August 27, 2012
At the end of 2007 Continental acquired Siemens VDO Automotives. Five years on and the company’s new supplier relationship management system is one of the largest in Germany, with over 21,000 users across 250 locations worldwide.
A huge project, which involved migrating VDO’s SAP purchasing solution with 10,000 users to an SAP SRM platform. It didn’t just entail a large number of different SAP systems but also numerous third-party applications, such as a catalog solution for materials purchasing in revenue-enabling departments at Continental.
“Consolidating our systems revealed the weaknesses of our old SAP SRM 4.0,” says Armin Schmitt, head of supplier relationship management IT at Continental. “We had added numerous enhancements and modifications in the ten years since we implemented the system. Support took a lot of effort, and we could not add any more new developments.” As SAP SRM 4.0 had reached the end of its maintenance period, it was time to innovate.
A completely new approach was urgently needed to deal with the vast array of old user interfaces. For instance, each part of the organization had a different process for approving invoices, resulting in a whole range of screens and maintenance-intensive interfaces to the SAP systems. There were so many different input screens that having a standard process for ordering office supplies across locations was a real challenge. Continental’s purchasing and IT managers realized that they had to standardize.