistic synchronization among auto parts manufacturers and car makers

Some of the key features of the JIT Supplier Automotive® Solution include the fact that it is an exclusive approved SAP automotive solution for ECC 6.0 market. It is executed for a fixed fee and includes comprehensive scope plus rapid deployment (from 20 weeks). The solution is based on SAP automotive best practices and integration with SEEBURGER, Inc™, a global leader in EDI and trading partner enablement.

“Our recent VSS strategic alliance is vital to successfully deliver JIT Supplier Automotive®, which is the IT solution that the auto parts suppliers are expecting to face the quite demanding industry challenges and leverage their competitiveness,” said Oscar Valdes, VTEC Group’s Managing Director. The VTEC Group has been a SAP service partner for nine years and a SAP channel partner for three. The group has developed three qualified SAP vertical solutions for markets – this includes the JIT Supplier Automotive®, PharmaLAB®, and eMetal®.

Mark Dendinger, Vice President of VSS says: “The alliance of VTEC Group and VSS is tremendous news for North American automotive suppliers. The power of SAP software, enhanced with our exclusive JIT Supplier Automotive® Solution and supported by combined automotive industry expertise positions VSS to help clients survive and thrive in this demanding market.”

The Jackson, Mississippi-headquartered VSS is a certified SAP services and channel partner. Its business focus is the help clients implement SAP software in the small-and-mid-size market. The company has been in business for 17 years and is expected to cross USD 100 million in revenues shortly. VSS has over 100 employees currently.

“Our leadership position in this industry is strongly linked to our relentless approach to delivering quality solutions and services. In order to best serve you, we continually invest in new products, services and new practice areas - such as SAP & Microsoft. Our attention is equally focused on delivering quality solutions, ensuring great execution, building trust and continually earning your confidence. Our skilled staff understands that technology is only as good as the capability to design, implement and support it. With our proven approach to solution delivery, we reduce our shared risk to ensure that VSS delivers continued value,” says David Traxler, President of VSS on the company website.

Automotive Industries spoke to Mark Dendinger, Vice President of VSS and Oscar Valdes, managing director of VTEC Group.

AI: What kind of response has the JIT Supplier Automotive® Solution evoked in your clients?

Clients have told us that our JIT Supplier Automotive® solution is:

 A reliable and easy to manage tool, to safely increase sensitive client service even in an environment of frequent change

 A great opportunity to effectively focus all operations to client demand

AI: How is this solution different from other similar ones?

 JIT Supplier Automotive® Solution is the only qualified SAP solution available in the latest release ECC 6.0 for the auto parts manufacturers industry

 Outstanding accelerated implementation time starting from 20 weeks because of its unique packaging & delivery methodology PMTool®, exclusively developed for our All-In-One SAP Solutions ensuring on time go-live fully up-and-running

 This solution is fully integrated to EDI global leader SEEBURGER™’s solution

 The solution is easy to replicate to other company facilities, with full scalability and ease of addition of other SAP functionality to cope with future industry requirements.


AI: Please tell us a little about how VSS and VTEC Group came together to offer the JIT
Supplier Automotive® Solution.

This partnership is a great match-for-the-market partnering promoted by SAP, since VTEC Group has a unique qualified SAP solution for the auto parts manufacturers industry and VSS is the largest SAP channel partner addressing the Southeast US where the new automotive clusters are growing.

AI: Describe the VSS and VTEC Group relationship.

We are thrilled to work with VTEC, having witnessed firsthand their commitment to strong methods and tools in addition to industry expertise and solid SAP skills. We partner with them for continuing solution development and rely on their expertise regarding the solution when helping clients implement.

AI: Why is the JIT Supplier Automotive® Solution particularly relevant in today’s auto industry and how effective do you see it being in developing countries?

The challenges facing the automotive industry today will only grow. Therefore, our JIT Supplier Automotive® Solution will be evolving as SAP technology does, ensuring continuity of service to the market through out the years.

In addition, the automotive industry is one of the most integrated with its suppliers, including those located in developing countries. Since Mexican auto parts manufacturers are closely tied to the U.S. automotive plants, our JIT Supplier Automotive® Solution is already qualified for Mexico and is already successfully operating in some plants down there.

AI: Please tell us a little about how VTEC Group’s development process for the JIT Supplier Automotive® Solution.

We have offices located in the Austin Silicon Hills, where the VTEC Group has set up a unique knowledge and technology transfer center named CT2, where our solution is being developed and supported.

This group supports all clients’ projects with industry experts from SAP, including the SAP solution center, to continuously evolve the solution, addressing the ever increasing industry challenges while adding the newest SEEBURGER™ and SAP technology, functionality and automotive best practices. All of this, of course, ensures continuing SAP industry qualification for the solution.

In addition, the CT2 keeps our unique PMTool® delivery methodology in sync with our JIT Supplier Automotive® evolution.

Currently we are setting up an extension of our CT2 next to VSS offices to ensure responsiveness to the many projects in the region.


AI: How well do you think VTEC Group works with a company like VSS?

VSS is the business partner that everybody wants to have. They know the industry, business, and region we are addressing and they have a complete suite of SAP Life Cycle Services. We definitely believe that VSS and VTEC Group are perfectly complementary.



AI: Why is the solution particularly relevant to today’s automotive industry?

JIT Supplier Automotive® business solution provides the key functionalities required by midsize auto parts manufactures, allowing them to eliminate redundant processes, reduce costs and improve quality of processes including: EDI demand management, operation planning, repetitive manufacturing, on time deliveries accuracy, and many other features based on the enterprise services oriented architecture (ESOA) features of SAP ERP.

Further, in an industry that is extremely challenged, this solution is simple to implement, simple to use, and is very affordable.

AI: How can the JIT Supplier Automotive® Solution be streamlined to take into account different countries’ auto industries?

Demands on the automotive industry are the same throughout the world. Compressed time-frames, higher standards, and the need to be cost-effective are common to all countries.

In that light, our JIT Supplier Automotive® can be a global solution and can match the requirements of the auto parts manufacturers in different countries with the appropriated help of the local SAP offices.

AI: How would you describe the response to the JIT Supplier Automotive® Solution?

When we introduce our JIT Supplier Automotive® solution to potential clients, the enthusiastic response is obvious as there is a lot of smiling and head-nodding. We are not offering a general solution but one that directly focuses on automotive clients’ real-world challenges. The substantive and direct client feedback is gratifying and allows us, together, to address vital issues.

Once the solution is up and running, clients work in a more relaxed and professional fashion, managing a planned operation rather than struggling among many emergency activities


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