Electric vehicles are sufficiently distinct from their gas-guzzling cousins that auto makers have the chance to toss out decades of legacy manufacturing systems. That can go for their IT infrastructure too. When General Motors named Namo Tiwari CIO of its internal startup BrightDrop, he decided to build an ERP from scratch rather than piggy-back on GM’s existing system.
GM set up BrightDrop in January 2021 to modernize first- and last-mile transport with an integrated ecosystem of electric vans and motorized pallets. By the time Tiwari arrived six months later, BrightDrop staff was already talking to parts suppliers and manufacturers, wanting to set up procurement processes.
“We were able to manage some of them through Excel and Word,” he says. “It was quite a handful, but one advantage we had was it wasn’t like we were dealing with millions or trillions of records in the first place.”
The race was on, though, to build the…