The globalization of the world economy requires SMBs today not only to deliver products and services quickly, seamlessly and in excellent quality but also to react as flexibly as possible to change. The commercial success of midsize supply companies in particular depends on how these demands are met. And IT solutions such as the highly-rated mySAP All-in-One solution pmcZulieferer from BTC from Neckarsulm are helping firms to do just that.
Konfektion E Elektronik GmbH, founded in 1984, decided to switch to the SAP solution from pmc because its old IT system was no longer able to meet the company’s requirements. Around 600 Konfektion E employees at three plants – one in Marktlustenau near Crailsheim in Germany and two in the Czech Republic (Ostrov and Stare Sedliste) – develop and manufacture connectors and harnesses to supply the automotive, aviation and electrical industries. This midsize supply company achieved sales of Euro 37 million in 2002. Its customer base includes well-known companies like Bosch, Siemens VDO MagnaDonelly and Bühler Motor.
Seamless data processing
“Amid increasingly complex requirements and information flows, seamless data processing is essential for production control and cross-factory logistics,” says Gerhard Ellinger, Head of IT at Konfektion E, explaining his firm’s requirements. “Our old system came up against obstacles it could not overcome,” Ellinger explains further. “Data processing was previously laborious and extremely time-consuming, particularly as production control was carried out in part manually across all three plants and was not very transparent,” says the IT specialist, describing the shortcomings of the old system. Konfektion E decided to replace its existing system with a new IT system following an internal evaluation and opted for the SAP approved mySAP All-in-One solution pmcZulieferer from BTC.
The decisive factors for this choice included BTC’s expertise gained from many years of handling automotive projects and the long-established add-ons offering practical scenarios for suppliers. Stefan Haller, Head of Purchasing and Logistics at Konfektion E outlines a further reason, “we were looking for a future-oriented and inexpensive platform that could grow with the company and that came from a reliable manufacturer.” The package from BTC for 65 users came in at Euro 330,000 and included the SAP licenses (mySAP Release 4.6C with SAP Automotive 3.0 (DI 46C2), the hardware (Compaq servers with two instances – test + production), the operating system (Suse Linux), the database (Oracle), installation, training, consultation and intercompany management as an extra. “After careful consideration of all relevant factors,” Haller continues, “the eventual decision in favor of SAP was easy to make because the company best met our requirements in terms of price/performance ratio.”
Installation according to plan
BTC began delivering and installing the system, initially configured for 65 users, shortly after the contract was signed at the end of January 2003. The go-live date was set for June 30. “The speedy installation was possible thanks to our implementation methodology devised especially for SMBs which follows a 10-point plan,” explains Torsten Jaretzke, Logistic Consultant and Project Manager at BTC. The plan starts during the sales process by comparing the customers’ business processes with the range of services offered by pmcZulieferer and extends through the entire implementation phase and training of key users right up to the actual project start date.
BTC used the organizational and conception phase to put together typical business processes, discuss material and value flows, and to draw up a material flow concept. The detailed design and implementation phase then defined the plant logistics for three plants using stock transporting schedules, set up a warehouse management system and adapted the standard cost estimating procedures. The internal company logistics control information flows between customers and suppliers via EDI (Electronic Data Interchange), enabling intercompany data exchange both with customers such as Bosch and Siemens VDO and with suppliers like LEONI Kabel. pmc also established a complete test environment at Konfektion E as early as the startup phase. “Our key users were able to familiarize themselves with the system early on,” explains Stefan Haller, Project Manager at Konfektion E. “The systematic and fluid extension of the training to cover the later end users helped us enormously when going live. Today all three plants are interlinked by the SAP system. Requirements, supplier requisitions and throughput times are mapped throughout, leading to lower costs and higher flexibility.
Presettings lower costs
Torsten Jaretzke believed the “right start” to the project was just as important for its overall success as the timely transfer of the system. Jaretzke explains, “This is absolutely crucial for customer satisfaction, which is the real gage of success for a SAP implementation project.” Users of the mySAP All-in-One solution can test and familiarize themselves with the system through preconfigured processes such as a fully installed clientele program system equipped with master data. The BTC solution meets all the company’s current requirements without the need for additional developments with the SAP standard or indeed the add-ons for the automotive industry that are integrated in pmcZulieferer. “The industry-specific preconfigured solution pmcZulieferer significantly reduces the time and money needed to invest in a new system,” says Jaretzke, summarizing the benefits of the solution. “Key functions are already contained in the customizing process and are therefore available immediately. Konfektion E is now already planning the introduction of more functions such as piecework wage calculation.