Britehouse team proves SA has the skill, expertise to roll-out successful large-scale automotive digitalisation projects

​Britehouse, specialist in advanced supply chain and manufacturing industry solutions, recently demonstrated that South Africa has the expertise to roll-out successful, large-scale automotive digitisation projects.

The Britehouse SAP team was deployed primarily from South Africa to implement automotive distributor Abdul Latif Jameel Motors' new SAP digital solution.

The solution enables the company to view its supply chain in the vehicles sales, vehicle logistics as well as the after-sales space, thus reducing customer waiting time and increasing the ability to provide service to its clients, which the company very appropriately refers to as its guests.

Matching capabilities with scope

The Britehouse team was tasked to join the large-scale, complex project when Abdul Latif Jameel Motors realised the scope had outgrown the capabilities of its original service integration partner. As one of southern Africa's largest SAP partners, with over 750 SAP specialist consultants and a track record in delivering complex SAP solutions in large enterprise organisations, Britehouse was identified as the new partner to reinvigorate the project.

Elma Potgieter, Britehouse's Regional Executive, Middle East explained: "Britehouse was the only company that could offer the entire solution from a SAP functional and technical scope, and within the fixed price contract. We are pleased to have delivered a commercially viable solution for Abdul Latif Jameel Motors.

"We were awarded the contract in August 2016. In September, the project started with a team of 28 Britehouse consultants, which grew to a total of 141 consultants; this included 51 consultants that supported the project remotely from South Africa. We successfully completed the project in August 2018 and are still providing remote support to the company from South Africa," said Potgieter.

Phased solution

Abdul Latif Jameel Motors is the largest distributor of Toyota and Lexus vehicles in Saudi Arabia, and one of the largest distributors for Toyota globally. The design of the solution, called the Business Blueprint, was completed by the time Britehouse came on board. However, the design had to be reviewed as new functionality had become available since the inception of the program in 2014. The new solution was configured and developed using the SAP software. The next phase was to obtain user acceptance, and the training of all end-users, across the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

"Britehouse had a very strong organisational change management team on board, ensuring adoption of the new solution, after many years of users operating on a legacy system. Being responsible for overall programme management, our structure consisted of a programme director and six project managers, each one responsible for a specific stream of functionality, including finance, human capital management, vehicles, after-sales, training and the technical stream. We followed a ‘3-in-the-box' approach, comprising full-time and complementing project members from Britehouse and Abdul Latif Jameel Motors IT and Business," says Potgieter.

The magnitude and complexity of the SAP implementation required a phased approach. The first functionality went live as phase one, in April 2017, with finance, non-core procurement, human resources and payroll, as well as the technical landscape, including SAP's life cycle management tool, Solution Manager. Britehouse also was instrumental in certifying the Abdul Latif Jameel Motors SAP Centre of Excellence during this phase.

The second phase was the most complex. It comprised vehicle sales and vehicle logistics, part sales and part logistics, service and warranty, advanced planning and optimisation, and extended warehouse management. For phase two, the go-live dates were approached in five distinct waves, to ensure proper training and adoption of the solution across the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, and to allow for minimal business disruption.

Quality control

SAP ensured the quality of the solution before every phase and wave of go-live. It also collaborated to resolve functional issues within the software. This was the first project globally that required such a wide scope of functionality, and Britehouse and SAP worked closely together to develop functionality that was not previously available to other SAP clients in this industry.

Providing new levels of service

For Faisal Abdalla, Vice-President of Abdul Latif Jameel Motors, the project was about more than just implementing a new IT system: "It is completely changing how we manage our business and team to provide a new level of service to our guests. It is an important step for Abdul Latif Jameel Motors, introducing advanced technology and infrastructure that will serve us, and our guests, long into the future."

He added: "As the government made clear in its Vision 2030 strategy, the private sector in Saudi Arabia needs to innovate and modernise if we are to create the competitive economy that delivers the growth and jobs the country requires. We are proud to be doing our part and will continue to strive to strengthen and grow the business."

Looking to the future

Britehouse is committed to the success of the Abdul Latif Jameel Motors SAP solution and intends to be involved in the further expansion and driving the value from this solution. The solution, as implemented now, is the baseline for Abdul Latif Jameel Motors' digital transformation drive.

The company is looking forward to expanding its footprint in the automotive sector across not just the Middle East, but globally too. "We now have a very strong, very competent team, and should use this to the advantage of potential new clients," says Potgieter. "We now understand the culture within the Middle East and know what the challenges and pitfalls are. We enjoyed working in the Middle East, so we are looking forward to the next opportunity in this region."​​​​​