Communicating with a diverse network of suppliers is one of the toughest challenges facing manufacturers. Tasks such as scheduling deliveries, standardizing requirements and tracking order shipments become more daunting when dealing with many suppliers in many countries. To keep its supply chain flowing smoothly, auto maker Hyundai turned to business integration software.
In 2004, the management team at the Hyundai Motor Manufacturing plant in Montgomery, Ala., was looking for software that would allow it to improve its supplier relationship management processes. The plant does business with a network of around 80 manufacturing suppliers, some in North America and others as far away as Korea.
Hyundai needed an application package that could transmit data to and receive data from factories that operated on a wide range of software systems. Working with an outside consultant, the team at Hyundai decided that supplier management software based on the AS2 specification for transmitting data securely over the Internet would be the most cost-effective option, and the Seeburger BIS (in this case, business integration server) offering fit that bill.
"We thought that Seeburger would help us to work with our suppliers, especially Korean suppliers with different software versions," explained J.T. Hu, manager of materials management at Hyundai. The Seeburger BIS system can sync up with organizations that use other versions of Seeburger software, as well as with organizations that use systems from other vendors.
"I like [Seeburger BIS'] reliability and availability," Hu said. "In five years, we have had no major software failure." Hu helps maintain the Seeburger system along with an electronic data interchange administrator who handles production monitoring, inquiries from users and EDI certification for new suppliers.
At Hyundai, the Seeburger BIS software is integrated with SAP R/3 4.6 as well as SAP Materials Management. The SAP portal is used to display transaction information for each supplier; if, for whatever reason, data is lost during transfer, the supplier can log onto the SAP portal system to retrieve it.
Hyundai's Seeburger BIS system transmits the plant's daily production schedules to its suppliers. The software also sends the suppliers' data on major product management requirements, including forecasting and just-in-time manufacturing and delivery. The suppliers can also send data, such as advanced shipping notifications for parts and orders, to Hyundai through the Seeburger system.
According to Hu, Seeburger BIS meets Hyundai's data transmission and supplier management needs. "We have software that can guarantee that all of the EDI transmissions being sent to suppliers go out smoothly and without interruptions on the outbound side," he said. "On the inbound side, the system can always receive the receipts sent to us in an automated process. This guarantees that we get production and adequate parts without interruption."