Kimi Raikkonen in his Lotus car at the Marina Bay Circuit in 2013. Credit to Lotus F1 Team
Understanding that technology is becoming increasingly imperative to stay competitive in the sport, the Lotus F1 Team (Lotus) has signed a partnership agreement with Microsoft in 2012. Under the agreement, Microsoft will gradually deploy its enterprise resource planning (ERP) solution, Microsoft Dynamics AX, to integrate performance and manufacturing systems in a single environment.
The first phase of the project, which went live in November 2012, saw the deployment of Microsoft Dynamics AX for Lotus' human resources, finance, and procurement departments. The ERP solution offers "a greater level of transparency across these departments [...therefore] improving collaboration and productivity," said Thomas Mayer, Lotus' Chief Operating Officer.
Lotus' Technical Director James Allison said the second phase will cover all manufacturing and engineering operations. It is currently being rolled out and is scheduled to go live by November this year. By the end of the second phase (scheduled for end of 2016), Microsoft Dynamics AX would have replaced a total of 10 legacy systems to fine-tune Lotus' entire business, from manufacturing to racetrack. The agility of Microsoft Dynamics AX will help Lotus to improve capacity planning across manufacturing, improve management of information to increase operational efficiency, and integrate disparate systems to enhance data accuracy and resource reporting.
"Microsoft Dynamics AX will allow us to plan confidently and collaborate more effectively [... thus] giving our designers and engineers as much time as possible on the design phase. The longer we can spend on this, the faster our car [for next season] will be," said Allison.
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