Few industries have optimized their business processes to the same extent as the automotive industry. Based on the recommendations of national and international automotive associations, complex supply chain processes have been created which place high demands on the information technology used by the enterprises involved. To be of best possible service, enterprise software should optimize a number of crucial flows for businesses in the industry.
Digital messages are more than just information in a special format (syntax). Each message contains a high degree of importance or content (semantics). In the automotive industry, it is very important to process information from your business partners in the right way, so it is necessary to understand it correctly. Products need to be made quickly and costs minimized, but with the highest possible quality—and the same applies to the outgoing information. It should be quick, clear and easy to understand so that each business partner can be served in “their” language.
You should also be able to transfer customer demands (e. g. customer schedules) as EDI messages so that your procurement department can forward the resulting material requisition in the form of call-offs to the suppliers.
Automated notification of incoming goods reduces the manual workload from the very beginning of the process. With automatically generated purchase orders and supplier schedules, goods can be transferred without manual intervention. For an efficient, uninterrupted logistics flow, it is essential that each partner involved has the correct information about the transport volume in time. This information is one of the key elements of material movements between different locations.
Each goods flow is also a packing flow. Due to this, packing in modern logistics is the “new” fourth resource—alongside human, machine and material resources. How much packing is necessary, when, and who can provide it? The answer to this question determines delivery capability.
Returnable packing should be trackable by separate accounts so it is possible to contact the relevant partner (customer, supplier or forwarder) for support with empty packing.
You also need support for printed invoices—single and collective—EDI invoices in different formats as well as self-billing invoices (SBI) in combination with consignment management if necessary. All processes should be as easy as possible to handle and preferably be done automatically. However, manual options should be available if more flexibility is desired.
Dispatch is where all the requirements related to demand flow, goods flow packing flow are accumulated. Not only are the transport requirements to customers and suppliers affected but also the contact with the forwarders, the internal production department and warehouse management. Everything must be synchronized, especially for serial delivery and supply—very often under pressure of time. Furthermore, the customer-specific requirements which are part of the business-critical supplier assessment must be handled in the same way as parts of a complex, integrated supply chain. The complex structure of the objects (n-level packing, delivery note line, delivery note, shipment and multisite transport—and means of transport) should be maintainable and easy to manage. Furthermore, you need to support users so that they can create the shipment object automatically and control the shipment process using parameters to manage business-critical processes in a secure and easy way.
Despite the size and complexity of these challenges, they can be solved effectively by running a powerful system that supports all these requirements. IFS Applications does, coming with integrated project management software that covers the entire process from the engineering of customer-specific parts (CAD integration) to monitoring their entire lifecycle—from the first prototype through serial production to after sales service. Furthermore, IFS Applications has been enhanced with the industry extension for the automotive supply chain to fulfill the specific requirements of the international automotive industry and enable business processes required to support the automotive and supplier industry in its daily work.
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