Toyota Australia has embarked on a year-long project to overhaul its eight-year-old human resources platform and 14-year-old enterprise resource planning (ERP) system.
The project officially commenced on April 2, after years in the back seat while Toyota Australia co-developed and implemented a parts and accessories system from its Japanese parent.
Toyota Australia chief information officer James Scott hoped to complete phase one of the ERP upgrade by January next year, which would deliver a technically merged environment of human resources and ERP systems.
The carmaker will install SAP’s ECC6 ERP suite to replace two systems: an SAP ERP4.7 instance that was installed in 1998 and SAP’s HR ECC5.0, installed in 2004.
It will run on a new Oracle database and IBM 770 servers in Toyota’s production data centre in Melbourne and its development, testing and disaster recovery facility in North Ryde, Sydney.
Scott said the upgrade had been driven by the upcoming expiry of Toyota’s support agreement with SAP in 2013.
“There hasn’t been a significant business driver to upgrade, and we’ve had some big IT projects going on,” he noted.
Scott said the project could deliver performance improvements but any such boosts had “not been tabled as a benefit” in its business case, which focused instead on reducing risk by retaining SAP support.
“All functionality [would be] kept exactly the same” in phase one of the ERP rollout, he said, noting that the company had “no big training plan in place”.
From April next year, Toyota will look to leverage any new ERP functionality and reduce its number of custom, legacy applications in an effort to streamline the business.
Scott said Toyota Australia had contracted integrator Oxygen Business Services for the ERP project to help its in-house team of 102 IT staff cope with its complex environment.
Keeping IT in-house
Toyota Australia’s manager of enterprise architecture and strategy reportedly told the 2010 CeBIT conference that it hoped to shed enterprise IT infrastructure in favour of cloud computing.
But Scott told iTnews this month that Toyota had “never intended to outsource our core systems”.
Scott said the carmaker had “no formal plan in place” to delineate what it might outsource, but highlighted email systems as one possibility.
Toyota Australia’s 2300 desktop users currently use IBM’s Lotus Notes 8.5 email system, Office 2010 and Windows 7.
The Windows 7 rollout was completed in mid-May as part of a four-year IT services contract with Fujitsu.