Powering sports car production
17 Dec, 2012 10:46 pm
At Ferrari, speed and precision are vital in our daily processes, as much as in the cars we produce. We are in the middle of a major overhaul of our enterprise resource planning (ERP) system, targeting a flexible and responsive supply chain, better commercial logistics, and better finance processes.
Last year we began a new ERP implementation, split into three phases: supply chain and manufacturing, commercial logistics and after sales, and finance. We began with the supply chain and manufacturing.
Before the implementation, we did a review of these processes and decided we needed to make a range of targeted improvements. With our customisation and fast manufacturing demands, combined with the precision we always take, there can be a lot of pressure on these systems to provide accurate data to the right people at the right time.
A shift in gear
Our supply chain changes mark a major development at Ferrari. We have introduced a new SCM process with the target of "zero shortages" along the production line, including a very tight connection between the SCM and Manufacturing technology, and the ICT works hand-in-hand with it. The new setup went live in January 2012 and the completion of the post go-live phase was achieved around June. The changes to our supply chain and manufacturing were made alongside changes to our production strategies, including a planned increase in production numbers.
The introduction of the new process was made alongside the moving of the material handling and warehouse management to an external third party logistics firm.
Amedeo Felisa, Ferrari's chief executive, is deeply involved in our daily operations, and is highly supportive of these technology changes. He has placed a focus on the supply chain and manufacturing, because it is of vital importance to our day-to-day and strategic focus. With all of the customisation that we can offer to our customers, and the rapid turnaround of the vehicles' production, we have had to dramatically target processes to make sure we are efficient and accurate.
As part of this strategy, we have created a production grid, which takes into account all of the possible combinations of customisation elements. The grid enables us to have all the right components ready and in the right place on time, and then produce the cars quickly and with precision to the exact requirements of our customers - making use of automated processes. We use our Infor ERP system very widely, right across people in manufacturing and the supply chain, and over to the Ferrari dealerships taking the orders and providing the finished cars to our customers.
We are much happier with our new setup: as well as improving flexibility, we have reduced the number of anomalies in the system. It has also been a useful experience for us to make these changes, and an opportunity to improve the knowledge all our staff have of our internal processes. With the change encompassing both and physical production and the ICT supporting it, as well as processes originating at the dealerships, we have been able to establish better relationships between many business departments and ICT.
Among the lessons we have learnt: it was the right decision to begin with a careful analysis of our existing processes, identifying the specific weak points and how they could best be tackled. This informed our strategy and gave us the ability to improve in all the necessary areas. We are also focused on benchmarking, so that we know we have a system that delivers us with some of the best manufacturing processes used by high-end car manufacturers.
We also learned ways of working very closely with our IT suppliers - and by having a great relationship supported by close communication with our ERP supplier, we have been able to efficiently make all the changes we needed. As we proceed to the next phases of the programme, we believe we have the right ways of working to continue to be highly effective.