Oracle has worked closely with Minerals Technologies throughout the implementation. “The key is to make sure that we always have a rolling 52-week service plan in place, and that’s what Oracle Service Delivery Manager Tammy Delaney did,” says Oracle’s Hutchinson. “The fruits of this plan are obvious for Minerals Technologies. In our last service review, we were able to report that there were no unplanned outages in the last 12 months.”
The Minerals Technologies team worked with Oracle Consulting to complete the North American implementation in 2006 and launched the European implementation in January 2009, targeting completion for 2010. Asia is next on the agenda, with implementation tentatively scheduled to begin in late 2011, and Balkaran says the company has already done parts of the implementation in China.
In the time between completing the project in North America and starting the one in Europe, Balkaran says, his team focused on implementing Latin America, China, and Turkey and extending the functionality of the applications. As part of that effort, it implemented Oracle Transportation Management and Oracle’s Siebel Customer Relationship Management (CRM) and adopted a handful of customizations that would help finalize the global template. “As we’ve moved into the enterprisewide system, we have been able to replicate some really good learning from one part of the business to the other and have done some sharing of best practices internally,” he says.
The results to date have allowed a higher level of intelligence about the business. “Questions are being raised, because everything is now centralized,” reports Balkaran. “Why do we have several different telephone companies? What do we spend and where? How are we getting invoiced and how frequently? We’ve really started driving process efficiencies to identify redundancies and broken processes. They’ve generated huge savings beyond what we would have found with a dispersed system.”
Even beyond the European rollout, the company has significantly reduced its reporting timeline. It’s gone from an eight-day to a three-day close and has cut out duplicate reporting by enabling end users to access data instead of waiting for someone else to prepare it. But Balkaran says the key will be extending the existing value of the system into future operational benefits. He notes that in a world where just about every company has done an ERP implementation, it’s generally recognized that harnessing and standardizing data delivers huge benefits. The next move is to look at how that data can support decision-making.
“This really amplifies the project return,” says Balkaran. “We still have a long way to go, for example, in getting end users to access their own data and reports. But we’re doing much, much better at providing more analytics for business enablement. From the initial implementation, we found we got a lot of efficiency out of standardizing processes and having people better utilized in terms of functions and skill sets. People are now spending more time doing data analytics, and our management team is able to make better and faster decisions.”