Cooper Standard specializes in sealing and fluid handling systems and components for the automotive sector. Many of Cooper Standard’s products are offered with lifetime guarantees and, to honor its warranty promises, the company keeps detailed records, stretching back over many years.
In the past, the majority of the company’s information was stored on paper. Paper employment records, for example, were retained over decades, alongside regulatory and safety data. In general, document stores were located with each business unit, effectively isolated from other departments.
For electronic records, employees had created multiple shared drives and attempted to keep track by manually updating spreadsheets. The inefficient approach created a complex maze of silos, with some data stored on individual workstations, leading to data security and compliance risks.
José Gala-Garza, project manager, ECM architect and data integrator at Cooper Standard, explained, “Our original motivation was to do everything possible to convert documents to electronic records, managed from a single point of control. Our mission was to remove thousands upon thousands of pieces of paper and make the information easily accessible and searchable throughout the company. This would release physical space, improve the flow of information and cut costs.”
At the time, Cooper Standard ran multiple ERP solutions, many of them introduced through acquisition. To streamline operations, Cooper Standard looked to create regional centers of excellence for core business services, powered by SAP S/4HANA solutions running in SAP HANA Enterprise Cloud.
“As we prepared to open our finance processing center in Europe, we realized that ensuring compliance for such a large volume of documents presented a significant challenge,” commented Gala-Garza. “We looked for an effective solution to help meet our regulatory requirements without sending our costs soaring.”
By streamlining our document management with OpenText Extended ECM for SAP Solutions, Cooper Standard is superbly positioned to meet tomorrow’s automotive challenges.
Cooper Standard began its consolidation project in Europe, aiming to eliminate all paper records. As the company embraced SAP S/4HANA as its corporate financial standard, Extended ECM for SAP Solutions proved to be the ideal choice.
Gala-Garza explained, “When we create a financial record, our regulators insist that it may not be amended or altered by anyone—including our system administrators. With the OpenText solution, we can store documents securely on a write-once read-many-times basis, enabling us to comply with the European legislation while providing users rapid access to information from across the company.”
Cooper Standard deployed its SAP solutions on the SAP HANA Enterprise Cloud, which is designed principally for security, reliability and application transaction performance.
Gala-Garza commented, “Adding large volumes of historic and current documents would add significantly to our cloud costs. We found that the OpenText solution could provide full integration with our SAP S/4HANA systems and deliver very cost-effective document management capabilities to all our business units.”
In one case, a customer called about the production materials used 20 years ago. Thanks to OpenText Extended ECM for SAP Solutions, we could locate the data—essential for answering warranty questions in a business that offers lifetime product guarantees.
Cooper Standard brought forward its digital transformation with a single platform to serve multiple departments—from personnel to finance and warranty claims to manufacturing.“OpenText helps both external and internal customers by making complete document histories easily available,” said Gala-Garza. “By digitizing our documents, we have complete and searchable records. For example, if a former employee needs to certify to the government that they worked at Cooper Standard on one specific day of 1964, we can find and provide that information—reducing time and complexity for everyone.”
Similarly, for materials, components and manufacturing, Extended ECM for SAP Solutions helps the company track every workflow stage with complete documentation for every activity.
“With the OpenText solution, we collect and store information on raw materials and every part of the manufacturing process, and we now possess a complete picture,” commented Gala-Garza. “If an engineer wants to verify a specific technique we developed 25 years ago, and any subsequent manufacturing changes, we have the data. In one case, a customer called about the production materials used 20 years ago. Thanks to OpenText Extended ECM for SAP Solutions, we could locate the data—essential for answering warranty questions in a business that offers lifetime product guarantees.”
Alongside the operational benefits, the switch to digital documentation helps Cooper Standard reach its ambitious sustainability objectives. By eliminating physical documents wherever possible, the company has cut paper consumption and reduced print costs.
On the manufacturing side, the availability of past data enables engineers to inspect materials and processes and look for improvements that will help to enhance production and cut waste.
Gala-Garza concluded, “Because we now have a searchable store of information in OpenText, we can go back and see what we did in the past, learn from it and create more efficient solutions. By streamlining our document management with OpenText Extended ECM for SAP Solutions, Cooper Standard is superbly positioned to meet tomorrow’s automotive challenges.”