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Established in 1983, Uflex Limited is an Indian manufacturer of polyester chips; plain, metalized and holographic films; laminates; gravure cylinders; inks and adhesives; and all types of packaging. The company has offices and manufacturing facilities in India, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Egypt, and Mexico, as well as offices in Europe and North America. It employs about 3,000 staff worldwide and has a market presence in 85 countries.
In 2006, Uflex Limited initiated a plan to expand beyond its Indian base and open new manufacturing facilities in other countries. At the time, the company also decided that legacy accounting, inventory, and manufacturing applications used by its Indian operation were no longer providing reliable data and would not support its growth plans.
“Business data was spread across multiple systems in each of our departments, so there was no integration,” said Ravi Ramakrishnan, general manager, Global IT, Uflex Limited.
“For example, if a salesperson completed an order and recorded it in a specific application, production staff wouldn’t necessarily have access to this information to effectively fulfill the customer’s order.
“We also faced some challenges around regulatory compliance as we expanded into other markets. We needed a centralized system that would enable us to report financial figures from each of our subsidiaries and present them in a single view for our auditors.”
Between 2006 and 2010, Uflex Limited deployed Oracle E-Business Suite Release 12.1 across its operations in Egypt, India, Mexico, and the UAE.
“As a manufacturer, the speed of product delivery is crucial if we are to attract and retain customers and maintain our profitability,” said Ramakrishnan. “Oracle E-Business Suite provides us with centralized financial data, tighter control over our inventory, and has streamlined our manufacturing processes, which ensures that we provide a high level of service to our valued customers.”
Oracle Financials provides accounts staff and senior managers with a holistic view of revenue and profitability across multiple locations. This enables them to identify which locations are the most profitable and make informed decisions about where to allocate staff and manufacturing resources.
The system also makes it easier to complete sales orders and compile and manage financial reports for the entire organization.
“We have reduced the time it takes to compile monthly financial reports from up to seven days to about one day,” said Ramakrishnan “This includes formatting that we need to do outside the system.
“Managers can even create ad-hoc reports in as little as one hour because they have centralized access to our financial data.”
Uflex Limited uses Oracle Order Management to manage sales bookings from its domestic and international customers, record key customer information, and manage price lists for its products, which change monthly. The centralized system provides managers with immediate access to key sales data from each subsidiary, so they can easily determine which manufacturing hub can serve customers best.
“This enables us to reduce the time it takes to transport products to our customers by up to three days,” said Ramakrishnan.
Monthly changes to product prices are automatically reflected in the system, which eliminates the risk that sales staff will quote an incorrect price to a customer. Sales staff also uses the Web-based ordering system to book an order when they are on the road or at home, which improves efficiency.
“Previously, some sales staff had a tendency to set aside orders and complete the transaction later, but now they have no excuse,” said Ramakrishnan.
“Our order pattern is less skewed and staff is not rushing at the end of the month, which means we have a steady stream of revenue coming in at the end of the month and can better organize our cash flow.”
Uflex Limited uses Oracle Inventory Management to manage purchasing material, packaging, tapes, plastic sheeting, waterproofing material, wooden fixtures, and other stock in its warehouses in Egypt, India, Mexico, and the UAE.
This enables the company to quickly and easily determine how much stock is needed to meet each production schedule and ensures raw materials are always available.
“We are no longer experiencing any downtime caused by certain raw materials being unavailable,” said Ramakrishnan. “At the same time, we are not locking up excess capital because we know our stock position at every warehouse. This has helped us reduce inventory costs.”
Uflex Limited’s manufacturing operations run all day, every day, and each production plant has particular requirements for raw materials. For example, each facility may require plastic chips with various ratings to produce films with different densities and thicknesses.
Oracle Process Manufacturing provides staff with complete visibility over raw materials that are required at every production plant, which helps streamline production planning.
“We can generate product orders at once, which creates more efficiency across our business,” said Ramakrishnan.
Oracle Purchasing provides managers with tighter control over the purchasing of raw materials from suppliers. The system enables the company to rate different suppliers based on past performance measures, such as price and delivery times, which helps staff determine which suppliers are in a position to offer the best service.“We record and compare the performance of a dedicated set of vendors, and that makes it easy for us to work out which suppliers we want to continue using in the future,” said Ramakrishnan.
During the selection process, Uflex Limited evaluated Oracle and SAP applications as well as other enterprise resource planning solutions. The company chose Oracle E-Business Suite because it offered localization features that made it easy for the company to comply with taxation rules and regulations across multiple countries.
“Oracle E-Business Suite’s localization tools supported our expansion into new markets,” said Ramakrishnan. “We were also impressed with Oracle Financials and Oracle Process Manufacturing, which were suitable for our industry and could be easily customized to suit our business. These modules also offered a low total cost of ownership and minimal user training.”
According to Ramakrishnan, the company received good support from Oracle partners Mahindra Satyam, Tata Consulting Services, and Wipro Technologies.
“Oracle has a good base of skilled partners in India and at other locations where we operate,” said Ramakrishnan.
In 2005, Tata Consulting Services was engaged to deploy Oracle E-Business Suite across Uflex Limited’s Indian operation. The system was then deployed at its operations in the UAE in mid-2007, Mexico in 2009, and Egypt in 2010.
The company completed pilot testing at each of these locations and used Tata Consulting Services, Mahindra Satyam, and Wipro Technologies to customize some modules before the systems went live.
Oracle E-Business Suite will also be rolled out at locations in the United States and Europe by the end of 2011.