Custom ERP to optimize operations at Toyota Motor Corporation
- Modular Java-based ERP system for large-scale enterprise processes
- Reduced total cost of ownership and easier customization of the final solution
- Improved adoption and painless use of the system by all employees
Iflexion redesigned a custom ERP system at a dealership of the world’s biggest automotive manufacturer to improve their operations and reduce the solution’s TCO.
Toyota Motor Corporation is a world-known automotive manufacturer headquartered in Toyota City, Japan. As of the end of 2018, the corporation numbers seven key business divisions, 600+ subsidiaries, and 350K+ employees around the globe. Throughout over 80 years of operation, Toyota has become the world’s largest car company and the market leader in selling hybrid electric vehicles.
One of the Toyota Motor largest dealerships turned to Iflexion with an ambitious challenge.
For many years, the company was using a custom Oracle-based ERP system to automate the work of their commercial departments. The system was developed and supported in-house. However, with time the solution started to go through a number of serious issues:
- Complex customization. The company was putting great effort and investment into scaling up the solution and extending its functionality. This became a stumbling block when it came to connecting the new dealership centers to the system.
- High TCO. The cost of the system’s maintenance and support exceeded the initial expectations. The total cost of ownership (TCO) was impressive due to the expensive Oracle licenses, as well as the increased spend on customization and support.
- Poor user adoption. The system faced adoption issues because of its complex logic. The company had to organize time-consuming training to explain to new employees how to use the system correctly.
Apart from overcoming the existing technical challenges, the company also planned to reengineer their business processes in accordance with Toyota Motor Corporation updated requirements. With this in mind, the company’s top management decided to go for an in-depth redesign of the existing ERP solution, in order to achieve the following goals:
- Reboot and restructure the company’s business processes with their further implementation in the new ERP solution.
- Reduce the TCO of the ERP system.
- Make the system easily scalable to ensure that new branches can be painlessly connected to the same environment.
- Ensure the ERP’s simpler support, maintenance, and customization at a lower cost.
- Address user adoption issues and make the system easy to understand and attractive for end-users.
To ensure that the technology renovation goes in line with the business changes, Iflexion offered the Customer to start with the business analysis stage. A dedicated team of business analysts investigated and described the company’s business processes using the established methodologies and tools of business process modeling, including:
- Business Process Modeling Notation (BPMN)
- Unified Modeling Language (UML)
- Corel iGrafx, Sparx Enterprise Architect
Iflexion’s business analysts had a series of meetings and workshops with the Customer’s managers and domain experts, which enabled the involved parties to rethink the existing business workflows and elaborate on the optimal ways of putting them into practice through a brand-new ERP solution.
As a result, the Customer received a comprehensive description of optimized business processes, which included a large number of models (charts) and associated documentation. Iflexion described more than 200 business processes, including 4,000+ business activities that became subject to automation. The final document:
- Describes the key business process established at the dealership.
- Stipulates the change management process at the business and technological levels.
- Enumerates all the requirements to the redesigned ERP system.
Iflexion’s professionals applied their experience in enterprise software development to rework the implemented ERP solution in accordance with the outlined goals and results of the business analysts’ work. Our expertise in fleet management software development was also relevant for assuring the system met the standards of the automotive dealer.
The custom ERP system automates the Customer’s key business processes through three core modules:
- The Automobile Sales Center Module ensures the car retail and wholesale operations, as well as provides customer relationship management features.
- The Spares Module fosters the retail and wholesale operations for spare parts and accessories, and provides the toolset for warehouse control management.
- The After Service Module serves to automate the after-sales and repair processes.
The custom dealership management system is built on the Java platform that involves a great number of core Java technologies, such as JPA, BPEL, Spring Framework (Boot, Data, Security), etc.
The custom ERP software environment includes the following components:
- Wildfly as the application server for Java services
- PostgreSQL as the database server
- Additional OpenESB and Oracle BPEL components to support business processes
Iflexion chose the technology stack keeping in mind the Customer’s requirements to reduce the ERP’s TCO and relying on the prototyping test results.
The custom ERP system can be installed as a cluster (horizontally scaled), which ensures its high performance and stability. The clustering is done at two levels: the application server level (Wildfly) and the database level (the multi-master replication variant). During the clustering of the application server, the user session is replicated, which makes the system more stable.
To build an effective requirements management process, project reporting, and time management, the project team was using Atlassian JIRA. Atlassian Confluence was used to create a corporate wiki that covers the development process, describes the system at the architecture and functional levels, as well as provides the guidelines on further customization, support, and effective use of the custom ERP by different user groups.
Iflexion successfully accomplished the custom ERP development in line with the Toyota Motor Corporation requirements, so that it can be implemented in all regional car dealerships (including Toyota and Lexus).
Iflexion built the brand-new custom ERP using open source technologies, which eliminated costly license payments and allowed the owners to reduce the solution’s total cost of ownership.
The solution is highly adaptive to customer business processes thanks to Business Process Execution Language (BPEL), which allows each dealership of the holding to create and implement their own version of business processes while operating in the same system.
The system is easily scalable, thus new dealerships can now be added through unsophisticated system customizations.
The multi-tier architecture guarantees a lower cost of the system’s further modification. As the solution includes presentation, application, and database layers, the developers can bring in changes to every layer without changing the two others.
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