Bosch and SAP develop ‘digital industrial standard’ to spark Industry 4.0 fireworks
German pair Bosch and SAP are working to develop a “digital industrial standard” to govern the exchange and usage of company data along the value chain. The partnership holds special promise for the manufacturing industry, and particular for automotive manufacturing, the pair said. It will work, effectively, as a spark to light a fire under the Industry 4.0 movement, by uniting disparate data in simplified IT.
The arrangement appears to work on two levels. On the first, Bosch will transfer its “business processes” into SAP’s S/4HANA software suite, to streamline enterprise resource planning (ERP) and management for various processes, notably order entry, production, delivery, and invoicing. The pair will combine also to drive forward the “internal digitalisation” of the Bosch group, across its own offices and factories.
On a second level, Bosch has committed to “shape the further development” of the S/4HANA platform. This development will be for Bosch’s own benefit, but also for the benefit of SAP’s other customers. “SAP will play a crucial role in the integration as partner and advisor, thanks to its multifaceted experience and market leadership in managing ERP systems,” said Bosch.
In the end, both of these strategies are geared towards simplifying internal business processes, as well as backwards and forwards through the supply chain, as possible, to lay an organisational IT foundation for sparkier digital change initiatives. A statement said: “This will harmonize and further automate processes, both within and between companies – thus achieving substantial efficiency gains.”
Bosch said the production systems running in its mobility solutions, for example, will be reduced to just one. “This will facilitate a considerable increase in the options for real-time analysis and control optimisation,” it explained. Their collaboration on the S/4HANA platform is “intended to cut the number of ERP SAP systems in half”, they said.
The partnership is important, also, simply because of their separate and joint influence on industrial markets, especially in Germany. “The whole economy stands to gain from [this] collaboration,” they said. The complex automotive manufacturing sector, with “highly interwoven supply chains and numerous production locations” will benefit particularly for this rationalisation of ERP systems.
Improvement will go from “corporate management level all the way to production,” they said.
Michael Bolle, chief digital officer and chief technology officer at Bosch Group, said: “We need strong partnerships if we are to advance digitalization in Germany. By creating a standard together with SAP, we are offering added value for customers, partners, and suppliers.”
Christian Klein, chief executive at SAP, said: “Due to its industrial expertise and technology leadership in several fields, Bosch plays a key role in global supply and value chains. Together we are pursuing the goal of translating this expertise into digital form, using SAP S/4-HANA as a basis. In doing so, we hope to define a uniform industry standard that will open up the advantages of the digital transformation to other industry players as well.”