High customer expectations
Servicing a global industry that is driven by just-in-time (JIT) manufacturing and lean operating processes requires a supplier to be agile, responsive and cost-effective. This is a continuous goal for Autoliv’s business operations. After a period of rapid expansion, Autoliv looked to consolidate its internal systems to ensure effective management of its business.
Ivan Corvillo, EDI Manager at Autoliv, explained: “We embarked on a major project to consolidate our ERP systems. This gave us the opportunity to look at how we were trading with our customers and suppliers, and we realized that EDI was an area where we could improve the service we offered our customers.”
After evaluating the market, the company selected OpenText™ Trading Grid™ as the basis of its new electronic data interchange (EDI) messaging platform. One of the main reasons for the choice was the global reach and quality of support that OpenText delivers.
With OpenText, Autoliv can adhere to its business philosophy and commitment to put customers first. Autoliv can trade with customers and suppliers in the way that is best for the individual customer or supplier, rather than trying to enforce a particular communication or messaging standard. The result is that the company must support a wide range of document types and EDI standards.
“We have over 600 suppliers in 30 countries worldwide that we trade with daily. In addition, we have automated as many of our business documents and processes as possible, from initial purchase order demands to advance ship notices, received delivery schedules to invoicing, all integrated to our accounting and back-office systems. In all, I’d estimate we are processing over 12 million inbound and outbound messages a year. It’s essential that each one is sent and received successfully if we’re to deliver the service levels our customers expect,” Corvillo explained.
It’s quite common for Tier 1 automotive suppliers to locate their production facilities close to those of their customers to satisfy the service demands of JIT manufacturing and meet customer expectations. Autoliv has taken this one step further by introducing the concept of “Sequencing Centers” in the vicinity of or within its customers’ manufacturing plants.
Sequencing Centers are responsible for final assembly and ensuring that the correct Autoliv products are fed into the customer’s production process at the right time and in the right order. The company estimates that an Autoliv Sequence Center receives a new order almost every minute and that order is executed and delivered within two to five hours, depending on the product.The rapid and effective flow of business documents is essential to ensure this ultra-agile business model operates successfully.