automotive press products (c) 2020 TopreTopre Corporation, a Japanese headquartered multinational company has selected Infor CloudSuite Automotive ERP, initially for its seven domestic sites in Japan. The automotive parts manufacturer will use the software to manage its production, sales, purchasing and inventory. Founded in 1935 Topre is a diversified automotive parts manufacturer. Its Japanese factories provide a range of products and services for the automotive industry including:

  • Pierce nuts and related equipment for automotive assembly.
  • Refrigerated Vehicles and cold-storage units.
  • Automotive press parts.
  • Metalworking and polishing.
  • Painting.
  • Transportation, vehicle servicing, oil product sales.

In 1990, it also started to produce office equipment, making Realforce keyboards for personal computers. It has also started to develop touch monitors, touch panels and embedded computing devices. The press related products business, mainly automotive  parts, contributed 70.7% of its ¥ 200.0 billion revenues. 59.9% of its revenues are still from Japan.

Once the ERP is implemented across Japan, it intends to roll out to its international sites including US, China and Thailand. Perhaps surprisingly, its new Indian operation is not mentioned. India is due to start operations this year.

Why now?

The Japan automotive industry is facing huge disruption. Takamitsu Sawa, a distinguished professor at Shiga University, noted in a Japan Times article: “Faced with dramatic changes on both the demand and supply sides, automakers are engaged in a fierce battle for survival.”

He cites two key trends that lie behind this. The first is that young people in Japan are buying less cars. Secondly, people are moving from ownership to use. Topre is, perhaps, not as impacted in making pressed parts as an engine manufacturer might be. However, it needs to increase efficiency in operations and leverage new technologies such as IoT to deliver new services and evolve its business practices.

For years it had developed an in-house business system to manage its operations. In light of the rapidly evolving market it felt that it needed a cloud based solution, that was:

  • Scalable.
  • Would work across the globe.
  • With which it could standardize its business processes on.
  • Offer greater flexibility as business models changed.

After a review of the market it selected Infor CloudSuite Automotive.

Why Infor?

Topre will leverage an AWS hosted solution that Infor has developed for the automotive industry. As such, it has specific functionality required by the industry. This includes such things as support for specific manufacturers such as American Honda Motor EDI and bar codes. Topre called out several reasons for selecting Infor including:

  • Advanced production and quality management.
  • Ability to share data with automakers.
  • Visualization of supply chains.
  • Support for the unique electronic data interchange (EDI) system for managing sales of the main domestic automakers.

The fact that the cloud-based solution is regularly improved, without the same investment that Topre required for the internal solution, means that as the market evolves so should the software. Certainly faster than its historic solution. Topre is also not alone in selecting Infor. Infor claims that 80% of the worlds largest automotive supplier run Infor applications. It is likely that others will as well.

Tesshu Harada, Topre acting general manager, business process re-engineering department, auto parts headquarters commented: “To survive what people are calling a once-in-a-century transformation in the automotive industry, we have to transform our business structures in cooperation with the automakers. We will start this process by stepping away from our old systems and rebuilding a core business platform in a highly scalable cloud environment to drive further digital transformation across Topre. We chose Infor for its highly specialized cloud solution with a track record in realizing the standardization of business transformation,”

Enterprise Times: What does this mean

This is another significant win for Infor and appears also to be a net new customer. Enterprise Times could not ascertain what financial solution Topre used historically or the nature of its internal solutions. Regardless, once rolled out this will provide a significant boost to Infor Japan as it looks to gain a bigger foothold in the Japanese automotive parts sector.

For Topre, it is an investment in a company that has a diverse range of solutions that could help its future growth. If it decides in the future to hire out refrigeration truck it manufactures rather than sell them it could leverage Infor Equipment Rental to do so. It could do so without having to go through a complex selection process. Where required, Infor ION, the integration element of the Infor platform would help to integrate the solutions across different businesses.

The Topre journey with Infor is just beginning. It will be fascinating to see how it develops over the coming months and years.


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