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December 2013

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Leading Industrial Manufacturer Uses Oracle E-Business Suite to Grow Its Operations

In 2008, Georg Fischer Central Plastics LLC, a leading designer and manufacturer of pipe fastening products in Shawnee, Oklahoma, folded a recently acquired Dallas maker of polyethylene pipe and fittings into its operations. Behind the scenes, Georg Fischer's CIO Wade Lewis was responsible for merging the business systems of the two companies. His first job: move the new facility from its outmoded enterprise resource management (ERP) system to Oracle E-Business Suite. We talked to Lewis about the process.

Q: Before we talk about the acquisition, please describe your overall IT strategy for Georg Fischer.
A: As it applies to ERP, our strategy is to do everything in Oracle. So if someone is using a spreadsheet in some part of the manufacturing operations, let's quit that and use Oracle instead. Being on Oracle ERP provides us full visibility into our operations, rather than having to manage individual silos of information.

Another cornerstone of our vision is to store business information once in a central location so we have a single version of the truth that is available to everyone from multiple access points. For example, an engineer can enter product information into our inventory item master, and that data becomes available for sales orders and workflow processes.

Q: What other Oracle solutions are important in your operations?
A: We use Oracle Manufacturing Scheduling to queue up our work orders on the shop floor. This enables us to group jobs together that use the same machine setups so we can streamline the manufacturing process and find the most efficient ways to run the equipment. And nothing moves on our shop floor unless it's done through Oracle Mobile Supply Chain Applications. We do everything from issuing materials for jobs to receiving products with this solution. Using handheld devices that scan barcodes, we capture information at the point where each transaction actually occurs.

Q: What role did the Oracle foundation play after the Dallas company was acquired?
A: The flexibility of Oracle E-Business Suite helped us do the conversion quickly. First, we focused on converting its data to Oracle E-Business Suite. We had already been running multiple warehouses in the system, so after the acquisition it was only a matter of adding a couple more facilities. We then converted its product, customer, and vendor information into the system. Within seven months of being acquired they were fully functional on our Oracle E-Business Suite platform.

The Dallas facility's business processes were different than ours, but Oracle E-Business Suite is designed to satisfy essentially any way an organization runs its business. So they were able to operate the way they used to operate, but now they're doing it in Oracle.

Q: What lessons did you learn from this project?
A: I always say there are three goals people have with these types of projects—get it done on time, on budget, and then get what you need in terms of business processes. Realistically, you can achieve two of those three initially. So our approach is to do a project on time and on budget, and then we'll work on making improvements. So now that we have visibility into the information at the Dallas facility, we're in the process of redesigning its business processes to be more efficient. Thanks to the Oracle platform we have the flexibility to make those improvements and go for that third goal.

Learn more about Oracle E-Business Suite.

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