Nissan Motor Utilizes SAP ERP at EV Battery Plant in UK

SAP to Support Nissan’s EV Strategy by Providing System Infrastructure for Global Expansion

TokyoSAP Japan Co., Ltd. has announced that Nissan Motor Co., Ltd. has decided to utilize SAP ERP at a plant manufacturing lithium ion batteries for EVs. This new plant, which is located within Nissan’s plant in Sunderland, UK, will start operating in 2012. It is Nissan’s second lithium-ion battery plant, following that in Zama City, with annual production capacity of 60,000.

Nissan, which aims to become the global leader in zero-emission vehicles, and Renault, an alliance partner of Nissan, plan to manufacture eight EV models under three brands, starting with the Nissan Leaf, its global strategic EV released last December by Nissan. In order to implement this plan, in 2007, Nissan, NEC group, and others established a joint venture, Automotive Energy Supply Corporation (AESC), to develop, manufacture, and sell lithium ion batteries. AESC mass-produces lithium ion batteries at Nissan’s Zama Operation Center in Kanagawa.

The SAP ERP system that Nissan has decided to adopt at its Sunderland Plant will globally expand the production planning system that Nissan built in 2010 at its Zama Operation Center.

Nissan started to consider introducing a production planning system using SAP ERP at its Zama Operation Center in October 2009. Compared to automobiles, batteries have a long lead time for produciton, which necessitated a suitable system with integrated production planning and management. Nissan’s sales channels for its batteries include Renault, Nissan’s service division and OEMs and thus in the production process, there is also a need for shipments of modules that have not gone through the final packaging process. Furthermore, at the new battery plant within the Zama Operation Center, there was a need to provide support for a series of business activities including sales, procurement, and accounting, in addition to production control functions, and a need for a system that could handle global expansion.

As a result of considering those requirements, Nissan decided on a grand design for an integrated system consisting of three parts: a planning system, to support the business process by integrating all stages from production planning to performance management; a manufacturing execution system (MES), to control battery production; and a traceability system, to support quality control by tracking manufacturing history. SAP ERP was selected for the planning system.

Nissan had decided at an early stage that it wanted a packaged solution, in order to minimize both cost and installation time, and as a result of its selection process, the company decided to install SAP ERP, which has an established reputation globally as a performance and production management system. In particular, with a view to extending the system to plants worldwide in the future, Nissan was impressed by the following points.

  • Easy connectivity with external services

  • Easy to anticipate impacts of changes

  • Easy version management for each bolt-on component

The new system came into operation at the Zama Operation Center in July 2010, with installation being achieved in just nine months.

In the future, Nissan aims to manufacture 500,000 lithium ion batteries annually, by developing battery plants at five centers, including the US, Portugal, and France. In this way, Nissan intends to further accelerate its EV strategy, as part of the alliance between Nissan and Renault.

About the Nissan Motor plant in Sunderland, UK

Established in 1984 (production started in 1986)
Total production to date: 6,250,000 vehicles
Total production in 2010: 423,000 vehicles
Employees: 4,100
Biggest automotive plant and export center in the UK
Models manufactured: Qashquai, Qashquai+2, Note, Juke