Acorn Paper Products Fills 98% of Customer Packaging Orders in Less Than 24 Hours and Expands Business with New Online Store
 
 

Acorn Paper Products Fills 98% of Customer Packaging Orders in Less Than 24 Hours and Expands Business with New Online Store

From the tiny acorn, the mighty oak grows. This familiar adage accurately captures the history of Acorn Paper Products Company over the last three decades. The company’s CEO David Weissberg had a vision of making Acorn Paper Products one of the best-positioned paper and packaging companies on the West Coast, and he has succeeded in this goal. Over the last three decades, Acorn has expanded manufacturing and shipping operations, grown its product line, opened new facilities, and created new divisions to meet market needs.

Founded by Jack Bernstein in 1946, the company started by selling job-lot (over-run) boxes with five employees in an 11,000-square-foot warehouse. Today, Acorn Paper Products, which is the end-user, distribution arm of parent holding company Oak Paper Products Company, is a fourth-generation family-owned business with more than 500,000 square feet of warehouse space. Acorn operates four specialty product divisions: creative services, janitorial and sanitary products, wine packaging, and agricultural packaging. In addition to stocking thousands of ready-to-sell boxes, packaging supplies, and janitorial/sanitary products, the company operates a sizeable custom-manufacturing operation to meet the needs of customers with special requests.

The company uses Oracle E-Business Suite (recently upgrading to Release 12.1.2), Oracle Sales Cloud applications, Oracle Database, and Oracle technology to support its business, which is built on a commitment to quality, value, customer service, and environmental sustainability. Oracle solutions are instrumental in helping the company fill 98% of its 500 daily orders within 24 hours or less and at a lower price than competing firms—presenting a compelling value proposition.

 
Ready for the Next Generation

A word from Acorn Paper Products Company

  • "Our upgrade to Oracle E-Business Suite Release 12.1.2 was a 1,000% success. We had no issues, no downtime, and it was transparent to our customers. Today, our business is more efficient and our commitment to environmental sustainability is stronger and more pervasive than ever.” – David Weissberg, CEO, Acorn Paper Products Company

Acorn first deployed Oracle E-Business Suite in 2000. At the time, skeptical peers cautioned Weissberg that the system was more complex and powerful than the small company needed. Undeterred, Acorn embraced Oracle. “We were probably one of the smallest Oracle customers at the time,” said David Weissberg, CEO, Acorn, “but it has been very successful for us.”

The company, facing the end of sustaining support for Oracle E-Business Suite 11.0.3, began to plan for its next generation with Oracle E-Business Suite 12.1.2. It upgraded its architecture and enterprise applications in a single initiative.

Acorn Paper Products upgraded to multi-node servers running Oracle Linux, Oracle Database, and Oracle E-Business Suite 12.1.2. In addition, the company rolled out a new web storefront using Oracle iStore, and deployed Oracle Business Intelligence Suite, Enterprise Edition to help management understand and respond to changes in the business environment. In addition, it also used Oracle Application Express for web-based application development.

“Upgrading to Oracle E-Business Suite 12.1.2 brought our enterprise application functionality into the 21st century. We also gained the ability to use new technologies to deliver powerful benefits to the business,” Weissberg said.

In addition, the company was one of the first organizations to test and implement Oracle Sales Cloud applications, which are helping sales representatives to become more efficient in covering their territories.

“The company’s sales team had to carry around multiple binders containing paper contracts, customer order histories, as well as product information,” Weissberg said. “We are eliminating those paper-based systems—improving our environmental footprint as well as putting accurate and up-to-date information at the fingertips of our salespeople whenever and wherever they need it. As a result, we can focus more on building relationships instead of filing papers.”

 
Working Smarter

 
Gaining Greater Insight

 
Web Store Comes to Life

 
 

 
 

Challenges

  • Create an enterprise application environment that supports continued company growth and profitability in a competitive paper and packaging market
  • Manage inventory accurately and efficiently and fulfill customer packaging orders quickly
  • Advance the company’s commitment to environmental sustainability by reducing waste and energy
  • Improve sales force efficiency and effectiveness
  • Expand business insight to enable more informed decisions
  • Create a highly functional and easy-to-use, e-commerce presence to drive new sales, enable 24/7 customer support, and improve customer convenience and satisfaction

Solutions

  • Upgraded to Oracle E-Business Suite Release 12.1.2 and deployed Oracle Sales Cloud applications, Oracle Database, and other Oracle technology to improve operational efficiency and customer satisfaction
  • Enabled the company to fill 98% of its 500 daily orders within 24 hours or less and at a lower price than competition—presenting a compelling value proposition
  • Put valuable and timely information on customers and accounts at the fingertips of salespeople—reducing paperwork and paper use and driving greater productivity and sales effectiveness
  • Enabled sales representatives to configure boxes to the exact dimensions a customer requires, which cuts down on raw materials and waste, while improving profitability and sustainability
  • Introduced greater standardization and automation to core business processes, improving order accuracy and reducing waste as well as unnecessary shipments and returns
  • Launched a new web store that enables customers to quickly order products online and access account information and research products
  • Supported sustainability efforts by reducing paper use, manufacturing waste, as well as energy and power consumption

Why Oracle

Acorn had a long-standing relationship with Oracle. When the time came to upgrade its enterprise applications, the company knew that Oracle E-Business Suite 12.1.2 had the power and functionality to drive change across the enterprise, according to Weissberg.

Implementation Process

The company completed its upgrade over the four-day Thanksgiving holiday weekend. The entire stack had to be upgraded in one process.

To prepare for this narrow time window, Acorn installed the new hardware in its data center before the upgrade began. C3 Business Solutions’ technicians tested the upgrade, timing each step and tuning scripts. “C3 took its time and made sure that we had a solid upgrade plan,” Weissberg said. During the three-month testing process, C3 also trained Acorn’s 15 super users on the new system and then the super users trained their teams.

The C3 team first exported 12 years of historical data and upgraded the database. It then took an incremental approach to migrating and upgrading Oracle E-Business Suite—first patching the applications to Version 11.5.10.2 and then upgrading to 12.1.1, and patching again to 12.1.2. Finally C3’s team migrated Acorn’s customizations to the new system.

By Sunday evening, the system was fully functional.

On Fridays, during the upgrade initiative, the company’s 250 employees wore “spirit wear” t-shirts that had Acorn Paper and Oracle logos and the question “Can you believe 11.0.3 to 12.1.2?” “The shirts were all about creating excitement, since everyone at the company uses Oracle E-Business Suite every day, and we wanted to them to understand that this would make their lives easier,” Weissberg said.

“We all have these upgrade fears, but Oracle has made them much less real. The processes have become so streamlined and scientific that there’s no reason not to upgrade,” Weissberg said.

Partner

Oracle Platinum Partner C3 Business Solutions managed the infrastructure and application upgrade process from start to finish, including conducting training for super users. “Working with C3 Business Solutions, we had a seamless upgrade involving millions and millions of records. People came to work on Monday and started shipping immediately, without missing a step, allowing us to take advantage of the power of Oracle’s solutions from day one,” Weissberg said.