The AVL group is built up by 45 companies which use CAD, PDM, CAE and SRM and CRM systems in addition to the globally available ERP solutions. In order to meet the challenges of a high growth rate in the recent years, the group concentrates on a continuous harmonization of the global process and system landscape.
Missing rules in the creation and maintenance of material master data lead to approximately 400,000 inconsistently and unstructured master records in the systems. This meant that a great deal of effort had to be expended on decentralized maintenance as well as a large number of duplicates.
The basic requirement at the start of the harmonization project was a clear definition of the material master information which takes the local language variety into account. The decision to use ECLASS for this purpose was based on three main reasons: first, the high number of companies that use ECLASS as classification and product description standard, second, the availability of different language versions and third, the extensive, ever-evolving porfolio of standard features.
A comparision of several ECLASS-certified soluitons was carried out which resulted in the selection of the product eptos™-product master data repository from Paradine GmbH. Based on this, AVL and Paradine created the AVL MMD portal for which the main task is the structured, clear and system-independent definition, creation and maintenance of the material master information.
To allow the highest global accessibility possible, the system runs via intranet on web browsers and provides real ime data out of SAP. The ECLASS Release 7.1 comes with 39,000 classes, but to describe the standard material porfolio of AVL only 550 of these standard classes (4th level) were necessary. 50 new classes were created to describe the very AVL-specific material by its own properties and value lists. For each class a template was defined, which is used in the material master creation and maintenance process. It specifies which properties are mandatory and which are optional to describe a material. To ensure the completeness and correctness of the local language variety in material master texts, clear text generation rules for automatic processing were defined. This makes it possible to create multilingual (EN/DE/CN) text blocks out of the property values.
The acivation of the new AVL MMD portal was accompanied by the introduction of standardized organizational material master processes and the introduction of the new role of globally responsible component managers.
The following results have been achieved:
- Duplicate check implemented when material master data is requested or maintained
- Extension of already existing material masters with classification information
- Implementation of a clear and standardized process for the migration of material masters in SAP rollout projects
- Management of the supplier and manufacturer information via the AVL MMD Portal
- Building up a globally applicable terminology database for the specification of material masters
In addition, the implementation of the ECLASS standard makes it possible for AVL to easily implement new requirements for the master data by adding new properies.