Organization: Continental Automotive Systems

Consisting of more than 40 facilities and $6B in sales, Continental Automotive Systems (CAS), a division of Continental AG, is a leading technology partner to the international automotive industry. General Motors, Ford, Daimler Chrysler and others rely on CAS for their electronic and hydraulic brakes, stability and chassis control systems, electronic air suspension systems, sensors, and embedded telematics.

Business Challenge: Lost Resources from Tracking the Paper Trail

Building on its slogan of forward thinking, CAS identified an opportunity to streamline select engineering business practices.

“We were looking for a way to eliminate the massive paper trail and alleviate problems resulting from lost items triggered by new procurement and R&D requests,” says James Greenfield, Engineering Process Analyst. “Without visibility into these engineering processes, we found that we could not hold people accountable for missing deadlines. The result was significant time delays and man hours due to the number of calls to find out who had the proposal or purchase order, why they had not reviewed or approved the paperwork, and how to ultimately get the job done”

Through leadership from the Engineering Division, CAS determined that a business process management solution would bring efficiency and effectiveness to the exchange of documents by automating the processes and eliminating the need to manually track engineering forms for routing, approval, and signature.

BizFlow BPM Solution: Streamlining Procurement and Engineering Change Requests

After an extensive review BPM and workflow solutions, CAS selected BizFlow. “We chose BizFlow because it presented us with the out-of-the-box functionality we needed to automate workflows while holding people accountable to those workflows and deadlines," said Eugen Haselwanter, Manager of Engineering Process and Records.

BizFlow is CAS’ overall process management application for engineering documents in its North American operation. More than 500 Project Managers, Planners, and Engineers use BizFlow on a daily basis to create and manage procurement orders, engineering test orders, R&D processes, and vacation requests, which are routed automatically to the appropriate people for review and signature.

“With BizFlow we can put the train on the workflow track to move process gathering data and signatures to drop off into other systems that do the work,” commented Greenfield

BizFlow is helping CAS drive efficiency, effectiveness and economy across the engineering division. Examples of BizFlow in action include:

  • Procurement – By nature the procurement process is data intensive, requiring part numbers, supplier information, and a range of safety specifications. Considering all the details that must be captured, errors often occurred. For example, in the case of power brake booster, there are 90-100 line items. A prototype could be the same, but with a couple different line items. Before using BizFlow, engineers had to manually type in all the data, not just the new line items. Now an engineer can access the procurement form in BizFlow and the form is integrated with SAP so the availability of the part and the corresponding number can be populated into the form. Additionally, the part number provides all the criteria (quality checks, design checks, etc.) to ensure that the part can be used for the given application. “With BizFlow, CAS has eliminated manual data entry and saves weeks of man hours per year,” states Greenfield.
  • Test Orders – BizFlow has also given new levels of visibility and accountability to the test order process. All BizFlow users have access to the test materials for compliance and analytical purposes. Insight into individual work items within the testing process allows CAS to enforce the same level of accountability to employees that it adheres to as a company. “Now we have a way to identify breaks down in the process – previously we didn’t have any real visibility into the paper trail so we couldn’t hold people accountable for their actions. Now, no one can say that they never received an order or that their boss hasn’t signed off,” commented Greenfield. For example, utility supervisors can quickly see their test order queue by engineer to ensure deadlines are met and personnel live up to expectations.
  • Research & Development – Before accepting a proposed project from an OEM such as Ford or General Motors, CAS must first assess the associated financial and manufacturing impact. Using BizFlow engineers work with finance to set-up the business plan, define the product to be built, assign the timeframe, and identify the departments that will be involved in the new product development cycle. Once the documentation is approved BizFlow sends the data to SAP PS module to assign hours against the project. “By using BizFlow to collect the data, route the forms, get the approvals, and automatically update SAP, CAS saves hundreds of hours per year in lost time and resources,” states Greenfield.
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