BMW South Africa opens SAP Competence Hub

The BMW Group has officially opened a BMW SAP Competence Hub in South  Africa. Together with two other IT hubs, situated in the United States  and India, the BMW SAP Competence Hub will be rendering IT services  worldwide, concentrating specifically on SAP-based production applications.

“Today, process requirements and process solutions extend beyond  all departmental boundaries. Therefore, we require end-to-end  considerations of the technical processes and customer interfaces. As  a result of the further development, BMW Group IT has taken another  decisive step towards customer orientation, standardisation, agility  and internationalisation by opening a SAP Competence Hub in South  Africa,” explains Karl Probst, CIO for the BMW Group.  “In order to  meet the growing dependence on IT for all elements of the automotive  industry, the choice of this location has been made, first and  foremost, according to the availability of IT skills in the region.”

The pooling of specific application-based software at the IT  competence centres sharing global responsibility, promotes the further  industrialisation of BMW IT and the further development of the IT  organisation from a federal IT structure with a central IT function on  the one hand, and process-oriented specialized IT centres on the  other, to a strengthened, centralized IT organisation spanning all  departments and multiple global locations. Thanks to the distribution  of the competence centres across the global regions America, EMEA  (Europe, Middle East, and Africa) as well as Asia/Pacific, it will be  possible for these centres to understand and fulfil the local demands  of markets, production locations and, in some cases, customers even better.

According to Bodo Donauer, Managing Director of BMW South Africa, the  company has been exporting the BMW 3 Series Sedan to other parts of  the world from South Africa since 1992. However it’s a little known  fact that cars have not been the country’s only BMW export.  For the  past six years BMW South Africa has been outsourcing its local IT  expertise to other BMW production locations around the world.

Concentrating specifically on configuring and enhancing SAP to cater  to the specific requirements of the BMW Group production network, the  work of these software engineers has allowed complex just-in-time and  just-in-sequence production processes to operate seamlessly in markets  such as China, Brazil and India. Additional SAP services ranging from  Sales and Marketing, Logistics, HR and Finance solutions have been  supplied to Germany, USA and the United Kingdom.

“The decision to establish a dedicated SAP Competence Hub in South  Africa reaffirms the BMW Group’s confidence in the quality of the work  our local software engineers have delivered to date. I am really  pleased that South African ingenuity and skill has resulted in the  opening of a local hub,” says Donauer.

Unlike other markets in the world, South African SAP skills are  unique in terms of how multi-skilled the resources are. For example,  around 60% of all South African SAP configurators are also SAP  software developers. This is attributed to the South African market  being mainly comprised of medium-sized companies, which forces the  consultants to be multi-skilled to enhance their competitiveness. This  local skills base provides the BMW Group access to a unique resource pool.

The local competence hub, staffed with approximately 80 SAP software  engineers, will concentrate its efforts on delivering world-class IT  solutions to the BMW global production network specifically in the  areas of BMW Internal Business Processes (production logistics,  warehousing and production IT solutions). Each of these applications  make it possible to produce highly complex and innovative vehicles  just-in-time and just-in-sequence at multiple production locations  around the world.

According to Pfungwa Serima, CEO at SAP Africa, the new BMW SAP  Competence Hub will be delivering market-changing innovations for BMW  subsidiaries across the globe. Based on the SAP real-time platform,  these application allow for better-informed decision making and  transformative innovation in the global automotive market. “When you  can increase quality and manufacture efficiently while delivering  excellent sales and service, you can significantly increase  profitability and secure a competitive advantage. SAP is thus  effectively powering the BMW value chain.”

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