British motor racing engine manufacturer Cosworth will continue to run a separate document management system, despite standardising its business on SAP software from July.
Cosworth has improved relationships with its suppliers and reduced product time to market since going live with a document management system from EMC called Documentum eRoom.
The system, hosted by EDS, lets Cosworth share design documents with its suppliers and customers and notifies them of any changes to current documents.
Prior to using eRoom, the firm had no standard process for sharing documents, according to Jeremy Hill, head of business systems at Cosworth.
"It was out of control. Different groups had different approaches to sharing documents, such as faxing designs, which needed to be reassembled at the other end, or biking around documents stored on CDs," he said.
Since Cosworth started using the system it has accelerated product development and cut time to market.
"eRoom has helped us deliver an efficient and responsive customer service and will help us extend this service to Williams F1," said Hill.
The firm is now in the middle of a business process re-engineering programme based around SAP Financial, HR and Supply Chain products. Although Cosworth wanted to standardise its processes and SAP had a portal system available for document sharing, Hill said the firm would stay with eRoom.
"Everything works well and the cost is low," he said.
Although Cosworth will have to rewrite interface code to allow eRoom to interface with SAP's supply chain systems, rather than the legacy materials requirements planning system currently in use, the additional work will be worth it, saidHill.
Users from partner companies needed little training or guidance to benefit from the system, he said. "There are also hidden benefits of improving collaboration with suppliers and partners. They feel part of the process and this can improve supplier commitment. It benefits our strategic relationship with suppliers."
Cosworth has more than 400 employees across factories in the UK and US. The UK division is due to go live with SAP in July with the help of reseller and systems integrator Ciber UK.