Humble beginnings: KPIT Cummins offers Tier 2 manufacturing IT services and the capacity to please
India-based KPIT Cummins is a young and visionary company with specialized IT solutions for the industrial manufacturing and automotive sectors. As an SAP partner, its services span global supply chain management, intelligent equipment management, and strategies for faster time-to-market.
KPIT Cummins, a Tier 2 IT services/business consulting firm based in Pune, India, is making a name for itself in the automotive, industrial, and high-tech/semiconductor industries with a capacity to provide whatever its customers need.
“It’s a relatively unknown company, but one with impressive domain expertise around complex issues,” says Simon Jacobson, senior analyst with Boston-based AMR Research . “Its process knowledge of Oracle and SAP in the operations arena is impressive.”
Formed via the merger of KPIT and global power leader Cummins Inc .’s information services arm in 2002, the organization aggressively pursued increasingly larger, longer-term global engagements, which made it a rapidly rising star of Indian industry with a strong foothold in North America.
KPIT’s original heritage is financial IT services, but its merger with Cummins—based on an initial project that blossomed into more extensive manufacturing IT engagements—became the foundation to morph into a multifaceted manufacturing professional services firm. KPIT now has strong expertise in business, operations, and engineering IT; as well as business process and supply chain optimization.
One particularly satisfied customer is Charleston, S.C.-based Cummins Turbo Technologies , which makes turbocharger components for Cummins..
“Our relationship started from humble beginnings,” Willson continues. “[KPIT] first started documenting work on a homegrown assembly management system, which grew into support for our Oracle ERP implementation in Charleston.”
Right now, Cummins Turbo Technologies is in the middle of ERP consolidation around Oracle 11i, and KPIT has been a partner on two projects. The firm also supports a custom manufacturing execution system. “I’ve yet to encounter a person on their team who isn’t willing to do whatever it takes to provide whatever we need,” Willson says of KPIT.
KPIT Cummins also has developed deep domain expertise in automotive electronics—especially in the design and engineering of electric control unit (ECU) components that enable the electronic intelligence in vehicles. Its recent partnership with VaST , a vendor of electronic virtualization tools for high-speed simulation and prototype design, underscores its commitment to supporting OEMs and Tier 1 and Tier 2 suppliers with cutting-edge technology.
“The partnership with VaST is a sign they are maturing,” says Dana Stiffler, a director for AMR, “as it’s important for service providers to focus on specific industry pain points.… Playing at the intersection between semiconductors and automotive is where they want to be.”
KPIT has more 130 customers worldwide, with about 95 percent of its business in manufacturing. The majority of revenues come from North America, but Stiffler says they’re still finding their way.
“Manufacturers often get better quality service and flexibility with someone like KPIT Cummins than with a larger firm,” she says. “You might not use them as a sole-source provider, but they make a good partner—especially in IT and engineering applications.”
Quality service is what defined the relationship that Willson and Cummins Turbo Technologies now have with the KPIT.
“When we started our new Palmetto Park plant, we were working with a new integrator that had a different approach to putting in the assembly line than were familiar with,” explains Willson. “We needed support around interfacing the line with our ERP system for work orders and scheduling, and handling inventory and scrap. KPIT Cummins put together a team with an onsite leader and a number of offshore people. The project manager worked very independently without a lot of guidance from us, and we were up and running ahead of schedule. And in the process, they even developed an end-of-line packaging solution for us.”
Annual Salary Survey
After almost a decade of uncertainty, the confidence of plant floor managers is soaring. Even with a number of challenges and while implementing new technologies, there is a renewed sense of optimism among plant managers about their business and their future.
The respondents to the 2014 Plant Engineering Salary Survey come from throughout the U.S. and serve a variety of industries, but they are uniform in their optimism about manufacturing. This year’s survey found 79% consider manufacturing a secure career. That’s up from 75% in 2013 and significantly higher than the 63% figure when Plant Engineering first started asking that question a decade ago.