Team Lotus in the Driver’s Seat Thanks to Microsoft Dynamics AX
Sept. 20, 2011
ERP solution eases challenges to drive fast growth of Formula One team.

LONDON — Sept. 20, 2011 — Team Lotus, the Formula One team that brought the much-loved Lotus name back into Grand Prix racing last year, is pleased to announce that its implementation of Microsoft Dynamics AX, Microsoft Corp.’s enterprise resource planning (ERP) solution, has enabled it to achieve full control and visibility of purchasing and stock during this period of rapid growth.

Team Lotus has expanded beyond all recognition in the past two years. In October 2009, it had only 11 members of staff, six subcontract designers, four or five suppliers, and a handful of desktop computers with computer aided design (CAD) software, occupying the company’s barn headquarters (HQ) in Norfolk, England. Within 12 months, the company had grown to almost 200 employees, a fully functioning CAD system and a full rollout of Microsoft Dynamics AX, managing 720 suppliers.

Microsoft Gold Certified Partner eBECS Ltd., recognized internationally for its success in delivering Microsoft Dynamics solutions to numerous organizations across the globe, led Team Lotus to Microsoft Dynamics AX. Highly experienced in the design and delivery of manufacturing solutions, particularly in the automotive sector, eBECS managed the development of the solution across Team Lotus’ entire operation.

“Microsoft Dynamics AX is used in the finance, manufacturing and purchasing departments,” said Stephen Wilson at eBECS. “From the very first day, even before the FIA confirmed the team’s entry into the 2010 FIA Formula One World Championships, we recognized that the ERP system would have to accommodate rapid change and be easy to use but equally provide robust control over the entire enterprise. This relied heavily on our industry knowledge and experience.”

“It was imperative to us that the ERP system strictly control and manage our stock,” said Richard St Clair-Quentin, commercial manager at Team Lotus. “Our cars are highly engineered, and we use expensive materials, such as carbon fiber and titanium, so we have to be sure that we have full control and visibility over purchasing, manufacturing, stock holding and material consumption, all of which is underpinned by Microsoft Dynamics AX.”

One of the key considerations has been the sheer number of drawings processed, which can amount to more than 100 every day and, in addition, the component parts that go into the creation of a Formula One racing car. At any one time, Team Lotus HQ can hold more than 5,000 separate components, all of which need to be purchased and stored before they are used in the manufacturing process.

The working conditions at Team Lotus HQ often are challenging, with pressure on the team to meet strict deadlines. “Every part of the process has to be right,” St Clair-Quentin said. “There is no room for error, so timing is crucial. We have relied heavily on the expertise of the eBECS team to implement Microsoft Dynamics AX to monitor and manage this process. When the Grand Prix season starts, we drop everything to go racing, and on occasion this has meant leaving eBECS in charge of the wheel until we are back. It hasn’t let us down.”

The ease with which Team Lotus was able to integrate and deploy Microsoft Dynamics AX certainly helped the organization reap benefits quickly, and just four weeks after go-live, eBECS was able to hand over the running of the solution.

In the future, eBECS expects to broaden the scope of Microsoft Dynamics AX, expanding warehouse stock and manufacturing control, improving supplier management, increasing the facility to report the impact analysis of engineering changes, and implementing financial business process improvements.

“Microsoft Dynamics AX implemented by eBECS is the best solution for our needs,” St Clair-Quentin said. “The interface is familiar, which is helpful when the team is growing so quickly and in such numbers; it is scalable, so it can expand with our needs; and it gives us solid financial governance and support in our fast-moving enterprise.”

More information about Microsoft Dynamics solutions for the manufacturing industry is available at http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/dynamics/industries/manufacturing.aspx.

About eBECS

eBECS is a specialist in the design and delivery of solutions for manufacturing, distribution and professional services. eBECS delivers world class lean and agile business solutions using Microsoft Dynamics AX and Dynamics CRM. Its solutions streamline and integrate processes, minimise waste, optimise the supply chain and manage demand-driven operations. eBECS is a global company with a personal touch, and it takes enormous pride in its large referencable customer base. www.ebecs.com.

About Microsoft Dynamics

Microsoft Dynamics CRM and ERP solutions empower your people to be more productive and your systems to last longer and scale as your business grows, while enabling you to derive the insights necessary to respond quickly in an ever-changing world of business.

About Microsoft

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT”) is the worldwide leader in software, services and solutions that help people and businesses realize their full potential.

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