Wells Enterprises, Inc. Supports Goal to Become the Largest Ice Cream Manufacturer in America with Applications Upgrade
 
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Wells Enterprises, Inc. Supports Goal to Become the Largest Ice Cream Manufacturer in America with Applications Upgrade

Wells Enterprises, Inc. is the largest family-owned and operated ice cream manufacturer in the United States. Headquartered in the Le Mars, Iowa―declared by the Iowa legislature as the “Ice Cream Capital of the World”―Wells produces more than 120 million gallons of ice cream annually, 70 flavors of Blue Bunny ice cream, and more than 500 packaged ice cream, frozen novelties, and specialty frozen desserts.

Blue Bunny branded items are distributed across the nation via grocery, convenience, and club stores as well as through mobile vending trucks and in-food service settings, such as educational institutions, hospitals, and restaurants. With its state-of-the-art production facilities, the company is cited by many industry experts as one of the most technically advanced manufacturers in the industry.

Wells extends its commitment to industry-leading technology throughout the enterprise, including its enterprise applications. To help advance its goal of doubling revenue over the next decade and becoming the nation’s largest ice cream manufacturer, Wells upgraded to Oracle E-Business Suite Release 12.1.3. The applications provide Wells with scalability to support rapid growth. The expanded functionality enables it to continuously improve financial, supply chain, manufacturing, and distribution processes and quickly bring new facilities online.

 
 

 
 

Challenges

A word from Wells Enterprises, Inc.

  • “When the biggest complaint the first week following the upgrade was about new screen colors, we knew the upgrade was successful. Of course we quickly changed the color back to the original scheme. The new Oracle E-Business Suite Release 12.1.3 environment provides the scalability and breadth of functionality we need to run our current operation and provides a solid platform on which we plan to add enhanced capabilities as the business grows.” – Bill Baumbach Chief Information Officer, Wells Enterprises, Inc.

  • Advance the company’s goal of doubling revenue over the next decade and becoming the nation’s largest ice cream manufacturer
  • Create an IT infrastructure that can continue to support the company as it grows through acquisition, ice cream product innovation, and expanded retail channels and sales territories
  • Ensure that the company remains current on its Oracle E-Business Suite applications, on which it runs its growing business
  • Reduce customizations and simplify the company’s enterprise application environment following divesture of its milk business

Solutions

  • Upgraded to Oracle E-Business Suite Release 12.1.3 and gained a more flexible and robust IT infrastructure that enables Wells to bring new facilities online quickly and supports changes in the product mix necessary to optimize market opportunities
  • Simplified organizational structures that enabled the company to add new plants into the Oracle E-Business Suite environment in just days―a process that previously took weeks
  • Accelerated inventory reconciliation and simplified accounting with the ability to manage process manufacturing and discrete inventory in a single inventory
  • Merged vendor and customer tables into a single partner table to simplify master data maintenance
  • Took advantage of Oracle Subledger Accounting which allowed removal of reclasses and mapping to the line level, greatly reducing account complexity and administration
  • Completed a more complex than normal year-end close on time, shortly after going live on Oracle E-Business Suite 12.1.3
  • Eliminated 30% of the company’s Oracle E-Business Suite customizations―simplifying application management and streamlining future upgrades, as well as the rollout of Oracle Business Intelligence Applications
  • Positioned the company to optimize its value chain, which is critical for an organization that relies on commodity-based dairy products as key ingredients in its production process
  • Ensured continued support for the enterprise application environment, reduced IT complexity, and positioned to begin leveraging new functionality provided in Oracle E-Business Suite Release 12.1.3
  • Used Oracle Product Information Management Data Hub as a centralized location for ice cream product information, enabling the company to rapidly respond to customer and internal requests for product information
  • Improved integration reliability between the shipping execution and transportation systems by changing the underlying Java technologies
  • Improved the ability to generate, capture, and resolve unplanned maintenance activities through the use of express work orders
  • Established the latest Oracle Warehouse Management System baseline, which would enable future efficiency and accuracy improvements, such as: strict pick unit of measure, opportunistic cycle counts, labor management, and dock-door integration
  • Accelerated a recent product rebranding initiative through centralized product information update functionality
  • Used Oracle User Productivity Kit during the upgrade for documentation, as well as for training to support rapid adoption and foster user confidence

Implementation Process

Wells completed its upgrade to Oracle E-Business Suite Release 12.1.3 in-house, using the support of only a few independent consultants at various points in the process. Much of the initiative’s success can be tied to the combination of a strong technology team as well as a significant commitment of key functional business users.

In early 2011, Wells implemented Oracle Enterprise Asset Management, and then it moved forward with a number of projects, including the Oracle E-Business Suite upgrade. Wells also migrated its Oracle Database with Real Application Cluster environment to Release 11g on a new virtualized Linux platform that enabled greater scalability and high availability.

By summer 2011, Wells worked to build essential customizations, primarily custom forms and reports, back into its ERP environment. It executed multiple practice go-live runs that fostered high confidence in quality and a clear understanding of the time constraints for the actual go-live. The company completed the upgrade in just 11 months.