“We’ve really seen benefits with Oracle. With better data quality and access to the data, the supply chain group can analyze it in different ways that we couldn’t do before. Things are cleaner and better and we’re really looking forward to getting the constant upgrades and seeing how the tools evolve over time.”
Supply chain resilience
Land O’Lakes is one of the largest butter producers in the US and a major producer of cheese and other dairy ingredients, as well as animal feed and crop inputs. Its supply chain is the backbone of its business, so when the coronavirus started spreading in the US last spring, it was all hands on deck for the farmer-owned co-op’s entire supply chain organization.
The co-op had suddenly lost some of its biggest channels with the closure of restaurants, schools, and other large institutions, while demand in supermarkets exploded as far more people cooked for themselves. Land O’Lakes also had worker shortages and facility shutdowns to deal with, as well as a shortage of truck drivers.
“It was like an Etch A Sketch every day: You come in, someone had shaken it up, and it’s just a blank slate once again,” says Dustin Braun, senior director of logistics for Land O’Lakes. “We saw more disruption in an eight-week period than we have experienced in eight years because it was both on the demand side and on the supply side with labor constraints.”
Agility with cloud
Prior to moving to the cloud, Land O’Lakes had used the Oracle Transportation Management on-premises application for more than 10 years. It was also using a combination of Access databases, spreadsheets, and SharePoint sites to manage its global trade.
To gain access to more cutting-edge technology and modern features and establish a supply chain platform that could meet its international growth plans, Land O’Lakes decided it was time to move to Oracle Fusion Cloud Supply Chain & Manufacturing (SCM) applications for logistics (transportation management and global trade management).
It implemented the Oracle Cloud applications across all three of its business units—dairy, animal feed and nutrition, and crop inputs—all at once, rather than one at a time. That approach allowed it to consistently align its processes across all three units, increasing their efficiency.
Immediately after its implementation of Oracle’s cloud-based transportation management application in March 2020, Land O’Lakes experienced peak-level demand at a time when it typically saves inventory for the holiday rush later in the year. It was able to handle that spike with the help of the new Oracle Cloud applications.
Short-term results, long-term lessons
The co-op was one of the only dairy manufacturers and distributors that didn’t have to dump milk during the pandemic due to supply chain issues. Oracle Transportation Management was key to Land O’Lakes being able to meet unprecedented demand without missing a beat.
And while the pandemic has caused just as much, if not more, disruption to Land O’Lakes’ business outside the US, including a range of new and ever-changing regulations, having a single system and a standardized process for global trade management made a huge difference, as company decision-makers now have easier access to better-quality logistics data, as well as new capabilities to analyze it.
Looking to the future, Land O’Lakes thinks that many of the lessons it learned during the pandemic will remain far after this crisis passes.
“Overnight, we matured our cross-functional and external partnerships. We’ve made decisions faster,” Braun notes. “Agility and responsiveness have been critical to our success. We can’t go back to the way we’ve operated in the past.”