According to the study “Future Automotive Industry Structure (FAST) 2015” published by business consultants Mercer Management Consulting and the Fraunhofer Institute for production engineering and IPA automation, the value added of the supplier industry is set to grow about EUR 280 billion to EUR 700 billion by 2015 – effectively an increase of 68%. Because production depth at manufacturers is decreasing, small and midsize suppliers are now being integrated more and more tightly in the manufacturers’ development and production processes.
In this regard, smooth electronically supported cooperation between manufacturers and suppliers as well as between suppliers themselves is becoming increasingly important. “The requirements of the automotive industry are constantly changing – companies can only cope with this if they have a sustainable software solution that maps all the processes in a company transparently,” says Stefan Mailänder, chairman of SAP business partner ORBIS, describing the situation.
Covering core processes
“That is why with ORBIS Car, we have developed a SAP industry solution tailored exactly to the needs of the small and midsize supplier industry,” continues Stefan Mailänder. The qualified mySAP All-in-One solution, which is based on the mySAP ERP standard system and mySAP for Automotive 4.0, according to ORBIS, caters for companies throughout the entire supply chain (from tier 1 to tier n) that have about 80 employees or more. To be able to cover all the requirements of the target group, the Saarbrücken-based SAP SMB partner provides the solution in both a standard and an extended version.
The standard version contains all the required business processes from financial accounting and cost accounting, planning, and purchasing using scheduling agreements or ordering and production control right through to sales using scheduling agreements, orders and shipping processing. Suppliers receive delivery requests and send shipping notifications back by means of EDI (Electronic Data Interchange). Since shipping (preparing the delivery, order picking, dispatch processing) is one of an automotive supplier’s core processes, it is an important element in the SAP industry solution. To ensure everything runs smoothly, the SAP Business Partner designed the procedure to be very streamlined. “If necessary, we will, of course, enhance the core processes to include process variants, special cases and new functions. In this way, we are tailoring the solution to the individual requirements of each company,” says Stefan Mailänder, explaining the situation further.
Safeguarding the competitive edge
Small and midsize suppliers in the automotive industry are also increasingly being involved in the development of new components. “That is why we have also integrated a predefined work breakdown structure (WBS) in ORBIS Car for development projects that we implement together with other partners,” says Stefan Mailänder, clarifying the situation. Here, basic project goal variables such as time (deadlines), outlay (hours/costs) and results (payment in kind and services/quality) are examined as a whole, which according to the ORBIS Chairman, ensures that projects are controlled effectively from beginning to end and helps create a situation where project activities are carried out efficiently and within budget.
To remain competitive in the future in the face of globalized competition, SMBs in the supplier industry must also be able to measure and evaluate their performance very precisely. That is why this SAP Business Partner has integrated ORBIS iControl, a business intelligence (BI) solution developed specially for SMBs, in ORBIS Car. This function enables up-to-date information for KPIs, finances, and production utilization as well as analyses and management KPIs to be accessed at any time at the touch of a button. “We are providing SMBs with a high-performance analysis and management information system that provides them with an effective graphical overview of all the important corporate KPIs,” explains Mailänder.
Offering more than a standard system to save time and costs
For suppliers, whose requirements are too complex for the standard version of the SAP industry solution, the Saarbrücken-based business consultant offers numerous additional functions in the extended version of ORBIS Car, which simplify standard processes such as shipping. These include functions that log changes for just-in-time calls (JIT Plus) and stock batch management and traceability. An RF kit (radio frequency) contains preconfigured transactions and dialog functions for radio frequency terminals. “As a result, ORBIS Car Advanced is also ideal as a template for larger companies, for example, to provide support for rolling out extensive SAP systems,” explains Mailänder, Chairman of ORBIS.
Mailänder is particularly proud of the integrated handling unit management system which has special scanner functions. “There is currently no other mySAP All-in-One solution that features this function in this form. It makes it easy to record and trace the journey a container takes from the vendor via production through to shipping,” says Mailänder, explaining the principle. Every piece of stock, in other words, finished or semi-finished parts, is stored in a container (such as a crate), which has a number assigned by means of a barcode label or RFID code (radio frequency identification). This means it can be uniquely identified. If a container is now transferred to another location, the container number is scanned and the entire contents of the container are automatically posted to the new storage location. The material number and quantity of the stock can be uniquely identified by means of the container number and no longer have to be typed in manually, which prevents data being entered incorrectly and therefore also avoids posting errors. “Suppliers can use these functions, for example, to quickly lock container stocks that contain defective parts and then release them again. This saves time and cuts costs,” says the ORBIS Chairman, spelling out the benefits.
ORBIS Car can boast another interesting additional function for companies that manufacture end products as part of a multi-stage final assembly process – the assembly visualization function. This enables optimized sequential planning as well as just-in-sequence (JIS) delivery and ensures that the correct bumper appears on the correct assembly line in the correct color.
SAP industry solution at an attractive price
Despite the comprehensive functions which the SAP industry solution offers, this SAP Business Partner has achieved an important goal – to offer small and midsize suppliers a preconfigured SAP industry solution that can be implemented quickly, smoothly, and cost-effectively. “Here, we could really show off the 18 years’ experience we have built up in the automotive sector,” says Mailänder. According to the information available, the standard version of the qualified mySAP All-in-One solution can be implemented in a midsize company within three months. SMBs do not have to meet any particular system prerequisites to implement the solution, nor is there a predefined minimum number of users. “Usually, we hold a workshop together with the customer before the solution is implemented to define the scope of the subsequent installation activities as well as the cost,” says Mailänder.
ORBIS offers the qualified mySAP All-in-One solution with EDI (Electronic Data Interchange) in three different price models. The solution can be bought at a fixed price (including software, hardware, implementation, training, go-live support), as a leasing model, or in ASP operation. “Not only does our solution cover exactly the requirements placed on a sustainable and flexible SAP industry solution by small and midsize automotive suppliers, our price models are also particularly attractive,” declares Mailänder in conclusion.