BMW improves supply chain management

22 May 2008 View Comments
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BMW wants to improve links between suppliers and manufacturers

Car manufacturer BMW is using a service management system as part of a wider plan to improve supply chain lifecycles.

The platform introduction was triggered by complexities in the technology embedded in its cars and subsequent demand for systems to support servicing, said Bennie Vorster, the group’s vice president of IT solutions and technology standards.

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“We are working on the adaptation of the software to cover new car releases, and updates will be made,” he said.

Supply chain management continues to be a challenge for manufacturers whatever the sector, Vorster told Computing.

“Warehouse spaces to handle supply are becoming smaller and firms must deal with issues related to customers’ requirements for more choice and flexibility. So complexities related to the increasing demand for ‘just in time’ delivery processes must be met by efficient supply chain management systems,” he said.

Integration of mobile connectivity between systems and requirements from manufacturers or sales departments translates to short supply chain processes.

“To avoid inefficiency both in terms of time and space, we don’t order parts long before the production time to keep in our warehouses in case a customer orders a car of any particular specification.

“For that reason, the technology behind the process linking suppliers and manufacturers has to be seamless and as fast as possible,” said Vorster.

BMW uses SAP as its core platform along with a set of bespoke legacy systems. The organisation is looking at updating some of the programs managing different parts of its supply chain management process, and uses the Agile peer programming model to speed up delivery processes.

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