At a Glance
Company: JTEKT North America Koyo Bearings Division
Location: Koyo Automotive Headquarters in Greenville, SC
Industry: Tier 1 Automotive Supplier
Type of Solution: Internal Business Web Application
Project Summary: JTEKT is a Fortune Global 2000 company. Its Koyo Bearings division, based in Greenville, S.C., built an internal business application to manage the process of requesting tests and prototypes with 6 labs spread across South Carolina and Michigan.

Overview
Eric Dusel, an application engineer at Koyo Bearings, noticed that inefficiency, data silos, lack of historical data, and manual reports marked the company’s lab request processes. He investigated a solution, but discovered that different labs and business units in the company had vastly different business processes, meaning an off-the-shelf product would only solve part of the problem.

Based on the popularity of Python in the engineering community, Eric (a Python user himself) began to explore whether a custom Python solution could meet his needs. That search led him to Worthwhile. After making an introduction, Eric asked Worthwhile’s consulting team to see if a custom software solution could bring about the transformation he envisioned for the business. Over the course of a year, Worthwhile worked with Eric to develop the business case and provide scope and cost so Eric could receive the necessary approval.

Worthwhile built a flexible business application that allows 100+ users and six labs to customize based on their needs and processes, and launched it in JTEKT’s hosting environment without a hitch. The project was viewed as a major success internally, with additional business units asking to get on board even before launch.

“Worthwhile was able to assess our culture and build a program that works across multiple groups, labs, and divisions. The fact that the solution can transcend product lines, lab-specific requirements, and various document types is impressive.” — Eric Dusel, senior application engineer and project lead for JTEKT | Koyo Bearings

JTEKT’s Journey with Worthwhile
Eric put together a project team (including QA, IT, and labs as well as engineers) that worked with Worthwhile to quickly establish a business case and a budget. JTEKT’s project team then worked through internal processes to get stakeholder buy in and project approval.

In initial consulting session, Worthwhile and JTEKT discussed automating one key form: DVP&R. However, it became clear over time that requests, not the actual DVP&R form, would have the most impact for JTEKT’s business. So the planned scope for the software pivoted to managing internal requests to labs.

As more people at JTEKT heard about this idea, more business units wanted to be involved. As a result, the architecture had to become more and more flexible to fit the emerging needs.

The architecture, design and content, and software development phases took a total of eight months.

Value Areas and Expected ROI
Dusel made the case to partner with Worthwhile based on 15-month ROI if the project reduced employee communication time from 4-6% to 2-3%. During the build, the number of expected users grew and accelerated original ROI estimates.

JTEKT will be doing quarterly surveys to uncover ROI in terms of time savings, increased capacity, more efficient tests, or another form, and they are beginning to explore how to get a return on value of digital transformation and move into Industry 4.0.

Key Business Challenge Solved by the Project
Different business units had different computer systems or even different spreadsheets, which made historical data tracking nearly impossible. This meant that reports were impossible and externally requested audits were nightmares. By creating this request manager software, JTEKT gained the ability to track all requests in one place, with a robust searching ability to make things exponentially easier to find.

Project Differentiator
The ability for each lab and/or business unit to set approval process and create its own forms to fit its unique requirements based on real-world business processes and unique data input and output needs. This flexibility made it possible to extend this business application to impact exponentially more requests, labs, and users, delivering more business impact and ROI much more quickly.