Formula 1 ERP: Make the car go faster
Rod Newing reports on how Sage ERP X3 was used at this weekend’s Santander Silverstone Grand Prix.
The spacious new pits at Silverstone have been transformed for the weekend into mini versions of each particpating team’s factory, kitted out with screens, partitions and integrated furniture. Behind the pits is a temporary city of workshops on wheels and two-storey motor homes. Behind them are smartly liveried multi-storey luxury temporary hospitality buildings, with drivers milling about giving interviews and signing autographs.
In one of the air-conditioned workshops a Marussia F1 Team mechanic, in regulation polo shirt and shorts, is unpacking urgent deliveries and logging them into Sage ERP X3 on his laptop. Amid the occasional scream of an engine, he says it only took him a week to get the hang of it.
The system is the brainchild of Kevin Lee, the team’s operations manager. A Formula One veteran he admits to being “blinded by the glamour” of motorsport back in 1979. He joined the young Anglo-Russian Marussia Formula One racing team in 2010, just as it was upgrading from Sage 50 Accounts to Sage 200.
“It was Spreadsheet City,” he says. “It was purely an accounting system with no stock control or goods receipts and no connections to the operations.” Lee immediately identified the need for a proper system to control stock, handle purchase orders, link to finance and handle all the back office functions.
With a 2012 car to build, he moved at typical F1 speed to select Sage ERP X3. The system went live in October.
Where most businesses exist to make a profit, a racing team exists to build and run a fast car, so procurement and stock control is critical to its success. The system handles the entire lifecycle of each component. Starting with purchase orders and goods receipts, X3 tracks parts through inspection and all the physical locations within the factory, including stores, engineering departments for each part of the car and the cars themselves. It also covers the transit to races and pit stores.
Everything is done on screen without hard copy. The race team can log into the system remotely wherever they are in the world.