India’s apex body, The Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM) and the nodal agency, Automotive Component Manufacturers Association of India (ACMA), representing automotive and the auto component industry respectively, today announced the setting up of Auto Data Exchange ‘AutoDX’, an EDI platform for seamlessly integrating OEMs and suppliers on a common data exchange standard.
The AutoDX, to be formally launched during the forthcoming Auto Expo 2014, the Indian auto industry’s flagship event, will help standardise transaction data definitions, automate data exchange amongst industry players, obviate manual data entries and provide data interchange capability across the automotive industry to enable a streamlined supply chain.
While giving more insight on this unique initiative, Vikram Kirloskar, President, SIAM, said: “Today, most auto OEMs as well as suppliers have mature IT platforms and technology-enabled transactional processes. Most of these IT interventions have been internally focused to improve the efficiencies of the respective organisations. However, these IT interventions have resulted in customised, company-specific documents and data formats resulting in significant additional efforts by the industry in integrating with each other”.
Loss of productivity
Usually, each OEM has a dedicated portal for publishing delivery schedules, uploading/data entry of supplier transactions and publishing of financial settlement data to suppliers. Suppliers need to customise their systems to each OEM’s portal for uploading/downloading transaction data from these portals. This hinders agile, real time data integration between industry players. At times, this complexity results in delays in shipments and dilutes OEMs’ JIT/JIS initiatives. Further, people-based processes for uploading and downloading data on to the portals leads to errors resulting in loss of productivity.
Focusing on the urgent need for an effective, collaborative, industry-wide solution, Harish Lakshman, President, ACMA, pointed out: “The respective IT Committees of SIAM and ACMA realised the need to come together for reducing the complexity and have been working on an action plan since 2010 which has now resulted in setting up of the EDI platform — AutoDX. The solution has undergone successful pilot testing by ten firms and is now ready for a progressive rollout. This common cloud-based platform can enable seamless information exchange not just between OEMs and its Tier-I suppliers, but also with the upstream value chain, logistics partners, financial institutions and others who serve the auto industry. Our broader vision is to facilitate adoption of standards wherever structured information is exchanged, be it in the form of electronic or paper document or labels such as barcode and RFID”.
Vijay Sethi, Chairman, SIAM IT Committee, elaborating on the initiative, said: “In a first-ever joint initiative between SIAM and ACMA, UN’s EDIFACT-based standards have been adapted for standardisation of information exchange between OEMs and suppliers. While KPMG helped us in setting standards, IBM is our technology partner for this initiative. Exchange of information on various critical logistics and financial transactions like delivery schedules, commercial documents, logistics information etc., can be now done seamlessly between supply chain partners without any manual intervention. While improving efficiency, it will also lead to reduced transaction costs. The initiative makes digital collaboration amongst supply chain partners in the Indian automotive industry comparable to any industry globally”.
Throwing more light on the benefits of the AutoDX, Ravi Machani, Chairman ACMA IT Committee concurred: “An estimated 40 OEMs (SIAM members) and over 700 suppliers (ACMA members) are expected to leverage the IBM Sterling B2B Collaboration Network solution to derive business benefits through Standardisation of information exchange and use of Common EDI Technology Infrastructure which will address a long-standing hurdle that has prevented tighter collaboration between supply chain partners. It will increase supply chain efficiency, reduce transaction costs for both and in the long run, provide end-to-end tracking and traceability of goods across the supply chain”.
Channel of communication for Auto Industry
Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM) is the apex Industry body representing 46 leading vehicle and vehicular engine manufacturers in India. SIAM is an ISO 9001:2008 certified organisation. SIAM is an important channel of communication for the Automobile Industry with the Government, National and International organisations. The Society works closely with all the concerned stakeholders and actively participates in formulation of rules, regulations and policies related to the Automobile Industry.
The Automotive Component Manufacturers Association of India (ACMA) is the apex body representing the interest of the Indian Auto Component Industry. Its active involvement in trade promotion, technology up-gradation, quality enhancement and collection and dissemination of information has made it a vital catalyst for this industry’s development. ACMA’s charter is to develop a globally competitive Indian auto component Industry and strengthen its role in national economic development as also promote business through international alliances. ACMA is an ISO 9001:2008 certified Association with a membership of over 700 members.
Benefits of AutoDX
The IBM Sterling B2B Collaboration Network solution ensures a synchronised supply chain that allows collaboration across multiple enterprises by standardising the Indian automotive industry data formats and data exchange processes, besides removing manual interventions. It further enables web browser-based transactions, integrating all tiers of the supply chain. What is more, it offers flexibility of integration based on each participants needs and provides a real-time, rich information model.
Both SIAM and ACMA members will get significant benefits from a commitment to EDI-based integration. Officials from these two agencies will be able to leverage the IBM Sterling B2B Collaboration Network solution to derive business benefits by adopting the EDI standards prescribed in the AutoDX platform. The benefits expected from this initiative include getting the right part delivered to the right place at the right time, allowing for faster and more accurate accounts reconciliation, synchronisation of the supply chain throughout all tiers, real-time JIT/JIS, close looping of logistics and accounts reconciliation, reduction of proliferation of portals and manual efforts, introduction of collaboration and knowledge sharing, provision of a single system of record minimising offline transactions, reduction in warranty costs through streamlining of product failure information and last, but not the least, improved inventory management through reconciliation of part information in the future.
United Nations ‘Electronic Data Interchange for Administration, Commerce and Transport’ is the international EDI standard developed under the aegis of United Nations. This is the global reference standard to which the software designs are also aligned.