Development of an ERP system that will support main business processes at the Nexteer Prototype Center.
- Sector: Automotive
- Country: USA
Nexteer Automotive is a leader in intuitive motion control.
Nexteer is a multibillion-dollar global steering and driveline business delivering electric and hydraulic steering systems, steering columns, and driveline systems, as well as ADAS and automated driving technologies for OEMs around the world.
The company’s global workforce of 13,000+ serves more than 60 customers in every major region of the world. Nexteer has 28 manufacturing plants and its automotive’s customers include BMW, Ford, Toyota and VW.
Creating new IT solution
In this case study, we show how an MVP approach was applied to one of our projects and how our Business Analysts and User Experience Designers collaborated with the client, to translate a vision into a successful solution.
In 2017, Nexteer Prototype Center decided to switch from using access databases to an ERP class system for supporting production processes. However, due to the specificity of the prototype parts production processes, none of the solutions available on the market addressed Nexteer’s needs.
Nexteer’s global workforce that serves over 60 customers in major regions of the world
manufacturing plants and 13 customer service centers in both Americas, Europe and Asia
Scope of work
Nexteer decided to create a new IT solution. Our role was to conduct analysis and advise the client on how to extract value from their data. Their ERP system was developed in collaboration with Future Processing.
Support business processes
The system will support the main business processes at the Nexteer Prototype Center.
- Manufacturing: engineering, work orders, scheduling, workflow management, quality control, manufacturing process, manufacturing flow.
- Order processing: order entry, pricing, shipping, sales, reporting.
- Supply chain management: supply chain, supplier scheduling, purchasing, warehousing (receiving, packing).
As the Business Process Coordinator for Nexteer Automotive Global Prototype Operations, I noticed that the processes, applications and databases within Prototype Operations had become antiquated. Because of the specialised work within the prototype, existing “canned” systems did not provide the required traceability, scheduling, reporting and flexibility that was necessary.
The complexity of both updating existing applications, as well as creating brand new systems to move us toward the goal of being a paperless facility, was beyond the ability of our in-house programmers.
We looked to Future Processing to fulfill our needs and they are delivering. We are now in the process of programming and implementing completely new ERP systems in our front office, as well as brand new MES systems for our assembly and quality certification processes. Challenges are addressed quickly and efficiently.
In 2017, the MVP version of the module supporting manufacturing processes was launched in the United States. After a successful implementation, Nexteer decided to implement the newly prepared solution in the remaining locations of the Prototype Centers in Poland and Switzerland.
Introducing new ERP software allows customers to verify their vision and knowledge of which additional functionalities must or should be developed to increase business value.
The MVP phase was also a great opportunity to delete all features which did not add substantial value and replace them with more valuable elements. This is a great example of implementing a new IT solution according to the Deming Cycle – Plan, Do, Check, Act.
Verifying the solution in the first plant allowed to establish the impact of changes in the business process, optimise and implement good practices from the Main Development Center to the next Prototype Sites.
Implementing changes in the MVP version with lightweight architecture makes future changes easier and cheaper to implement.
Working with Future Processing has been a positive experience. The professional structure is there to meet our needs and respond promptly. Team members are respectful and pleasant and an absolute joy to work with on a daily basis, whether it was the account manager, project manager, business analyst, programmers, UI experts, QA and so many more.
The working relationship is such that we feel we are part of their team and we are one, large “family” working towards a common goal. We have been working with Future Processing for multiple years now and will continue to do so.
Main benefits of our partnership
- newly delivered functionalities and introduced changes satisfied client’s needs,
- relieving the Product Owner increased his availability for the organisation,
- being aware of risks and opportunities related to the implementation/non-implementation of requirements – before the development phase, the client selects the preferred solution from proposed alternatives, knowing the risks and opportunities,
- presenting low and high fidelity mockups that provided a real vision of the product’s appearance, which allows the client to discuss the product with stakeholders, often leading to new conclusions,
- easier test automation thanks to writing acceptance criteria as the Given/When/ Then notation which served as a basis for test scenarios in Behavior-Driven Development (BDD),
- the client can flexibly adapt the scope of subsequent releases to changing priorities of the organisation,
- higher delivery speed and lack of waiting time thanks to a good understanding of the customer’s domain by the development team, clear requirements, support tools, and day-to-day availability of Business Analyst,
- smaller number of problems in the production environment as detailed BDDs are the basis for effective preparation of test scenarios, which translates into a higher quality of the delivered solution,
- knowledge about long-term development direction creates conditions for making adequate decisions on technical solutions, so the system is better prepared for further development,
- new members of the development team very quickly gain domain proficiency, which reduces introduction time.
Looking to the future
Building on the successful collaboration in the early stages, Nexteer decided to continue the development with Future Processing.
Working with Future Processing and specifically, our dedicated Business Analyst, has been a wonderful experience. The team works hard on providing requirements-based solutions. They also are often able to think “one step ahead” and provide additional efficiency and process improvements.
Although working in different regions of the world, they have an excellent understanding of our value stream process. Mock-ups of ideas are an excellent resource to demonstrate ideas before implementation. As we prepare for each release, the team works well to organize the updates accordingly to meet schedule demands.
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