Mitsubishi Trucks revs up distribution

Mitsubishi Trucks Australia (MTA) has gone live with an integrated ERP and SCM system, forming an online distribution arm which links with its Japan-based headquarters.

MTA, a new Mitsubishi Motor Corporation subsidiary, needed a fully integrated supply chain management (SCM) and enterprise accounting solution with wide B2B functionality for a national and overseas dealer network.

Born out of this need was a $1.5 million computer system -- live in January -- to interface with Mitsubishi Motor's headquarters software in Japan. Local e-business software firm IDS Enterprise Systems, an ERP and SCM solution specialist for appliance and automotive industries, developed the automotive solution.

The system integrates with MTA's Japan-based parent for real-time, global product supply, delivery and pricing information tracking for a 70-strong regional dealer community, according to MTA's vice president of operations Brian March.

Expected to be fully operational by the end of March, the system will link with supply chain partners such as local and Asia-Pacific region automotive dealers and parts suppliers, with e-business capabilities like online ordering, and real-time delivery and invoice views. "This is a totally integrated ERP and SMC system with a vehicles package, parts and warranty package and business intelligence package, all of which will talk to each other and automate to our finance department to issue the invoices," March said.

The only integration barrier MTA faced was the task of routing the Australian and Japanese systems to create a smooth interface, he said. The other technical headache was "getting Telstra to supply telephone and ISDN lines within a five-month time frame", he gibed.

March says the long-term benefits of the IDS solution will depend on both external and internal users' satisfaction with efficiency gains from online part ordering and warranty claim processing, for instance. "Long-term, the system will reduce MTA's paperwork by 50 per cent. And once the system is completely integrated by the end of March with the parts side of the supply chain, it will show users their parts order entries, warranty claims and enquiries, vehicle tracking allocation and registrations, and dealer swaps -- without time delays."

He estimates the first six months of B2B transactions under the system will generate $100 million in revenue.

The system runs on the latest IBM e-server iSeries hardware, fully integrating with a local NT network.

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