Streamlining Supplier Communications

TI Automotive taps BRAIN for solution to automate connections with supply base

Ann Arbor, MI Ñ March 7, 2003 Ñ Auto industry supplier TI Automotive has implemented a supply chain management solution from Agilisys division BRAIN North America in a bid to streamline supplier communications.

TI Automotive, with annual sales of around $2.3 billion, is the world's top supplier of fluid storage, transfer and delivery systems, including brake, fuel and air conditioning applications. Based in Warren, Mich., the company employs over 21,000 people at more than 130 facilities in 29 countries on six continents.

The manufacturer has deployed BRAIN's SupplyWEB Enterprise and BRAIN-eX solutions across 26 plants and extended the solution to 550 suppliers over a 60-day implementation.

BRAIN said that SupplyWEB Enterprise is an automotive-specific, Web-enabled supply chain management solution designed to enable inter-enterprise communication and provide a high level of systems integration. The solution combines the information from multiple versions of disparate enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems into a single, universal view for suppliers and internal users. Potential benefits include reduced supply chain costs, reduced inventory and increased operational efficiencies.

BRAIN-eX is the provider's solution for handling the communication needs and requirements of automotive suppliers and managing the mandates of original equipment manufactures. A TCP/IP-based message server designed to work with back-end systems and to replace Bisync communications and value-added networks (VANs), the solution is ANX compatible, but not ANX dependent, and it is intended to be able to move and route data to anyone, anywhere, independent of file type.

At TI Automotive, sending scheduling information to suppliers used to involve fax machines on TI's end and manual data entry on the side of the company's suppliers, according to Anne Magusin, manager of supply chain systems for the manufacturer.

Implementing BRAIN's solutions has now automated the company's communications with those suppliers connecting to the system. "This project has resulted in planning forecasts and Kanban schedules being distributed to our supply chain without costly VANs and delays," said Magusin. "Suppliers can now spend time producing quality parts in a lean environment and not waste time with clerical, non-value added tasks. Suppliers are thanking TI Automotive for switching to SupplyWEB."

Magusin added that supplier managed inventory, Kanban and traditional push scheduling can be mixed and matched to make SupplyWEB a tool useful across TI Automotive's entire supply chain. "High volume to infrequent, non-repetitive parts and everything in between are easy to implement," she said.