Morgan Motors' is in the middle of an ERP deployment across all its divisions. The British car manufacturer is making up for lost time after ten years of disparate data systems and an outdated Sage interface.
Graham Chapman, technology director at Morgan Motor Company, tells ComputerworldUK what the future holds for Morgan in terms of IT, and how the business is using improved mobility and integrated systems to boost its growth and improve customer relations.
1. The ERP problem
"Ten years ago we only implemented our ERP in parts of the business and we started to suffer because of that" says Graham Chapman, technology director at Morgan Motor Company. Chapman said Morgan Motors is ripping and replacing their ERP down to "maturity". He says: "We're a very old company but over the past ten years we have gotten really forward-thinking with technology. We might have that old style of businesses on the manufacturing side, but in the line-out are becoming very modern and technical."
2. Underneath the bodies is a heap of high-end tech
"Our cars are very traditional but underneath the bodies they use the same components of cars you seen daily on the road. We use a CA [computer-aided] interface designed on CAD [computer-aided design]."
3. Choosing IFS Applications
"IFS grew up in the manufacturing industry so it has very strong modules for quality and for product data management (PDM), for example.
"The plan is that in two years' time every employee will be using the ERP from job sheets and work construction processes like a shop-floor data capture site. Finance, sales, technical support design and development will have access."
4. Cutting papers costs, improving orders and minimising waste
Morgan Motors' new ERP needs to support product manufacturing end-to-end. IFS applications will allow the firm to cut manual paper entries. It will allow the business, and most importantly the shop-floor workers, some foresight on how many parts are needed and are in stock - minimising waste and speeding up ordering processes.
5. Tablets are the most cost-effective way for employees to use ERP
Now that the ERP is settling in, Chapman can turn from refining and streamlining, to investigating technology that will benefit its workers - and ultimately the bank balance.
"We are considering giving every employee a tablet and connect to our wireless network - running their daily tasks from it to see what they need to do and report any faults.
"It's a radical change. One, it hands the run of the workstation over to the employees as they can control their own work through automated instructions. Plus they can report faults in real time."
"I think it is the most feasible, cost effective route from a hardware purchasing point and it helps keep staff at the workstation rather than walking around to log on and off jobs. But most importantly it's easy for the employee," he added.
6. The future: Using warranty data to improve production line faults
Chapman hopes the ERP will mean Morgan Motors' can gain more from its customer information - data it has never taken advantage of before.
"We'll better understand design. We have never had clarity on warranty figures. But if engineers see the figures they will realise 'I'm not designing that component well enough in that area so I'll pay more attention'."
Chapman says sales information will be key for improved marketing and upselling relevant items, like a Morgan umbrella or suitcase, to a big spender.
7. The car industry as a whole - what are the biggest IT issues?
"One of the biggest issyes in car manufacturing IT is the amount of tech going into vehicles from an operating system (OS) point of view.
"If you look at entertainment systems that are based on Andriod, some of them integrate with the control systems of the car so you need to guarantee they cannot be hacked.
"You hear some horror stories that you can hack remotely."