UK racing engine manufacturer Cosworth has started the data cleansing phase of a £2m global SAP roll-out designed to improve business performance and reduce costs by consolidating systems.
The MySAP system will also provide an information backbone to cope with growth by acquisition and be flexible enough to cope with the expansion into new markets, said Jeremy Hill, head of business systems at Cosworth.
The project was approved in late 2004 after an audit highlighted that the company was running a range of disparate systems that were difficult to integrate. "It was not a problem to convince people to take on something new - we almost got a pull from the business," said Hill.
A greater challenge was dealing with groups of users who expected software tailored to their needs. Cosworth's IT team and SAP engineering specialist Ciber UK put considerable effort into the preparation stages of the project to ensure the adoption of best practice.
"People who work for Cosworth are used to attention to detail and perfection. We are trying to get across to people that there are some compromises that you have to make. The system is a great improvement but you cannot have everything on day one," said Hill.
The project will undergo a third simulation as part of a "belt and braces" approach to the business-critical system before it is rolled out across Cosworth's Northampton and Cambridge sites later this year. Implementation in the US will follow early next year.
An immediate benefit of the system will be that manufacturing managers hear about engineering changes more quickly. "In the motor racing business, changes to components can be quite rapid," Hill said.
Cosworth's MySAP system will eventually support 650 users. It runs on HP Proliant Windows 2003 servers and uses a SQL Server database.