In terms of sales figures, the Volkswagen Group, headquartered in Wolfsburg, Germany, is Europe’s biggest automobile manufacturer. In 2008, it shipped almost 6.3 million vehicles worldwide – in other words, it produced 26,600 cars a day. There are currently 180 different models within Volkswagen’s nine brands, which are manufactured at 61 locations throughout the world. Furthermore, the group works with more than 100 service providers and component suppliers, which are also intrinsic to production at Volkswagen. With annual sales of €113.8 billion in 2008, procurement volume is around €75 billion.
Of this procurement volume, 82% is for materials for series production and 18% for other, indirect materials. These indirect materials comprise mainly office supplies, tools, and machines for the various production locations. As visitors to the SAP Automotive Symposium in Berlin learnt from Maik Gummert, head of ITP procurement of indirect material at Volkswagen, the situation is highly complex, particularly with regard to the implementation of the supplier relationship management solution.
All procurement processes for research, development, and logistics at Volkswagen have been using the VWGroupsupply online platform since 2003. This runs on Volkswagen’s own SRM platform, which essentially comprises SAP SRM 7.0. The platform gives employees at Volkswagen a clear view of the key metrics related to suppliers and sales.
Volkswagen started working on implementing a ramp-up version of SAP SRM 6.0 in mid-2007. As Gummert explained, some shortcomings had to be addressed here to enable the system to be stabilized in early 2008. Currently, for example, the project team is working on end-to-end document flow. The back-end hardware for the central SRM system is located at group headquarters in Wolfsburg, with users accessing it from sites across the globe – in India, North America, and South America. According to Gummert, Volkswagen aims to achieve global coverage for the SRM system within the next one and a half years, that is, by spring 2011.
Of the 370,000 Volkswagen employees worldwide, currently around 1,600 users access SAP SRM 7.0 – with its 43,000 or so documents – through Volkswagen’s reinstalled portal, known as Portal 70. Gummert revealed Volkswagen’s road map for SAP SRM 7.0, in which the system is on track to become a fully integrated sourcing and procurement solution. At the moment, the project team is working on replacing the software for catalog ordering.