Rich Hoffman: Hyundai will have three information technology centers.
To keep pace with that growth, Hyundai this month consolidated its information technology services into a single unit, Hyundai Information Service North America.
Rich Hoffman, who had been IT director for Hyundai Motor America and Hyundai Motor Finance Co., is the unit's CEO.
Hoffman spoke last week with Special Correspondent Tim Moran about Hyundai Information Service, which operates from Kia Motors America Inc.'s headquarters in Irvine, Calif.
What are the advantages to consolidating information technology services?
Basically, we'll have the capability to do more. We have three centers: one in Europe (opens in 2006), one in South Korea, one in the U.S. That will tie together Hyundai and Kia facilities globally. So whether it's supply chain management or order-to-delivery systems, that will bring benefits.
With those three centers, will you be taking advantage of offshore programming and software development?
We are utilizing offshore somewhat. But offshore for us is Korea.
What strengths does Korea have for you that may not be present in North America?
Simply put, the Hyundai-Kia automotive group is based out of Korea, and there's a lot of knowledge there, whether on the IT end or manufacturing. We go there to get intellectual capital, if you will.
Will Hyundai Information Service North America be working with existing enterprise resource management software or develop its own?
The majority of it right now is certainly all custom. We will adopt enterprise resource management systems or shelf-available software if it suits our needs, but some of what we do will be leading edge and certainly not off the shelf.
Within your work force, how many people are in support and how many are in the development of IT systems?
It's about a 60-40 split, with 40 percent support and 60 percent development. So far, that's just staff from the first few enterprises we've pulled together. We're going to be assimilating affiliates in North America.
Is this a case where you're harmonizing operations that grew up independently with various business successes?
Each one of the divisions centrally had its own IT organizations, its own infrastructure. But now it's at the point, especially now that we've grown to be a Tier 1 company, we've taken a very forward view.
Many companies have waited until they've gotten extremely big and really overburdened on their price per vehicle, etc.
At Hyundai we're putting in a future-based model now to leverage everything.
Will you hire more people in addition to the 113 full-time staff members in place?
The majority of it is utilizing existing staff. We are doing some hiring, certainly in new areas where we're advancing, more for the forward technologies where we're forecasting technology, and in e-business. For ongoing operations we're pretty much set.