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April 2014

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US Manufacturers Turn to Enterprise Project Portfolio Management to Capitalize on Growth Opportunities

A new white paper from Oracle, "Manufacturing Outlook: Improving Time to Market, Operational Effectiveness, and Innovation in a Highly Competitive Environment," explains that there's good news and bad news for US manufacturers in the current economic environment. On the plus side, manufacturing production is expected to grow by 2.4 percent in 2014 and 4.1 percent in 2015. The bad news? Many manufacturers are still struggling to recover in the aftermath of the recession, when many companies closed plants, reduced staff, and lost customers.

In the following interview, John Reichard, Oracle's director of discrete industry strategy, discusses how an updated business strategy and the right enterprise project portfolio management (EPPM) solution can help manufacturers capitalize on growth opportunities in today's volatile market.

Q: What current fundamentals make the US a strong manufacturing environment?
A: First, this country has a mature and extensive infrastructure in place, along with a strong workforce that is highly trained and skilled with the latest technology used in sophisticated manufacturing processes.

Q: What's the flipside? What challenges will manufacturers be facing in the months ahead?
A: One of the biggest is the ability to quickly bring the right products to market at the right time. If a manufacturer can't meet changing customer demands, customers will look to competitors. The challenge extends beyond satisfying current demand—manufacturers must continually replicate the product delivery process to keep sales momentum growing and create greater market share.

Q: How can manufacturers do that?
A: They must focus on three key areas: financial discipline, operational excellence, and risk mitigation. As manufacturers manage these aspects of bringing products to market, they derive better returns on investments and ultimately increase stakeholder and customer satisfaction.

Q: What's the role of EPPM solutions in these efforts?
A: The right EPPM solution provides visibility and collaboration across the enterprise. It is scalable and enables manufacturers to answer key questions, such as: Do we have the resource capacity to deliver the products that are in demand? Do we have the necessary financial support? Do we have the tools to enhance visibility and collaboration and offer integrated scheduling and real-time reporting throughout the value chain? Do we have the talent and resources to develop new products with quality and meet budget expectations?

Answering these questions can be difficult in large organizations where departments are siloed and there's little communication or understanding of the status of important projects. That contributes to delays and budget overruns, as well as quality issues. With an advanced EPPM solution, managers can see across the project value chain, and with the benefits of real-time reporting, understand the status of each project. That minimizes delays and promotes the effective use of resources, equipment, and budgets.

And when it comes to risk, threats may occur from environmental, legal, and compliance issues that arise during the project and can affect the product after delivery. Executives can use EPPM to identify, model, and mitigate risk to help them formulate effective strategies.

Q: What sets Oracle apart in this market?
A: Oracle is committed to the manufacturing industry, with a history spanning more than 30 years. Oracle's Primavera family of products enables collaboration and communication across global teams and partners without jeopardizing a manufacturer's intellectual property. It provides better visibility and traceability of activities, which helps companies improve product quality and mitigate risk. Primavera also helps managers analyze resource requirements, including comparing demand versus capacity, to help accurately forecast resource requirements across programs and projects.

Download the white paper, "Manufacturing Outlook: Improving Time to Market, Operational Effectiveness, and Innovation in a Highly Competitive Environment." Read the latest news and access webcasts, data sheets, and other resources devoted to Oracle's Primavera industrial manufacturing solutions.

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