- Increase consistency in functionality and applications through a homogeneous, global EDI/EAI platform
- Improve and streamline business processes and customer and partner
on-boarding while adding stability, dependability and security to transactions
- Guaranteed business processes, such as invoicing, inventory reports and advance shipping notices to customers and suppliers
- Increased efficiency and improved service to internal departments and trading partners
- Time, money and resources saved by consolidating to one vendor / license and a single solution for EDI
- Significant cost savings for data exchanges with OFTP V2
“The consolidation to Axway's TSIM solution brought reduced maintenance costs and harmonized business processes worldwide.”
Global EDI Consolidation
Founded in Hanover Germany in 1871, Continental Corporation is one of the five largest automotive suppliers in the world, and ranks as the second largest supplier in Europe. Continental’s Automotive Group has three divisions — Chassis & Safety, Powertrain, and Interior. The Automotive Group employs 78,000 collaborators at more than 130 locations worldwide, and achieved sales of over €12 billion in 2009.
Even though Continental’s Automotive Group had been using Axway’s solution since 1998, multiple mergers and acquisitions over the years had required the EDI team at Continental to support a heterogeneous EDI landscape. In 2008, however, the Automotive Group decided to consolidate its three EDI systems with a full migration to Axway TradeSync Integration Manager (TSIM), and at the same time standardize and integrate all business processes through TSIM.
Josef Radlbeck, Head of EDI and Business Integration at Continental Automotive, explained the importance of EDI consolidation to the TSIM platform: “We now have one central TradeSync Integration Manager which is the same system for all regions. It is our central hub for integration and communication. Our customers benefit from the same functionality and the same applications all over the world. The consolidation to Axway’s solution brought reduced maintenance costs and harmonized business processes worldwide. Within the global EDI team, we now need one common skill-set, which means we are better organized, and we can offer improved service to internal departments and to our trading partners.”
Continental Automotive has over 260 customers and 1,480 suppliers connected worldwide. An additional 1,380 suppliers use a forms-based Web application that provides standard EDI business processes to external partners lacking their own EDI infrastructure. Other external connections through TSIM include freight forwarders, customs authorities, and network providers. TSIM also handles about 11,000 archiving and retrieval messages daily, with a solution provided and hosted by Axway in Berlin. TSIM is integrated and interfaced with internal business processes including the 44 ERP systems in production at Continental Automotive. TSIM handles over 18,000 transactions per day for the 5,000 partner connections to Continental Automotive. The volume of transactions and the number of partners is constantly increasing.
“We now have one central TradeSync Integration Manager which is the same system for all regions. It is our central hub for integration and communication. Our customers benefit from the same functionality and the same applications all over the world. The consolidation to Axway’s solution brought reduced maintenance costs and harmonized business processes worldwide.”
Business-Critical Data Exchanges
The primary business processes managed by TSIM include data exchange of delivery schedules, and advice shipping notes with customers and suppliers. These processes are crucial to the business. Additional processes include invoicing, inventory reports and stock movements. “It is important to have the guarantee that the business processes are working, and also to be capable of fulfilling the requirements from our partners. We have this guarantee with Axway’s solution, and we can also quickly fulfill our partner’s requirements,” stated Radlbeck.
Continental Automotive’s global EDI team consists of 16 employees. The team handles daily requirements for new interfaces and mapping from customers, and the team is also involved in internal integration projects. Business-critical internal and intercompany invoices are exchanged through TSIM with the finance department. Continental Automotive involved their small business partners in the world of B2B via the marketplace SupplyOn. A range of different supplier interfaces to SupplyOn are put in place regularly. “The EDI and Business Integration team is basically responsible for operating the entire business worldwide via the Axway TradeSync Integration Manager,” said Radlbeck.
Enhanced Security and Cost Savings with OFTP2
Continental Automotive has tested Axway OFTP V2 with the intention of migrating to the new protocol in the near future. OFTP V2 is a component of the Axway TradeSync Integration Manager. It is flexible enough to be implemented with all existing OFTP partner connections. “We expect to benefit from major cost savings in terms of communication charges and operating costs for data exchanges. We will take advantage of the security features provided with OFTP V2 including encryption and PKI certifi cates to guarantee secure data exchange between the partners, while benefitting from low-cost Internet communications,” said Radlbeck.
A Choice Based on Technology and Experience
The choice to consolidate using Axway TradeSync Integration Manager was simple for Continental Automotive, since it had already been using several systems for many years, and the company was entirely satisfied with the solution. In addition, the majority of its partners in the automotive industry also use Axway solutions. Acquiring a global corporate licence has also resulted in a reduction in the cost of licences. “Axway has the required experience and references within the automotive industry. Axway has been an ideal partner both in terms of technology and experience,” said Radlbeck. Axway’s engineers guided Continental Automotive throughout the consolidation project, while transferring experience-specific know-how to the team.
Continental Automotive benefits from a special Axway technical support contract, wherein Axway provides expertise in accordance with the business requirements. “With this agreement, we are very, very flexible. We are able to realize explicit requirements for our partners in a timely manner,” concluded Radlbeck.