Oh what a feeling, finding the right tool

To produce a car every 90 seconds, Toyota Australia needed a change management tool that could cope in a real-time manufacturing environment.

Not only did it need SAP compliance but also added visibility and control processes to meet reporting and auditing requirements, which led the company to consider Rev-Trac designed by Revelation Software Concepts Australia.

Rev-Trac is an SAP-certified change management tool that can control object locking and avoid overwriting, along with workflow messaging and transport migration.

Grant Crocker, IT manager for Toyota Australia, said the company could already do these tasks within SAP; however, issues with competitive advantage and leakage of IP meant Toyota used SAP for admin and support only, not for manufacturing.

"Originally when we just ran off SAP we had two full-time staffers trying to control all the changes, now we only have to do some ad-hoc work because we have stopped taking changes into the production cycle and given users authority," Crocker said.

"SAP does not stop two people from making different changes at the same time; it depends on the sequence and which versions, but Rev Trac lets us lock objects so there are no 'overtaking' issues. Now you cannot do anything unless you use RevTrac to control and migrate the changes.

"The process is now automated; we have got screens going to business users and nothing can get into production without an electronic signature from the development manager. After that, the business unit has to sign off on the change which means the business unit has the final say. That's what we wanted: business to take ownership."

The Rev-Trac solution proved itself so much as a business and change enabler that it took off from where Toyota's SAP solution finished.

Vice president of development with Rev-Trac, Rick Porter, said change management software was included because an auditor can legally pull out any request and demand to see the process, testing and sign-off procedures which most organizations say you could not guarantee within previous procedures.

"In the US this is just not acceptable - SAP includes better internal tools than most but in relation to Sarbanes-Oxley anything financially related has to have internal controls, and the CEO needs confidence that controls are in place and that production has followed due diligence," Porter said.

"The main difference between the issue of managing change in the US and Australia is regulatory compliance and organizations are finding a patchwork solution is no longer adequate to the task, customers found they are not able to guarantee an answer each question."

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