Issue: Sep 2008


SAP for midsize suppliers - VSS



SAP for midsize suppliers - VSS

by Lenny Case

Technology is helping component manufacturers remain globally competitive and keep tighter control of their businesses.
A purpose-designed SAP system for midsize companies based on SAP Best Practices for the auto industry has been developed by the VTEC Group in partnership with VSS and SAP America. According to VSS, the Just in Time (JIT) Supplier Automotive package enables midsize suppliers to eliminate redundant processes, reduce cost, and implement lean practices. It supports electronic data interchange (EDI) demand management, operation planning, repetitive manufacturing, on time deliveries, and total inventory visibility along the supply chain.
“The 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.
“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,” says Oscar Valdes, VTEC Group’s managing director. The VTEC Group has developed three qualified SAP vertical solutions for markets - the JIT Supplier Automotive, PharmaLAB, and eMetal.
VSS is a certified SAP services and channel partner. Its business focus is to help clients implement SAP software in the small-and-mid-size market.
“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.
VSS says the JIT Supplier Automotive Solution deals with issues like supplier integration.
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.
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.
Automotive Industries (AI) spoke to Mark Dendinger, Vice President of VSS and Oscar Valdes, managing director of the VTEC Group.
AI: What feedback have you received from your clients about the JIT Supplier Automotive Solution?
Valdes:
Clients have told us that our JIT Supplier Automotive solution is a reliable and easy-to-manage tool that helps improve customer service in an environment of frequent change. It is seen as a great opportunity to effectively focus all operations to meet client demand
AI: How is this solution different from other similar ones?
Dedinger:
JIT Supplier Automotive Solution is the only qualified SAP solution available in the latest release ECC 6.0 for the auto parts manufacturers industry. It is executed for a fixed fee and offers an 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.
This solution is fully integrated to EDI global leader SEEBURGER’s solution. It 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: Tell about how VSS and VTEC Group came together to offer the JIT Supplier Automotive Solution.
Valdes:
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.
Dendinger:
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?
Dendinger:
The challenges facing the automotive industry today will only grow. Our JIT Supplier Automotive Solution will be evolving as SAP technology does, ensuring continuity of service to the market. 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 there.
AI: Tell us about VTEC Group’s development process for the JIT Supplier Automotive Solution.
Valdes:
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. This ensures continuing SAP industry qualification for the solution. The CT2 keeps our unique PMTool delivery methodology in sync with our JIT Supplier Automotive evolution. 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?
Valdes:
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. VSS and VTEC Group are perfectly complementary.
AI: Why is the solution particularly relevant to today’s automotive industry?
Dedinger:
JIT Supplier Automotive business solution provides the key functionalities required by midsize auto parts manufacturers, 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.
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?
Dedinger:
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. Our JIT Supplier Automotive can be a global solution and can match the requirements of the auto parts manufacturers in different countries with the appropriate help of the local SAP offices.
AI: Describe the response to the JIT Supplier Automotive Solution.
Valdes:
When we introduce our JIT Supplier Automotive solution to potential clients, the enthusiastic response is obvious. 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 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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