A.T.U. repair shops will also use the same Microsoft IT

A.T.U. plans to roll out Microsoft Dynamics AX across all of its 600 repair shops, in a move designed to improve efficiency and lower costs.

Microsoft Dynamics AX 2009 is a business management solution that works like familiar Microsoft software offerings and easily integrates with them. The application consolidates and standardizes processes and aims to improve productivity and provide better management insight into operations.

Each repair shop belonging to A.T.U., Germany’s leading auto repairer, used to be fairly independent when it came to IT. Different applications were used for cash management, order bookings and availability management.

“That system cost us a lot of time, it was prone to mistakes and needed a lot of attention,” said A.T.U. Managing Director Manfred Gerlach.

The standardization project started in the spring of 2008 and in August, 2009, Microsoft partner HSO SW implemented the system in the first of A.T.U.’s German repair shops. By early 2011, 226 locations are using the Microsoft software.

The last of 6,500 cash registers is scheduled to be changed over by the end of this year. Thin clients function as point-of-service systems. The cash registers are connected to a data center through ADSL connections. Information on sales and repair jobs is transmitted through terminal and company servers and can be analyzed right away.

Cash registers are de facto remote-controlled. “The command to open a cash register comes from the server,” said Gerlach.

Repair shops are connected with central applications for inventory management, finance or management information. Many suppliers and external service providers are also connected using Microsoft Dynamics AX’s Web service.

A.T.U.said the fully integrated system means that employees can serve customers faster. In addition, IT expenditures are reduced.

Said Gerlach: “Cost-effective standard hardware and the thin clients used at the cash points are reducing our investment volume.” In addition, he said, the company saves roughly 300,000 euros a year in electricity costs.