Life in the Fast Lane: QubicaAMF unifies global manufacturing processes to address accelerating interest in bowling.
by Logan Kugler
A 2010 report from Global Industry Analysts found that the international bowling market will grow to US$10.8 billion by 2015, driven mostly by the application of new technology. QubicaAMF, a leading supplier of bowling equipment, brings together the components for an exceptional bowling experience. Formed through the merger of an Italian scoring company, Qubica, and the AMF Bowling Products Group, the company is well positioned to execute high-quality and coordinated delivery of the components required for a new installation or a center upgrade.
With 30,000 stock-keeping units (SKUs) in the catalog, order fulfillment is already complex. But QubicaAMF also manufactures and ships products from multiple locations around the globe. “If you’re building a bowling center in France, all of the components related to the scoring will ship from our Bologna, Italy, location,” says Rohana Meade, vice president of information services and CIO at QubicaAMF. “The pinspotters, lanes, and ball returns will ship from Richmond, Virginia. Pins may ship from Lowville, New York, and shoes from Rotterdam, The Netherlands.”
Postmerger operations were further complicated by various manufacturing facilities operating with different enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems. QubicaAMF management saw significant ROI potential in being able to key in an order once and have the system automate the entries. Consequently, a decision was made to deploy a unified, worldwide ERP system. Management selected Oracle’s JD Edwards World platform to do the job. “We decided the [JD Edwards] World platform was working very well for us and was running absolutely the most complicated part of our business, the manufacturing piece,” says Meade.
QubicaAMF management chose to upgrade corporate headquarters to JD Edwards World 9.2 and gradually roll out to other main locations. It worked out well, says Meade, because although the software was new to European staff, the early experience gained at corporate headquarters provided a solid infrastructure and support for later adopters.
QubicaAMF management worked with CSS International—a three-time Oracle Partner of the Year—to manage the rollout. AMF IT staff had experience with CSS consultants, and the choice was made based on capabilities and cultural fit. “We just really, really liked them a lot, and they hit the ground running,” says Meade.
This was the first opportunity to bring everything under one umbrella system.
CSS Project Manager Scott Dittmar was brought in to handle QubicaAMF’s mechanics enrichment area. “They were a great group to work with—they were very open-minded,” says Dittmar, whose primary responsibility was working with Meade and others to assist them in analyzing business processes. “None of their systems really talked to each other. This was the first opportunity to bring everything under one umbrella system.”
Meade says QubicaAMF is starting to see gains from this unified approach to manufacturing IT, most notably the improvements associated with volume purchases. Meade says that in the past, five employees might buy the same part from the same vendor, but because that information was not being tracked, there was no way to negotiate a discount. Based on the visibility that the JD Edwards World ERP system provides, Meade anticipates real savings for her company.
“There are probably 200 other examples I could give of things that were pain points for us,” she says. “Now we have the infrastructure in place to move in the right direction.”
Logan Kugler is a frequent contributor to Profit.