BMW Group South Africa (BMW SA) has cut the ribbon on its expanded and revamped campus in Midrand, Gauteng.
The project carried a price tag of R260-million.
The Midrand campus now consists of BMW SA’s head office, BMW Financial Services, a new dealer training centre, an information technology (IT) centre with seating for 500 employees, a new welcome centre, restaurant and gym.
The project is the latest in a series of investments in South Africa by the German car maker over the last two years, including a R6.1-billion investment into the Rosslyn plant for the production of the new X3, construction of a new R73-million training centre at the plant, a R260-million co-investment in a new regional distribution centre and R2.2-billion flowing in to the national BMW dealer network.
The relocation of parts warehousing from the head office, in Midrand, to nearby Waterfall, created space at BMW SA headquarters, allowing for a reconfiguration of the site – in particular the addition of 500 IT staff.
BMW SA’s IT operations have grown at a rapid rate in recent years, expanding from 134 people in 2014 to more than 1 000 people.
These 1000 people are working on projects for the BMW group globally, such as assignments related to block chain, cloud computing and the development of a self-driving forklift, says BMW Group chief information officer and information management senior VP Klaus Straub.
BMW SA houses around 20% of the BMW Group’s total IT staff contingent, he adds.
“The expertise here in South Africa is leading edge,” Straub tells Engineering News Online.
He adds that BMW’s IT department is growing at a rapid rate as the demands for IT solutions, such as big data, virtual reality and artificial intelligence, are expanding.
BMW SA’s combined IT operations exported more than R1-billion in services in 2018. The business serves 48 countries worldwide, around the clock, says BMW SA CEO Tim Abbott.
Straub notes it is possible for BMW SA’s IT operations to expand further should the need arise and the skills standard remain on a high level.
The new dealer training facility at the Midrand campus provides technical and non-technical training.
The 5 500 m2, R109-million facility offers training on all BMW brands.
The centre can host 220 training delegates a day and contains 17 lecture rooms.
The centre aims to deliver 150 000 training hours in 2019.
In total, revamping and expanding the Midrand campus consumed 1.4-million bricks, 11 km of electrical cables, 1.2 km of water pipes, 4 km of aircon ducting, 21 500 l of paint, 190 t of structural steel and 1 600 m3 of poured concrete.