EK Kanoo: Automated Automotive

EK Kanoo, one of the longest established trading companies in the Gulf, is running all of its group operations, including its core automotive business on a highly customised ERP. The company has built its own in-house development team to cater to the specific requirements of this complex sector

Tags: CustomisationEK Kanoo (http://www.ekkanoo.com/)Oracle CorporationRetail
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EK Kanoo: Automated Automotive Jawed Akhtar, CIO, Ebrahim Khalil Kanoo Co.
By  Mark Sutton Published  July 17, 2014

The Ebrahim Khalil Kanoo BSC (c) (EK Kanoo), has its roots in one of the most established trading families in the Gulf, but today the company is best known for its activities in the automotive sector, since its founder, Ebrahim Khalil Kanoo, secured the sole authorised distributorship in Bahrain of Toyota automobiles, industrial vehicles and related services in 1966.

Today the group company is still the sole distributor of Toyota and Lexus in the Kingdom of Bahrain. The Kanoo group has always been keen to seek out new business opportunities. In addition to being an automotive pioneer in the Kingdom, the Kanoo group has expanded into, car care products, mercantile, leasing solutions, management consulting, industrial equipment and supplies, and IT among other fields. The Group also aims to set new customer service standards in the face of the ever growing quality expectations.

With a diverse range of businesses and activities, the company had recognised the importance of having a single integrated system to run its business a long time ago, with a strategic decision taken to move to a single solution in 2006, and a deployment of Oracle E-Business Suite begun in 2008. The ERP replaced a mix of different solutions in use across the different business units, including some AS400-based applications, financial packages, and custom solutions. The group struggled to manage such a diverse environment, Akhtar said, and wanted a replacement solution that would provide a single platform for the whole group.

Oracle was selected after an assessment process with KPMG, and the initial deployment included core business functionality for both of the group’s main business lines. By early 2010, the whole group had implemented the solution. The deployment included modules for HR, Finance, SCM, Service, Sales, Logistics, Inventory, Procurement, Project Management, and CRM.

The initial deployment proved to be highly successful for the group, allowing much greater insight into its business, and better tracking of vehicles and customers in areas such as scheduling services or tracking vehicles throughout their lifecycle. EK Kanoo developed a single system to facilitate vehicle sales, spare parts and services, with a common item master systems, and sold vehicle database to serve customers for service and warranty.

Jawed Akhtar, chief information officer at EK Kanoo said that the company recently decided to upgrade its Oracle ERP from version 11 to version 12. The company had completed a data centre upgrade and wanted to move to the latest version of the ERP to be able to access new features. However, there was an issue with upgrading, namely in the high degree of customisation which had been done to the ERP to fit the needs of the automotive sector.

“We had to add a huge amount of customisation that is specific to the auto industry, it turned out to be a monster in terms of complexity and customisation to maintain,” Akhtar explained.

The reason for the high degree of customisation in the automotive sector is because of the complexity of the processes involved in buying a new vehicle such as selecting specifications, extras and payment options, provisioning of a wide range of spare parts, tracking service and warranty, integration with official systems for vehicle registration and so on.

“The whole solution needs to be in tune with the vehicle specification, because of the way the vehicles are sold. A lot of activities  happen in creating a sales order. All those things need to be provisioned in the system, to capture it right from the point that the customer visits the showroom and says he is looking for this particular model, with multiple options, and whether he is buying in cash, or he is buying with bank financing, or self-financing,” Akhtar said.

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