Whirlwind Steel Buildings Cuts Inventory Carrying Costs and Ensures Fiscal Precision with Cloud-Based Enterprise Resource Planning
 
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Whirlwind Steel Buildings Cuts Inventory Carrying Costs and Ensures Fiscal Precision with Cloud-Based Enterprise Resource Planning

Whirlwind Steel Buildings Inc. is one of the largest manufacturers of pre-engineered metal buildings and metal building components for the agricultural, commercial, governmental, industrial, institutional, residential, and self-storage markets. Founded in 1955, Whirlwind’s diverse product lineup includes metal building systems, metal building components, and the recently added solar energy systems division. The company, focused on quality, innovation, and value, has manufacturing facilities in Texas, Oklahoma, Minnesota, and Georgia.

Whirlwind’s enterprise resource planning (ERP) system consisted of a number of home-grown systems, making it difficult to properly track costs and production―which is essential in the price-competitive, pre-engineered-structure market. As important, the company needed to accurately track inventory to reduce carrying costs that have a direct impact on the bottom line. Whirlwind also wanted to accurately track all labor costs incurred for each project and to reduce expenses though enhanced accounting procedures and lower borrowing costs.

After reviewing a number of ERP systems, Whirlwind Steel Buildings implemented Oracle E-Business Suite On Demand, delivered through Oracle Managed Cloud Services. With Oracle E-Business Suite On Demand serving as the foundation for its ERP system, the company can acquire more information regarding customer demand, deliveries, and manufacturing. Specifically, Whirlwind Steel Buildings improved inventory management and reduced inventory carrying costs. In addition, the new system enabled cost tracking for more than 1,000 projects annually, helping to proactively identify any projects in danger of going over budget. Further, by hosting Oracle E-Business Suite in the Oracle cloud, the company has reduced IT costs and ensured 24-hour support.

Whirlwind Steel Buildings receives constant system updates from Oracle and Oracle Partner SmartDog services.

 
 

 
 

Challenges

A word from Whirlwind Steel Buildings, Inc.

  • “Oracle E-Business Suite On Demand, delivered through Oracle Managed Cloud Services, has dramatically improved the efficiency, control, and profitability of our complex, engineer-to-order metal building projects. We’ve experienced tangible financial results with this implementation.” – Ty Sturdivant, President, Whirlwind Steel Buildings, Inc.

  • Improve inventory management to reduce inventory carrying costs―which have a direct impact on the bottom line and include as much as US$25 million worth of steel―and ensure prompt delivery of pre-engineered structures
  • Monitor financial figures more closely, meet stringent, construction-industry reporting requirements, and reduce costs through more accurate accounting procedures
  • Track all labor costs incurred for each project—such as manufacturing pre-engineered steel commercial, residential, and government buildings—accurately
  • Ensure low maintenance costs, continuous availability, and efficient system upgrades

Solutions

  • Implemented Oracle E-Business Suite On Demand to optimize inventory tracking, helping to reduce inventory carrying costs
  • Created project templates to support the unique needs for 80 users and each line of business, including agricultural, commercial, industrial, residential, and recreational operations
  • Enabled tracking of all costs for more than 1,000 engineering and fabrication projects each year, facilitating identification and management of projects in danger of going over budget or missing deadlines
  • Monitored contract labor costs more effectively by allocating a standard project or task number for engineering and contract labor, to enable the system to automatically account for the cost of contractor’s return
  • Enhanced freight cost accounting and tracking—for more than 75,000 metric tons of steel building products shipped each year—with automatic data transfers from Oracle Financials to Oracle Projects
  • Improved efficiency by automatically populating project and task numbers in complex orders—many with 500 to 600 lines
  • Maintained adherence to generally accepted accounting principles in the construction industry, which vary from conventional requirements, while enabling Whirlwind to obtain credit at competitive rates to maintain and grow its position in the marketplace, even in challenging economic times
  • Used Oracle Managed Cloud Services to host the new ERP solution, enabling Whirlwind to maintain minimal, in-house IT staff while ensuring almost 100% availability, 24 hour support, and world-class maintenance

Partner

As Whirlwind Steel Buildings does not have any in-house Oracle support, it works with Oracle Partner SmartDog Services to ensure efficient system maintenance and upgrades when necessary, as well as to run query reports.