APQP: Quality planning process in supplier management
SAP interface ensures automated data transfer and significantly faster processes in ZF supplier management
In just nine months, consultants and developers from CLC xinteg GmbH, together with the project team from ZF Friedrichshafen AG, succeeded in standardizing important supplier management processes and making them more user-friendly and efficient. "That was a really sporting achievement," we sometimes hear ourselves say when we look back on the successful completion of a tightly timed, tightly scheduled project.
Developing and implementing the SAP interface to a collaboration platform that serves ZF as the basis for its supplier management was sporting in every respect - and very successful in the end. Because now ZF employees and suppliers benefit from great time savings and significantly faster processes. One reason for this is the SAP interface developed by CLC xinteg, which transfers data automatically - in both directions. This is a real added value, because decision-making and approval processes can be controlled in a more targeted manner via an SAP workflow and documented in a verifiable manner.
"It was a matter of seizing the opportunity and working out a uniform result for the entire group right away."Johannes Weinmann, globally responsible for the ZF sampling process and part of the eAPQP team
Standardize, digitize and at the same time convey a uniform image
At the beginning of 2020, CLC xinteg received an order from ZF Friedrichshafen AG to support the company in standardizing and digitizing the quality planning of purchased materials. The requested fast, user-friendly, group-wide and thus worldwide solution should also improve supplier communication. "We had to seize the opportunity and develop a uniform result for the entire Group," recalls Johannes Weinmann, who is globally responsible for the ZF sampling process and part of the eAPQP team.
In order to replace the outdated supplier management tool by the end of 2020, implement a new future-proof solution, optimize supplier communication and improve the
business partners to convey a uniform image of ZF, a little more than nine months remained. A sporting achievement that required a lot of experience on the part of those involved in the project, as well as conscientious planning and project management on both sides.
A sustainable solution emerges
CLC used several ODataServices to implement an SAP interface to the basis of ZF supplier management, a collaboration platform that 100,000 companies from 70 countries have also been working with for decades. To ensure secure communication, we used the SAP middleware PI & PO and also implemented a PPAP solution (CLCPADD® PPAP+), which systematically maps the supplier and customer sampling processes. Based on our modern Fiori apps (CLCPADD® S Suite+) the ZF buyers now serve a
convenient and intuitive interface for entering the data, which is then automatically transferred to the collaboration platform. A user-friendly solution that also provides a much better overview of the data in the SAP system. In other words: "Thanks to the modern and up-to-date application, users now have access to exactly the information they need in a process-relevant manner," says CLC Managing Director Christian Becker, describing the benefit. Additional steps that can be controlled directly from the tool are also possible, such as the automated dispatch of delivery date reminders. Likewise, orders for the measurement or quality inspection of delivered goods can be assigned across departments via this workflow.
Continuous improvement of the quality planning process in supplier management
"Under enormous time pressure and interrupted by COVID-19-related stops, we have implemented a sustainable solution for the standardization and digitization of the quality planning process in ZF's supplier management. A great thing for us and the entire project team and a huge success!" Christian Becker is pleased and would like to take this opportunity to thank everyone involved once again for the constructive cooperation.
Since November 2020, the international rollout of the eAPQP project has been underway with the support of CLC experts, so that all divisions worldwide will soon be able to implement the process. Employees and suppliers are trained online on how to use the new quality planning process in supplier management. Johannes Weinmann, his colleagues and the CLC experts are doing everything in their power to provide users with the best possible support and to ensure that the transition phase goes smoothly. In parallel, the eAPQP team is working on continuously improving the jointly developed solution and also adapting it to new requirements in a future-proof manner.
ZF Friedrichshafen AG is a globally active technology group and supplies systems for mobility in passenger cars, commercial vehicles, and industrial technology. ZF makes vehicles see, think and act: In the four technology fields of Vehicle Motion Control, Integrated Safety, Automated Driving, and Electromobility, ZF offers comprehensive solutions for established vehicle manufacturers as well as for emerging providers of transportation and mobility services. ZF electrifies vehicles in a wide range of categories and contributes with its products to reducing emissions and protecting the climate.