Formula 1 ERP: Make the car go faster

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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.


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About Rod Newing


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09th Jul 2012 12:05

Small improvements

Thanks to Rod for bringing us this pit lane report on Friday. With all the rain, the race practice sessions proved to be a challenge for the Marussia team (previously branded as the Virgin team until this year). 

After Saturday's session, Marussia driver Timo Glock ended up in 20th place on the starting grid and his rookie colleague Charles Pic was 24th.

They both did reasonably well during the rain-affected race, fininshing 18th and 19th respectively by overtaking cars from the HRT-Cosworth team and taking advantage of three cars that retired from the race.

According to the BBC, the team did not have its car ready in time for the testing before the beginning of the 2012 Grand Prix season and has been playing catch-up ever since.

We'll be keeping an eye on th Marussia team through the rest of the season to see if the ERP software can help to sustain further improvements in their performance.

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