SUSPA’s Window to China

SUSPA branch office in China, photo: SUSPA GmbH

Rear spoilers that deploy and close smoothly. Washing machines that spin quietly. Refrigerator doors that close almost completely without sound. Behind many of these “quietly” efficient technical features are gas springs, dampers, and adjustment systems made by SUSPA GmbH.

70 million parts per year

This globally active SME also develops and builds crash management and safety systems, as well as technically complex drives and actuators. Marketing a total of 50 products, it manufactures some 70 million parts in 1,500 variants every year. Its manufacturing facilities are located at company headquarters in Altdorf, southern Germany, in nearby Sulzbach-Rosenberg, and in China, India, the Czech Republic, and the United States.

All subsidiaries on one ERP platform

“For a globally present company like ours, end-to-end processes that run on state-of-the-art IT are becoming an increasingly important competitive factor,” says Jürgen Nothof, who is head of global IT at SUSPA GmbH. One aspect of his company’s IT strategy is therefore focused on consolidating the IT system landscape across all subsidiaries on the basis of SAP ERP and on standardizing and harmonizing business processes.

To achieve this objective, applications at all the SUSPA plants worldwide will be merged in Altdorf and – as far as legally possible – the SAP processes defined at headquarters will be established as standard in the subsidiaries. The plants in Sulzbach-Rosenberg and in the Czech Republic are already integrated on the SAP ERP platform.

SUSPA’s Chinese subsidiary, founded in 2001 and located in Nanjing, eastern China, is the first non-European location to work with the ERP solution. “The SAP roll-out in China was absolutely essential. The Excel solution we previously used there was no longer able to match our continuing growth rate or our burgeoning process requirements,” explains Nothof. SUSPA entrusted the implementation of SAP ERP in Nanjing to ORBIS Consulting Shanghai, a subsidiary of SAP partner ORBIS AG, which completed the roll-out project in just six months.

“The SAP implementation in China is an important step toward consolidating our IT landscape and standardizing our business processes across all of our operations.” Jürgen Nothof, IT manager of SUSPA GmbH; photo: SUSPA GmbH

Automated intercompany processing

The positive impact of working with integrated business processes became evident very soon after go-live. For example, intercompany processes are now automated and IT-driven, which means that they are significantly faster and more efficient. Moreover, SUSPA headquarters now exchanges data relating to customer orders, purchase orders, materials, and inventory with the Chinese subsidiary exclusively in the SAP system, which – among a wealth of other benefits – results in lower process costs within the value chain.

When it comes to drawing up financial statements for the SUSPA group, controlling personnel at headquarters can now consolidate financial and key performance figures for the Chinese subsidiary – which manages its data exclusively in SAP ERP – faster and more easily than before.

Golden Tax-compliant accounting

One of the key criteria for implementing the SAP software in Nanjing was that it should be possible to integrate China’s statutory Golden Tax System to ensure that invoicing transactions are legally compliant at all times. Companies in China are legally obliged to use this financial software when they sell goods to business partners and in order to reclaim sales tax. This software also meets the requirements of the Chinese tax authorities for standardized reports on accounting and payment transactions, accounts payable, accounts receivable, and balance sheets.

With just a few mouse-clicks, users can extract the financial and invoice data they need from SAP ERP and immediately create formatted reports in text or Microsoft Excel format. These reports are automatically imported into the Golden Tax System via a two-way interface, the ORBIS Golden Tax Interface (GTI). Conversely, the GTI converts the files created in the Golden Tax System into SAP-readable Microsoft Excel or text format and transfers them to the ERP solution.

SUSPA is currently extending its SAP functions in China by implementing Batch Management (BM) and Warehouse Management (WM). It is also planning an SAP roll-out in India.

A product from the SUSPA-Portfolio: Liftline for furniture; photo: SUSPA GmbH