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Customers of SAP manufacturing solutions can innovate--and win--in Europe

by Graceanne Bowe

April 14, 2011

By Graceanne Bowe, SAPinsider Events 

Today in Paris, two senior SAP executives presented “PLANT MEETS WORLD: Resilient Globalization Drives New Strategies” to SAP customers at the Manufacturing 2011 conference.  

Dr. Uwe Scheerer, Senior Director of Manufacturing Sales EMEA, provided a brief overview of the state of manufacturing in Europe.  The only country to have shown any significant growth in the last several years is Germany, and even that bit of growth has not been substantial.  With much manufacturing being outsourced to India, China, Japan, and other countries, it would seem that manufacturing is a dying industry in Europe. 

Or is it? 

Dr. Scheerer suggested that overseas manufacturing companies need parts and components to complete finished goods, and it is in this arena that European manufacturers have a chance to shine.  He cited the Indian company, Tata, manufacturer of the compact car, Nano.    Because the Nano is an economy car, the focus for Tata is to keep the costs of manufacturing low.  Enter European companies that can innovate by relying on years of experience and hundreds of strong supplier relationships to develop low-cost methods to manufacture the parts that companies like Tata need. 

Of course, technology is an important enabler, and Frank Schuler, Vice President Solution Management, Manufacturing took the stage to offer some insights into SAP’s roadmap for its manufacturing solutions. He described SAP innovations designed to improve the manufacturing process; these included product structure synchronization between the eBOM and manufacturing BOM; work order collaboration, WIP tracking, and exchange of traceability data between clients and outsourcing providers; the ability to share product genealogies across procurement, production, and logistics for better manufacturing planning and execution; improved integration between MES and ERP systems; and more. 

At the end of the keynote customers were asked to consider the question: “Are your processes agile enough?” and were presented with the challenge to “operate, collaborate, and decide better.”

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