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Tuesday, 14 March 2006

First AS2-Only Automotive Plant Links Smaller Suppliers with B2B Gateway’s ‘Hub and Spoke’ system

SEEBURGER UK has announced that its B2B Gateway is automating all trading partner communications at Hyundai Motor Company’s new factory in Alabama. SEEBURGER’s implementation has enabled Hyundai to bypass the use of value-added networks (VANs) and to bring previously non-EDI-enabled suppliers online electronically. SEEBURGER estimates savings of $80,000 in annual VAN fees as well as the costs associated with manual document exchange.

The savings in VAN fees stems from Hyundai’s decision to transmit trading data exclusively over the Internet using the AS2 communication protocol, making Hyundai the first AS2-only automotive plant. The ability to automate communications with suppliers that previously lacked Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) capabilities reflects the use of SEEBURGER’s Hub & Spoke system, designed specifically for smaller trading partners.

The Hub & Spoke system is being used with fifteen Korean-based Tier 1 suppliers that have U.S. production facilities. The Hub portion of the system is installed at the factory, integrated with SEEBURGER’s B2B Gateway, and configured with Hyundai’s trading documents. Each Spoke unit is a small downloadable Java application that enables the fifteen suppliers to exchange trading documents with the factory through the normal EDI data stream rather than by fax or other manual means.

This ability to achieve 100% supplier connectivity is unique to SEEBURGER’s B2B Gateway, the most comprehensive and cost-effective EAI & B2B integration suite in the industry. SEEBURGER is the only solution in its class to integrate 100% of an organisation’s trading partners --- including smaller customers and suppliers that still do business on paper --- on a single platform that has been developed in-house by SEEBURGER to ensure compatibility, provide a common work environment, and simplify maintenance across the extended supply chain.

“Our goal in designing our Alabama factory was to make it the most automated plant in the world, and that included automating our just-in-time/just-in-sequence trading relationships to the highest degree possible,” said Jing Tang Hu, Manager Materials Management, Hyundai Motor Manufacturing Alabama. “SEEBURGER not only offered a simple solution for connecting suppliers with whom we would otherwise have been required to communicate manually, but they also were able to provide AS2 services at a time when many other vendors could not. Over the long run, these two factors will result in considerable savings.”

The SEEBURGER B2B Gateway is handling mission-critical collaboration, including forecasting and delivery notifications, between Hyundai and more than 50 Tier I suppliers of components for the Hyundai Sonata sedans and Hyundai Sante Fe SUVs being built at the Alabama plant. The solution is tightly integrated with Hyundai’s SAP R/3 system.

The implementation leverages SEEBURGER’s 20-year EDI experience with over 3,000 automotive organisations to equip Hyundai with pre-built automotive-specific message formats and workflows for fast deployment.

“The B2B implementation at Hyundai is arguably the most advanced in the automotive sector today, given the use of AS2 communication and our Hub & Spoke architecture,” said Rakesh Harji, Managing Director of SEEBURGER UK. “This contract reflects Hyundai’s willingness to take advantage of the newest technologies available for effective communication with their suppliers, and it promises to serve as a model for other automotive OEMs that are upgrading or installing new B2B integration platforms.”