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Toyota 'just in time' delivery

on . Posted in Customer Stories

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Customer Case   |    Toyota Motor Europe   |   Belgium

It is no wonder that Toyota, a pioneer in Just-In-Time (JIT) which is on the basis of the Toyota Production System, has decided to use Quick-EDD/HA software for its applications running on IBM Power i. After all, the idea of JIT is to save time, resources, and costs - which is exactly what Quick-EDD/HA does.

In an interview with Werner Theuns (IT Manager), Kurt Leysen (IBM i System Engineer) and Bruno Degryse (IBM i System Engineer) of Toyota Motors Europe we are explained why.
With almost 340.000 employees and 9 million cars produced per year, Toyota is one of the largest car manufacturing and sales companies in the world. Toyota Motor Europe (TME) is the European Head Office of Toyota located in Brussels, Belgium, from where - among other things - 5 factories and 15 warehouses are supported throughout Europe by means of the IBM Power i platform.

Why IBM Power i ?
At TME we host and manage a large number of applications used by our factories and National Marketing & Sales Companies (NMSC’s) throughout Europe. Consider for example our production line systems and our dealer management systems. But also our logistics systems run in Brussels. For example, all our European cars coming from the Far East arrive at Zeebrugge, at the Belgian coast, and are handled and distributed throughout Europe by means of our vehicle logistics system running on IBM Power i systems hosted in the IBM data centres in the area of Zaventem/Brussels. Similarly, we have various spare parts warehouses located throughout Europe operating on our spare parts logistics system also running on IBM Power i systems hosted by IBM. Many of these applications were developed to run on IBM Power i due to the robustness of these machines, and because this is still the case we maintain this platform.

So many entities in a single system?
Actually, our platform consists of two IBM Power i systems. One hosts our real production environment, and the second one serves as a backup and to perform system switches and tests. For spare parts logistics - for example - we host as many as 14 warehouses on a single IBM Power i by accommodating each warehouse in a separate partition. This solution saves us a lot of hardware and is typically less costly than having to maintain 14 such machines throughout Europe.

Does this mean that all Toyota systems are highly available?
Our IBM Power i platform - which is accommodated by the IBM Data Center - has never let us down. One could theorize that – for example – 2 hours of non-availability of our systems could lead to a damage of about €1 million due to a production standstill involving approximately 500 employees, but this has simply never occurred. Occasionally, however, we plan downtime for system maintenance, or to update or switch software, for which we typically need 24-36 hours. If we do this during a weekend, high availability is therefore not an issue. But once that - for example - our factory in Turkey increases to three production shifts per week, we may no longer have a full weekend at our disposal. This is one of the reasons that we have purchased the Quick EDD/HA software, as it works on the basis of software replication, which reduces our downtime to only 3 hours at the most. Not only that but in the unlikely event of a system crash, for instance during our system maintenance processes, this makes it possible for us to recover in a snap.

Are there any other reasons why you purchased Quick EDD/HA?
There were quite a number of reasons really. As explained, Quick EDD/HA saves us much downtime once a factory moves to nearly continuous production, and enables quick recovery in the event of a system crash. Also, with a view on welcoming other NMSCs into our IBM Power i environment in the future, Quick EDD/HA makes a much quicker and smoother transition possible. No more travel with tapes! Furthermore: Quick-EDD/HA came out much better than any other similar high availability software solution we have tried, and it does not require significant maintenance itself. And finally, Toyota’s IT organization in France has been using Quick-EDD/HA as a superior high-availability solution with great satisfaction for many years. This made it easier for us to decide for Quick-EDD/HA as a standard solution in our IBM Power i environment to simplify our IT processes. All in all,
Quick-EDD/HA, therefore, saves us time, resources, and costs.

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