The company said the upgrade was needed to rein in spiralling software customisation costs. Marcus Svanberg, programme manager for enterprise resource planning at Toyota Industries, said full roll-out of the system would take until the end of 2008, but it was a necessary process to get under way.
The company originally customised the ERP system in 1996 to match its business more closely, but supporting the custom software has become increasingly costly and difficult.
"The helpdesk staff had to understand our version, and we had to use our own original consultants," said Svanberg. He said that with the latest Java-based Lawson M3 5.2 version of the software, the functionality BT Europe had built in now came as standard.
The company will use the Lawson M3 software for its sales, service and distribution operations, involving 1,400 employees in 16 countries, and Svanberg is planning to control the application centrally.
The system will help the company manage business in several markets with a higher degree of coordination. It will also improve employee access to information regarding key business processes, which will help improve efficiency and customer service and provide tools that can help increase profitability and growth, said Svanberg.
"Our aim is to harmonise business processes across Europe and control how the system is configured," he said.
The M3 software will be run on an IBM AS/400 server hosted by IBM in Sweden. It will communicate with BT Europe's JD Edwards production system (now called Oracle Enterprise One) and Baan Salesplus software.
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