Proton, Malaysia’s first national auto manufacturer, has challenged all departments to lower expenses. For the IT department, this meant looking at ways to minimize professional fees from technology providers.
Proton is a Malaysian automobile manufacturer that developed the country’s first national car, the Proton Saga. The recent release of the Proton X70 has made the model the top premium and executive SUV in the country and Malaysia’s fastest-selling C-segment SUV.
Turnover: RM4.2 billion
Employees: close to 10,000
Products supported: ECC6
• 50% reduction in support costs
• Secured maintenance support for existing SAP ERP
• Personalized support services
• Flexibility to decide when they migrate to S4 Hana
The Proton challenge
Proton is Malaysia’s first national car company established over 35 years ago. Its latest models, the Proton Saga and X70, have delivered a 50% growth in sales into the fourth quarter of 2019 and an increase in market share.
However, faced with tough economic conditions in the country, the company challenged all departments to lower expenses. The company sought to reduce its overall operating expenses by 30%. For the IT department, this meant looking at ways to minimize professional fees from technology providers.
The car manufacturer primarily uses SAP, integrated with Siebel, another specialist system, for operations ranging from manufacturing to sales distribution and after sales.
“Initially we were looking at saving in professional fees by keeping projects internal. However, resources were tight with multiple projects happening at the same time,” said Marhalisa Matari, Senior Manager, IT Application Management, Group Information Technology for Proton.
After this first plan did not get Proton to its objective, the company decided to look for a third-party vendor for assistance after attending a Rimini Street event by chance in Kuala Lumpur. After a competitive bidding process, that included SAP, Rimini Street was selected as a third-party support vendor for Proton’s SAP ERP due to their knowledge and expertise displayed.
“The decision to switch to Rimini Street as a third-party vendor included input from the IT team, management and the ERP system’s users,” explained Marhalisa.
The Rimini Street solution
Proton uses Rimini Street’s services for its SDMM, FICO, plant maintenance, IS Auto, APO, production planning, and HR and payroll solutions. The IT team especially appreciated receiving a dedicated Primary Support Engineer (PSE) who knew their support history and background. Additionally, Rimini Street’s integration with other applications gives the company a reduction in downtime when issues arise.
Besides cost savings, Proton feels that their support emails are addressed promptly, warmly and with equal levels of attention regardless of the request – compared to the support services received from the technology provider. Additionally, the support team on-boarded quickly, picking up Proton’s business processes during the knowledge transfer process.
Marhalisa was also impressed by the team’s proactive attitude while familiarizing themselves with Proton’s systems and environment. This gave Marhalisa the confidence of knowing that issues are being handled by the Rimini Street’s team.
Proton immediately reduced costs by 50% by switching to Rimini Street. The savings delivered by the IT department, through its relationship with Rimini Street, contributed to enabling Proton to expand their plant in Tanjung Malim, Perak to accommodate greater production volumes. The company is also considering extending its use of Rimini Street to its export markets in the region.
Another benefit for Proton is that they now have the flexibility to upgrade to the latest version of SAP software when the business is ready to make the investment, versus having to abide by the timeline imposed by the technology provider.
“One of the reasons we went with Rimini Street’s solution is so that we don’t have to feel pressured to upgrade to SAP HANA in 2025 if the organization is not ready to make the investment and we will still have the necessary support required,” said Marhalisa.
Proton is also happy to have a dedicated consultant to provide support whenever it is needed. Shortly after signing on with Rimini Street, Proton had the opportunity to test this when a system went down. Although the system was not part of Rimini Street’s mandate with Proton, their support consultant still responded promptly to see how to solve the problem.
Marhalisa added: “Rimini Street makes customers feel important. The team is very reassuring when problems arise and regularly checks on our team, which is important to me. Also, the turnaround time for when a ticket is logged by my team and the response received from Rimini Street is fantastic. My team members do not even have time to go and make a cup of coffee, that is how fast Rimini Street gets back to their customers.”