The Perfect Lap Issue no.3 - Page 18

SAP Perfect Lap Issue 03 Leading the SAP integration process at McLaren is Chief Information Officer Stuart Birrell and he has no doubts as to the benefits optimised software and IT integration can bring: “McLaren is a high-tech company,” he says. “We are founded on technology and how we apply technology, so as a CIO, my role is enabling the technology to be applied to the business to get the business results. So we help and work with all the technology teams across the business to answer questions such as: ‘How do they go to market?’; ‘How do they make things faster, slicker?’; ‘How do we become cheaper?’ and ‘How do we get the best out of the engineers?’ It’s evident, therefore, that there’s a natural synergy between McLaren’s goals and the way SAP’s products and systems are designed to run. Both companies are intent on maximising efficiencies and replacing complexity with elegant simplicity – running simple, in the broadest sense. And while the notions of ‘simplicity’ may seem at odds with a company driven by high-tech aspirations, that’s a false perception, reckons Birrell. “We stay competitive by a variety of means. And really, it’s about the competitive edge. It drives innovation. It drives competition. We bring in the brightest and best from the top universities and allowing those guys the freedom to go and work the ideas, give them a problem, ask them to go solve it… it’s really inspiring when you see some of the relatively simple solutions to complex problems.” Cross-group implementation of new IT systems to replace home-grown utilities is not the work of a moment, however, and McLaren are still working through their SAP integration programme. Already all 018 HR functions are running through SAP software, Birrell confirms, as are finance, procurement and projects. The next element in the cross-Group implementation process is to bring SAP to McLaren’s automotive business – the section of the company building ultradesirable high-performance cars. In recent years there has been a rapid growth for McLaren Automotive and in keeping with the rest of the McLaren Group the company has ambitious plans for the future. In 2011 the company moved into the McLaren Production Centre, a 34,500 sq meter purpose built facility next the McLaren Technology Centre. 2015 sees McLaren Automotive launch the third car in their model range, significantly increasing production and demands on the business so with this in mind SAP have been helping McLaren drive innovation with a single group wide IT platform to support this growth. Scheduled for the first quarter of 2015, McLaren Automotive will be implementing SAP Finance, SAP Project Systems, and SAP ERP to compliment SAP HR that has been live for some time. Replacing an old legacy home grown system the continued deployment of SAP will see decision making and management information unified in a single system, simplifying operations for better cost management, optimizing resources and enabling easier financial reporting. However as Birrell highlights McLaren’s customers will benefit too, “The ultimate benefit for our customers is a much more agile service. When a customer configures a car online and then visits one of our retailers to buy that car, the retailer will be able to pull that configuration out, which in turn