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Successful proof-of-concept: a new opportunity for Renault suppliers?

Renault has completed a successful proof-of-concept, integrating auto-gration in a CINDI loop for just-in-time deliveries. The project was run from March to May by Renault’s EDI Department with ODETTE as coordinator.

Besides Renault and ODETTE, three other main actors were involved: 

  • DEFI Group is a long-time T1 supplier to Renault. The Group is headquartered in Mitry-Mory, with three sites in France and one in Romania, which produce stampings and extrusions for Renault. Since 1989, DEFI Group has been managing EDI connections to accelerate information flows and order processing. When Renault defined the CINDI specifications for just-in-time ordering and delivery processes based on EDIFACT messages, DEFI Group was ready to adapt to these new processes. The IT Manager gave his approval for running the auto-gration proof-of-concept with Renault and providing the ad hoc test ERP platform.
  • INFODEV is the ERP Editor for the DEFI Group. INFODEV is based in Sens and specialises in the automotive market. They were part of the auto-gration Early Adopters group of ERP Editors. They ran several pilots during the auto-gration project and have several customers using auto-gration messages in production with both direct connections and indirect connections via a B2B Service Provider. The lalest version of AGI, their ERP system, is now fully auto-gration enabled, using the auto-gration XML format as the native ERP format for EDI messages on both the sell side and the buy side. Actions by INFODEV, prior to launching the proof-of-concept project with Renault, included updating the DEFI Group AGI system and creating a test platform copy of the production system.
  • TX2 Concept is a long-time service provider to the DEFI Group for their EDI exchanges. TX2 Concept is based in Olivet and is widely implemented in the automotive market. TX2 Concept is one of the leading B2B Service Providers homologated by Renault for managing WebEDI connections with its suppliers. TX2 Concept was the first auto-gration Early Adopter Partner in France and participated in several successful pilots during the project.

The proof-of-concept principle was based on a mix of EDIFACT/auto-gration messages exchanged between Renault (as Customer) and DEFI (as Supplier) sent via TX2 Concept to ensure correct message translation. This represented a real implementation of the reference auto-gration connectivity case between a large company and its suppliers.

The project objectives were to validate that the data structure (between the auto-gration format and EDIFACT messages) remained unchanged in a real life scenario and to ensure that CINDI and CPL2 specifications were correctly transferred throughout the complete EDIFACT/auto-gration loop between Renault and DEFI via TX2 Concept.

The ultimate goal was to validate that messages exchanged between Renault (EDIFACT) and a T1 supplier equipped with an auto-gration compliant ERP system are technically and functionally consistent.

From a Renault perspective, the proof-of-concept did not change anything related to the EDIFACT messages based on CINDI specifications and sent to TX2 Concept for delivery to DEFI. The change occurred between TX2 Concept and DEFI with the use of auto-gration messages which were directly integrated in the ERP system.

TX2 Concept’s task for the proof-of-concept was to set-up a double translation process on their production platform. The first was to translate the incoming DELFOR or DELJIT messages from Renault to the auto-gration format and to send them to the DEFI Group’s test platform to be integrated. As a consequence of the reception of just-in-time delivery requests, delivery notes are issued by the DEFI Group’s AGI system. These delivery notes are sent back as auto-gration DespatchAdvice messages and  translated by TX2 Concept into  DESADV messages to be sent back to Renault.

The proof-of-concept wrap-up meeting, held on May 28 in Renault’s Technocentre offices in Guyancourt, acknowledged the success of the project and defined the next steps for Renault.

The examination of the different sets of messages provided during the meeting came to the conclusion that the introduction of auto-gration messages in the CINDI loop was totally transparent for Renault. After the sending of a DELJIT message by Renault, the corresponding DESADV message sent by DEFI Group via TX2 and received by Renault is the right one with the correct EDIFACT data structure and content.

The demonstration that auto-gration is fully compliant with Renault’ business requirements was a first step towards the identification of potential suppliers for the deployment of auto-gration in a production environment.

Target suppliers are those which are currently using WebEDI and would be willing to migrate to a fully integrated process. The business advantage for those companies is that they can be more reactive to delivery requests sent by Renault and avoid any disruption caused by manual intervention in the ordering process. Just-in-time delivery instructions can be directly processed by the SME ERP system in the same way that INFODEV AGI integrates auto-gration messages. The major road block for those suppliers is the fact that their ERP system may not be EDI capable. To solve that issue, auto-gration is able to provide a standardized format for EDI exchanges to be used by ERP Editors. The number of auto-gration enabled ERP Vendors is growing throughout Europe. In France all the major ERP players in the automotive market have implemented or are in the process of implementing auto-gration in their software

On the Renault side, it is important to achieve a more integrated supply chain while developing the number of suppliers to maintain flexibility and agility. This is based on a very precise EDI homologation process in order to validate the supplier messages and processes. Renault could have the opportunity to reduce and simplify their homologation process by qualifying auto-gration enabled B2B Service Providers which would manage auto-gration connections with Renault’s smaller suppliers equipped with auto-gration capable ERP systems.

Following the move of the Independent Aftermarket to the auto-gration format and the VDA recommendations for Global EDIFACT and auto-gration messages, Renault’s approach is an important signal for the Renault’s suppliers and IT partners in France.

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