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Reading Time: 5 Minutes 27.12.2022 Currents & Trends

About this Guest Contribution

Being able to manage the growing complexity of digitization demands an ever-increasing amount of expertise and manpower. Resources that medium-sized companies often do not have. However, these are supported by the ITA (Information Technology in the Automotive Industry) trade association. ITA is a service partner that supports members of the automotive industry in selecting the right software for their business processes – with its own certification program. proALPHA has been certified by the ITA as a tested provider of ERP software for the automotive supplier industry and passes on this know-how to Böhme   Weihs, which is a member of the proALPHA Group. This means that we, too, can now provide optimal support to automotive suppliers. Chairman Darius Zand introduces ITA in his Guest Contribution.

The Guest Contribution

By Darius Zand, ITA, Chairman of the Board

Our association, ITA – the capitals stand for “Information Technology in the Automotive Industry” – was founded in 2000 by the VDA (Verband der Automobilindustrie e.V. = German Association of the Automotive Industry). We understand our role to be that of an automotive service partner. Our goal is to intensify the flow of information between automotive manufacturers and automotive suppliers and companies in the information and communication technology sector in order to develop future-proof solutions to master the complex challenges ahead.

Challenges facing the automotive industry
The German economy is currently facing not only a range of economic, but also political, social and market challenges. These include changing supply chains, material bottlenecks, staff shortages, an uncertain global situation, inflation as well as rising material and energy prices. Often, the increased costs cannot be passed on to the market. On the other hand, the general political climate is also impacting global production networks and supply chains.

At the same time, the automotive industry is presently undergoing a major technological transformation that requires innovative new business models and processes as well as innovations in the product and service areas. The majority of these innovations are now based on software and IT technology and this is on the rise – with the complexity and degree of integration also significantly increasing.

The key to solving these manifold tasks lies in end-2-end optimization and the digitization of the entire value chain through standardization and the establishment of open connectivity at all levels. This is because this makes it possible to flexibly integrate different partners, services, software, products, and their respective data and to exchange information accordingly. In addition, companies are called upon to increase their efficiency and effectiveness and to implement Industry 4.0 standards as quickly as possible. For us, this means actively supporting medium-sized companies in the automotive industry.

Services provided by ITA
In view of the central role digitization is now playing, our approach involves connecting the automotive industry with IT consulting companies and IT service providers via our ITA platform. For over 20 years now, we have been cooperating with members of VDA and ODETTE, a non-profit organization consisting of a number of national automobile associations and automotive societies based in London. Amongst our ITA members are consulting and technology companies with a focus on the automotive industry, logistics service providers, representatives from the automotive industry (OEMs and suppliers), universities, colleges, and research institutions, as well as many more associations and organizations.

ITA certification program for medium-sized automotive suppliers
Alongside our ITA Platform, we have also launched an ITA certification program. This is aimed at facilitating the decision-making process for medium-sized automotive suppliers when it comes to introducing IT systems in line with the requirements set down by the automotive industry. To achieve this, we have defined the core processes in the automotive sector and coordinated these with the automotive industry. IT providers and IT solutions are now certified based on these processes. However, due to the fact that the success of a project not only depends on the product itself, but also on the project management and implementation methodology involved, IT providers have to demonstrate vis-à-vis the accredited certification company that they implement a process-oriented methodology. That this methodology has been successfully implemented needs to be confirmed through looking at those projects that have already been completed as well as through the provision of respective references – as does the existence of the required competence for handling automotive-specific processes and functions. In addition, the VDA carries out interoperability tests on the ERP, EDI, and MES systems in which selected scenarios are checked using test data. Our ITA certification program makes the selection process easier – especially for medium-sized automotive suppliers. They can minimize their costs and risks by focusing on certified IT providers and their solutions. proALPHA has been certified by the ITA as a tested provider of ERP software for the automotive supplier industry.

Driving sustainability
Automotive companies are now increasingly concerned with the issue of sustainability in connection with the Supply Chain Act. This was confirmed by the great response to our ITA webinar in the spring of 2022 and the rapidly growing importance of sustainability on the national and international stage, especially when focusing on the supply chain. This has prompted us to offer an exclusive pre-qualification course for medium-sized automotive suppliers. In addition, we strive to uncover detailed potential for achieving greater sustainability within the companies involved and to provide recommendations for action. This is a way for automotive suppliers to demonstrate their acceptance of social responsibility towards their customers and partners.

We look forward to continuing to play an active role in the future in shaping technological change and promoting sustainability as the basis for competitiveness within the automotive industry. 

More about ITA: ITA Automotive Service Partner e.V. – Automotive Partners Association (ita-int.org)(in German only)

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